...and getting back up.
There was once a time when I figured how one was, was how it ought to be. Period, end o' story, next. And sometimes that is the way it is... but actually, unless you're figuring in death, there are no definitive Last Acts/Curtain Calls. So we try, and try, and try, and try, again, and again, and again to get back up when we fall down.
As a baby I watched Chloe crawl, stumble, fall, try again, rinse/repeat until it stuck...
I've watched folks from near and far drop and get back up. We're trying... we're all trying. Be it you or someone you love: falling is Natures way of saying "I'm still here, and so are you" while getting back up is uniquely our own way of saying, "I know... but I'm trying to know I'm here too".
When my mom died it made me, my dad & brother fall, those that knew and loved her too... we, all of us, were left with trying to get back up.
And I suppose that simple [or difficult] thing is repeated throughout life, all of life, all the time... in one variation on a theme or another.
We fall, we get back up... and so the story goes.
I fell last night, literally. First wipe out on a bike since I was 14 years old. And it hurt like fuck too. I've now learned that just like with flat tires, the one that is gonna bite you in the ass, isn't the one you ever see coming. That's too obvious, too easy. Nope, you can run over glass, pull over and look for the tire to go flat but chances are [and are good too], it won't. 99.9% of the time it's when you thought the road was as clean as a whistle that you'll start feeling your ass end squirm and shimmy. And then, viola... flat. Same for wiping out.
Did I mention it hurt like shit? It did. Better that it was 319 pounds squarely smacked down on my left knee [and then hip, and then left elbow, and then left shoulder/hand... and eventually helmeted head straight into the driver-side rear passenger door of a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta] than 501 pounds though. That much I'm sure of.
Right out of the cage I suspected [strongly] it was the guy walking around the fence, directly into my path on the mixed-use sidewalk. That, and the half inch of freshly fallen snow... but mostly him, directly in front of me, as I was just getting ready to make a turn. I hit my brakes to avoid crunching him, my wheel slid hard out and away from me, my left foot found the ground and started sliding too. I recall distinctly thinking to myself, "Ahhh shit, I'm going down... fuck, I'm going down." Honestly, it happened that slow, and fast.
My next thought was, "I can save this... " which quickly evaporated as the bike accelerated away from me on the absolutely teflon-like slipperiness of the weather-treated flagstone [again, please note... "WEATHER-TREATED"]. Next thought? Okay... "Let go of the bike, you're gonna kill it if you land on it, that or yourself". Which I did... and it took off like a shot, as did I. I actually accelerated too. Probably due to my brand-new jacket that I just got yesterday from REI [thankfully, the jacket-due to the snow and weather-treated surface, survived everything just fine... and probably helped me [along with my MUSA riding pants-made from nylon] to slide vs. stop dead and leave flesh tattered debris on the sidewalk]. Last thought, "Fuck, my knee is dead... I just killed my knee... oh shit, duck your head down, the car, the car, the car... the ca..." WHAAAMPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And that was that. I popped my cherry. I wiped out. I'm officially bonafide now. I'm cool [doubtful]. Maybe it's time for one of those chainring tats on my calf, or maybe a TREK tat on the shaft of my penis? Something seems in order. Right?
I rolled onto my back and with arms outstretched, laid there like a bloated Snow Angel. I recall distinctly mumbling to myself, "Fuck, I hurt. I wiped out. I killed my bike. I need to ride tomorrow. I need to check my shit out and see if I'm ok. I wiped out. I killed my bike. My knee is destroyed. I'm glad this didn't happen a year ago when I weighed even more. I wish this hadn't happened until next year when I weigh even less. Fuck, I hurt. I wiped out. I killed my bike...". I would have probably done this for much longer if it weren't for the fact that the guy who seemingly was the instigator of all this carnage hadn't walked over to me, stood directly over me, looked down at me and said, "Shit man, you ok? Sorry about that. Can you move?" It snapped me out of my Death Mantra.
I sat up Indian-Style and told him I was ok. He kept saying he couldn't leave until he saw me up and walking, otherwise he was calling 911. I kept rubbing my knee and saying, "Go, I'm fine... thank you, go, go, go." It was like I wanted this moment of blissful distress to be mine and mine alone. He stayed and kept chattering at me. It was then I started surveying the scene...
bike was laying about 9 feet away underneath a parked car-half on the sidewalk/half on the street underneath the car. It was wrong. My custom bike, my dream bike... underneath the very thing that I was trying to avoid, was mostly in opposition to, was no friend of mine. It looked obscene. Bad. And then, the Jetta, directly in front of me... yeah, that one. The one I had ducked my chin down into my chest at the last second to avoid eating the paint off of with my teeth. The whole driver-side passenger rear door was caved in. Whoa. From me and my head. Immediately I looked up at the hi-rise condos next to me, and even though many still had their lights on at 11:30pm, no one was looking down at me. I killed some guys new Jetta, with my head no less, and my bike.
After rubbing my knee for a bit longer, which was now burning rather badly, and the guy repeatedly saying that he couldn't leave, and that I shouldn't be riding a bike in this weather, I got up. I told him I was fine and he left. For a nanosecond I was livid with blaming him, until I retrieved my bike from underneath the car, and while walking it and myself out and onto the street quickly realized that just holding the nose of my saddle with my right hand, the bike w/Schwalbe Snow Studs was literally skating laterally side to side on this flagstone [which again, was/is weather-treated]. Having never said anything to the ped I originally was blaming, I felt good and certain... had he not even been there, I would have gone down. The sidewalk was like ice, but without the actual ice. Even the studs in the tires skated from side to side with zero chance of ever being able to find any form of grip whatsoever.
After looking over my steed, which in the end took the brunt of everything on the left edge of the handlebar at the front, and on my bags-at the rear... and reattaching the fender stay-which had ripped out of the quick-release attachment [those Germans at SKS know their shit, bless 'em]... I was good to go. With head, neck, shoulder, hip and knee aching badly and getting worse in the windy frigidity, I rode home battered, shocked, sorta sad and yet with a slight hint of confused pride [that's odd for me writing this now... but it felt like that at the time].
After Amy [who is a trauma RN working in ICU] checked me over, gave appropriate pain meds, ice-packs placed strategically under Ace bandages, gauze and ointments... I called the local police precinct and told the officer on duty what had happened w/the location, make and model of car, my name and contact info. Then I sat back and drank a beer.
...and watched my knee turn purple, and then greenish black. And get mega-huge too.
Early this morning I limped up to the scene of the crime and the car was still there. I left a note under the wiper blade [those damn wiper blades are becoming too much of a theme for me lately] with my contact info as well. I feel really bad that someones new ride got crunched by me and my head. I have zero idea how this will play out... time will tell.
Me? I'm sore and stiff but mobile... and leaving in a few minutes for a ride, or at least will try to, because after all is said and done:
I fell down, but I got back up.