2010/09/24 F

Two Mondays ago, on the 13th, I fell off my bike.  I had just turned left (in the left-turn lane) around the Hinckley building; two other cyclists were turning with me, and a white SUV was behind us.  I let the two speed off ahead since I was trepidacious about that car…

…I’ll finish this later.

So, three days later.

There I was, going down that hill.  I checked behind me a couple times only to find the SUV very carefully staying right in my blind spot, preparing to smoosh me when the opportunity came.  Fortunately, it never did.  I pulled my eyes back in front of me just in time to be reminded that the road was moderately curving to the left, and was lined with a nice half-foot-high-at-least curb painted, naturally, the colour of fresh blood.  It would have been really proper if there had been a low spot in that curb right there… but as it was solid all the way down, I immediately sensed my ill-controlled trajectory and my inability to alter it before I would hit the curb.  At such moments, one’s intuition really takes off.  I was perfectly balanced on the bike for whatever direction I was pointed (not curving left), and I immediately recognized that I couldn’t turn the handle bars leftmore in any amount or else I would fall body-first to the right.  I also instantly knew that if I tried to jump the curb with my wheel, I would very likely be unable to keep my grip as the handles jolted one way or the other, twisting the wheel and throwing the bike et cetera — or, if I could land the jump, that the rear wheel would probably scrape along-side the curb before catching traction and being pulled up, which would also not be in the bike’s best interest.

Anyway, I decided to do what I could to leap from the bike up on to the side walk, and so it happened.  The leap itself was not spectacular, since I only barely extricated myself from the bicycle frame before it fell out from under me; but the landing was definitely a sight to see.  As far as I can reconstruct, I planted my right foot and perhaps my left before becoming horizontal and bouncing into the concrete.  Next, I seem to have blocked my fall with both hand palms, the right merely scuffing while the left was chipped of skin on my thumb, my ventral middle finger, and, most majorly, the heel of the palm; also, my elbow was scraped nicely.  At the same time, my face apparently hit the ground, just above my right cheek and to the side of my eye, and also on the right part of my stately chin.  My glasses got smashed in the frame, and the lens still bears scratches.  The skin around the eye and cheek was debrided somewhat, but my noble chin lost nothing.  After that first impact, the momentum grabbed me and spun me like a log down the side walk, right over my back pack — I first seemed to remember three rolls, though I think now it might have been as few as one full roll.  I fortunately was wearing my woman’s boating hat purchased in Mongolia, and my head got a few very slight knocks without any bruising or swelling at all.  After the first turn, or maybe after the last, I came down again on my left arm — this time palm inward, so that I scraped my first, second, and fourth knuckle very nicely; the back of my pinky slightly; my wrist extremely nicely at the base of my thumb, and less impressively up on the top; and the dorsal side of my forearm in one large place in the middle, and then rather slightly up near the elbow.

The show was enough to cure the driver of the SUV of their murderousness, and they (an older lady) stopped there as their husband got out to help me.  I picked myself up quickly and set about trying to see how hurt I was.  Aside from some my stinging extremities, I seemed to be in remarkably good form.  I noticed that my right pant leg had been shredded since my wallet and phone had been causing the pocket to protrude.  Also, my white shirt was covered with dirt from the skid, but mostly on the right side.  I found out later that my shoe had also been damaged a little bit, above the ankle…

I collected my glasses that had landed somewhere, and eventually pulled my bike out of the road.  The man from start to finish did not give up his insistence that, if I wasn’t in agonizing pain and felt good enough to keep on my way, I must be in shock.  He also handed me some napkins that I bloodied and then held on to for the rest of the day.

So, yes… the blood came within a minute or so, but by some luck I was able to keep it off my white shirt.  It did get on the bike and on my glasses, though — and there it remains, though almost worn off.

The old guy said he worked with the BYU police, and he called some student EMTs.  Meanwhile a sort of utility truck stopped and two uniformed officers got out, asking how I was.  Soon the students appeared, including a sort of senior-looking staff guy whom I’ve seen before.  They did their best to wash out the dirt implanted in my left arm and hand, then to bandage me up.  After that, I recovered my back pack (which also had some tears on the back) and continued happily to the ELC, where I’d been going.  I got there about thirty minutes into my usual hour (though starting today I’ve decided to stop going, since there’s always another intern there, except on Tuesdays).  The other intern helpfully took me to the spectacles store after our hour was up; her name is Nancy Checketts.  They re-bent my frames almost back to normal.  On our way back, Nancy insisted that I come and eat a meal at her apartment, which I did.

(Here is the picture I took there.  That was her room-mate.)

Eventually I bought some hydrogen peroxide, which I credit with saving my arm from infection.  I have healed fairly quickly.  I now only need one or two bandages, for the wrist, the palm heel, and maybe the elbow still.

What else.  I’ve been going to school, watching the Batmans again (without and with Myeong-seon), and… that’s about all.  I had another political conversation with Shane about a week ago when I went home, which, as always, left me mystified about how he could have grown up in the same house as I did, but be so opposite from me by policy.  Well, I know why — he has assimilated to his chosen environment, and I to mine.  It just makes you sad to know that when both you and your kin gain the power to live in worlds of your own making, you will not be in the same worlds.  Still, his basic argument of total freedom from the restrictions of others was perhaps, in some abstract way, an exact reflection of my wish for total self-governance.  He wanted his through some nation-level (or even world-level…?) moral arbiter (defined by the majority but simultaneously opposed to any controls desired by the majority) to prevent any from inflicting restrictions of any kind on others; but I think it’s folly to entrust any group with the morality of the whole, and am most satisfied with thoughts of ultra-localized government, where restrictions can indeed be inflicted at will by the individual upon himself, and upon his immediate community, rendering everybody free from the monarchal whims of distant legislators, or the majority lunacy of distant mobs, every mobber a voter waiting to tear down the way of life of the unpopular.

Well, at the heart of our assumed differences lies religion, as with most questions.  Beautiful religion… the greatest legacy of man.

-Steve

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