Some bonds last forever. We don’t simply abandon things because we get older and bigger. They stay with us from cradle to grave. No matter how inappropriate or immature they may seem. They’re hard-wired, embedded in our DNA.
Seriously, think about it, we all have a personal list of lifelong loves. Mine is below:
2. Dr. Seuss
3. macaroni & cheese
5. holding hands
7. riding bikes
There’s probably more, but it doesn’t matter. I’m only trying to prove a point. And that is: just because you love something doesn’t mean it won’t kill you.
I fell off my bike yesterday. At an intersection. In heavy traffic. I didn’t require medical attention, but the embarrassment could easily have killed me. Cars honked, cars stopped, windows rolled down, people hollered, people stared, people asked if I was okay — it was a public spectacle. And I was the unwilling attraction.
Bike riding is for kids or very fit adults. I am neither. I’m old and I’m graceless. I’ve no business being on a bicycle. I went down like space junk, head first. The thought that ran through my mind as I plummeted to the ground wasn’t ‘this is going to hurt’ or ‘oh, shit.’ No. My only thought was, ‘well, this is mortifying.’
When my forehead hit the pavement, the impact sent my backpack over my head to complete the picture of bumbling dork. There’s no way to haul yourself up from mayhem like that with any dignity. I had to untangle myself from the bike, get the backpack off my head, and try to appear unfazed and unhurt throughout. I did my best to look poised as I righted myself and restored order, but probably failed. Then I sucked it up, hopped back on my bike, waved to the onlookers, and wobbled into oncoming traffic. (I just don’t learn.)
When I got home I was pleased to see I wasn’t all that battered. The knuckles of my left hand are torn up, my right knee is shredded, I have a limp, but I’m otherwise fine. My forehead bears the distinct imprint of gravel, but my hair covers that. The damage was confined mostly to my pride. And my shoe. Blood dripped onto the shoelaces and the tongue of the sneaker.
Today, my knee is sporting a bandage I fashioned from a paper towel, cotton rounds, and packaging tape. I had no Band-Aids big enough and that’s the lesson I’ve learned from this fiasco: keep a plentiful supply of gauze, neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive tape, Band-Aids, splints, and pressure bandages on hand. And wear a helmet, not a backpack.