A little over a month ago I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing the plain truths of Newtonian Physics. I had a whole bucket of Second Law followed by a quick realization of the Third Law. The ensuing aftermath involved me rolling on the wet ground in traffic in the middle of the intersection of Skillman and Eastridge, my scooter desperately to visit the abandoned convenience store located on that corner by itself, and, through the magic of even more physics that was applied a couple of hours later, a broken left clavicle.
That’s a whole can of suck realized in just seconds on a semi-rainy Friday evening. Now I have a busted wing, a scooter that will probably get the nickname “two-face,” and I’m pretty much grounded to traveling by four or more wheels during prime scooting weather.
I am, however, pretty damn grateful to be alive.
The human brain is a funny thing. For about the first week after my experiment with a frictionless environment, I was just pissed off at myself for “letting the accident happen.” The universe took a big ol’ dump on me right before me and the mrs. were headed off for a week of fun and frivolity with Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter and I was stuck in a sling; hopped up on pain pills.
A little more than a week in it dawned on me that I could have fucking died in that crash.
My friends and I (us of the various Scooter “organizations” here in Dallas: a.k.a. the Sunday Dubliner drinkers) are pretty damn militant about helmet wear, so I always ride with a bucket, but I tend to get lax about most other recommended safety gear. Fortunately, when I needed it most, I had on a good thick jacket, jeans and gloves. It’s for this reason that all I ended up with was a broken clavicle, a sore tailbone and an iPhone shaped bruise on my right thigh rather than a chance for instant tattoo removal.
Since i received my motorcycle license, I’ve been pretty realistic about the risks. I realize that, by making the decision to ride a motorized two-wheeled vehicle, it is just a matter of when I’ll lay the bike down, not if. That’s a pretty stressful realization, but realistic.
Many people have asked me if I’m ready to sell off my scoots and give it all up. Hell no. Every morning I walk by my Lambretta (thankfully the bike I didn’t crash) and I can’t wait to get it back out on the streets. I’m sure the first couple of rides will be hella stressful, but this, too, shall pass. I don’t even think I’m going to have the cosmetic work done on the Vespa I crashed: it’ll give me a great opportunity to remind people to wear their helmets when they ask me what happened to it.
Healing, unfortunately, is slow going (38 year old bones definitely heal slower than 20 year old bones), but I will emerge from this a more experienced person and, hopefully, an even safer rider.