OK. I like riding bikes. Not in a silly tight shorts and jersey and gloves and $40 water bottle kinda way but in the sense it allows me to go the wrong way down one way streets and cut through construction zones and across grass and park anywhere. I have an aversion to parking meters.
Anyways...I have a biking story from a buncha years ago. Back when some folks thought I looked sorta 'dark&dangerous'. Ya, right, figger that one out!
So, the deal is I have a talent for breaking, cutting, smashing and otherwise mangling various body parts either by crashing said parts into unmovable thingees like trees, houses, cars or by having hard moving objects like 2x4's, hammers, forklifts and running backs crash into me. Pick 'em. Some folks collect stamps or coins. I collect stitches and scars. Really ain't no deal.
My first collection started when I was a teenager and some friends and I rode a red, two-door '64 Chevy BelAir off a bluff around the Mississippi. A beer infused event. Now, everything healed ok and my girlfriend of the time said that the scars rather made me look dark and dangerous. Being described as dark and dangerous when one is eighteen can seem sorta sexy and romantic. I liked the notion. I would encourage her to explore how dark and dangerous I was. Frequently. Often. As often as she would like. Worked for me!
The next really neato crash was the 4th of July a few years later when I was in college. It was a very hot saturday afternoon and a very hot Blues concert in the park by the lake. Blue Tayle Fly, Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows...buncha bands and bunches of cold beer. Very cold. Hot music and cold beer is still a good combination, if you ask me. But all things come to an end and it was time to get on my bike and head out.
Now it was a new bike. Sleek, sweet French model. I had just been camping and touring up north the week before and had screwed up the derailer a bit so I thought the thing to do was to go as fast as I could and try to lift that sucker into the last gear. I was going fast and looking back down to see if the derailer was lifting. I looked up just in time to see the parked car I was soon to smash into.
Flew over the handle bars and kissed the rear window. Real GOOD. I remember laying on the trunk, bleeding profusely and thinking, "aw, shit." I probed with my tongue. One tooth was missing and the right side of my upper lip was split through. I remember thinking, 'where are my fucking glasses.'
The owner of the car I kissed was a volunteer fireman from some little town in Illinois. He was visiting his brother.....4th of July picnic, backyard barbeque kinda deal. It was certainly an audible crash. The Fireman and the Brother came out on the street to investigate the noise.
"Damn," the Fireman said, "He sure looks pretty bad."
"Shit," the Brother said, "he looks worse than bad, he looks fucking terrible!"
The Fireman checked his car. "Car is ok." Looked at his brother, "I think he broke his nose. Get some ice for his nose." Brother went to get some ice and the Fireman checked me out. My glasses had flown off. They were ok. He gave them back to me. And handed me my tooth.
"Here's your tooth, too." Actually it was just the cap I had knocked off. I remember feeling relieved that it was not one of the real teeth. He was checking me out. "Look, this might hurt, but I think I can pop your nose back into place." He did. It hurt. "Damn, kid, this is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen! You ok?" I didn't feel ok.
Brother came back with an armful of beer cans.
"The ice is all melted. But the beer is still real cold." He put a Budweiser on each side of my nose.
" hank ou," I said. The nose was starting to swell.
"He looks goddam awful," the Fireman said. He opened a can of beer and took a big drink.
"He really looks like shit, is what, " Brother said. He opened a can of beer for himself. " I think we should take him to the hospital." Fireman went to get the keys.
"tnk ou ery uch," I said. My lip was starting to swell. I thought one beer can on the nose was enough. I opened the second and took a big drink.
Well, they took me to the hospital and sat outside drinking beer while I got stitched up. I had no money and no insurance. I gave the hospital my roommates name and said I would call in the insurance information in the morning. I lied. The Fireman and Brother took me back to the picnic and the three of us stayed up late drinking and discussing how to put out fires and the dangers of bicycling while drunk. I still think fondly of those guys.
A week later I had to have the stitches taken out. Now it is no big deal to take them out, but hard to see what you are doing when they are on your nose. My roommate said I should call a friend of his girlfriend, Kathy; that she was a nursing student and had once mentioned to his girlfriend that she thought I was kind of dark and dangerous. I called her. She said she would, but I should bring her a couple bottles of wine to repay the favor. I did.
She took out the stitches and we drank the wine. She commented that the new scars made me look rather 'wounded & vulnerable'. We made love most of the night so she could determine whether I was 'dark&dangerous' or 'wounded and vulnerable'. I think I was vulnerable two or three times. She was a good nurse. Later, she broke my heart, but was kind enough to stitch it back together. For the next twenty years, or so, she would re-emerge in my life to check the condition of my heart, break it again, stitch it again. After the last time I just used duct tape.
I gave up on dark and dangerous. It never was a good fit. Wounded and vulnerable doesn't work so well, either. I settled on OK.
Gees, I liked that bike.