But, no, back on the horse that may throw me.
Well, I’ve just been sitting around on my flukey bootie doing nothing.
I did do some laundry. But only because I ran out of running gear. A person needs priorities.
I even went for another bike ride. Becky is an insidious person and acted like I would be doing her a favor if I rode with her. Eventually I decided to give it one last try, since I’m registered for a Tri. Because I’m stupid. Maybe I should not admit publicly that I’m stupid, but, really, not admitting it doesn’t change it. Plus it’s rather hard to hide the fact when I just typed “I’m registered for a Tri” because anyone reading that knows immediately that I am stupid.
The reason I didn’t want to ride my bike any more is that I don’t like the feeling of sheer terror. Call me stupid (I know…) but I just don’t. I don’t get happy with the adrenaline rush, heart pounding, head throbbing with blood rushing through my brain by the gallon, my body shaking with the flood of fight-or-die hormones.
One weekend when I was in high school a bunch of us, as we sometimes did, had a picnic in the desert. This was always a day-long affair, everyone driving out in the boonies, kids jumping out of the cars and running all over, moms setting out food and visiting. The dads would take us all out to some wash and teach us to shoot cans. My brother had a dirt bike he’d bought with his newspaper route money and the bigger kids took turns riding it around.
It was my turn and I was about a mile from camp, doing no more than 25mph (it had a governor) when I hit a wash and the bike bogged in the sand, so I punched it – just as I also hit a rock with the front tire and the bike came to an immediate and abrupt stop. I, however, did not stop, going head first over the handlebars, landing on my chin. Prior to that moment it was never on my radar that a person can break their jaw, but I knew immediately and instinctively that I had. I also had blood dripping on my shirt from somewhere on my face.
A few months earlier I’d sprained my ankle which necessitated a visit to the ER for an x-ray to be sure it wasn’t broken. So far in my life – and I hope no further – I have broken my finger, my wrist, my jaw, my toe and my foot; I’ve learned it’s good to go ahead and check. While there a young man in another room had a nose that would not quit bleeding and they were packing it full of something (cotton? I don’t know). That kid was screaming like they were sawing off his foot.
Thus my concern, walking the mile back to camp with a broken jaw which I could not feel because actually I was in shock, was not my jaw, but the source of blood, because I had no intention of ever letting anyone near my nose. Fortunately it turned out it was just a big gash in my chin from the impact.
By the time we’d driven back into town and stopped at the house to get insurance info the shock had worn off and let me tell you, a broken jaw: hurts. Like a mother.
And they would not give me anything for pain in case of head trauma. I hung around the ER for a few hours while they tended to other people, finally x-raying me, the tech apologizing profusely as he turned my head this way and that. Yep, broken, up to a room where I dozed off and on, in pain, until the next morning when they set my jaw. Still un-medicated, because they also needed me able to communicate while they set the jaw. Which I’m grateful for, I didn’t want a crooked face but – it hurt.
I spent the next six weeks walking around with my mouth wired shut, talking funny and carrying wire cutters because if I ever got a stomach virus or bad food things could get ugly pretty quickly.
That’s the end of the story.
Until a week or two ago, when I met Max. Mas is a beautiful dog, probably a golden-lab mix, who appeared to be maybe a year old, 80 pounds or so, and newly, deeply in love with me. He saw me riding Matilda, minding my own business, my HR about 189 since Brain wouldn’t quit thinking about how it would feel to go face first over the handlebars, and he knew we needed to be Best Friends. Flush with adoration, deaf to his owner’s fervent pleas, Max raced out of his yard and down the street after me, barking his joy and devotion. I managed to slow before he reached me, getting one foot unclipped before he jumped on me. The other foot was still clipped, and while he leaned against me in slavish love and his poor owner continued to yell at the now-deaf-with-adoration dog I managed to unclip just in time, catching myself before I went over.
Max suddenly and miraculously had his hearing restored at the exact same time the owner arrived at the scene, apologizing profusely and thanking me for my patience and understanding. I nodded that I do understand, I also have a dog who suffers event-induced deafness. And I couldn’t have said anything cranky because my heart was stuck up in my throat doing about 250.
Shaking and shivering I got on the bike and wobbled back home, where I leaned Matilda against the wall, took off my helmet and threw it at the wall, following that with my bike shoes and gloves, swearing loudly with colorful words that it was over. Sorry, Matilda, that’s the end of the relationship. It’s not you, it’s me, I want a divorce, you can have the storage shed in the settlement; there you will slowly wither and die, covered with cobwebs and eventually rust.
I knew – I knew – that Becky would not let it lie. She was good. She didn’t say anything. Like, what? I’m stubborn? She and hubs, I know what they are thinking when they get all quiet and don’t mention the elephant in the room.
But she’s so darn little and cute when she gets stubborn, and I didn’t want to make her sad, so I finally put Matilda in the back of the car and drove to meet up near the end of her ride. Since my biggest worry on the bike is not riding the bike – it’s the sudden and unexpected stop that keeps me in panic mode – I had the brilliant idea of riding in circles and stopping. There I was, in the St. Phillip parking lot, riding in circles. Ride – unclip – stop – repeat, while the ladies walking into the church looked at me like I might need an intervention.
“Hi, my name is Terri, and I bike…”