Ever have one of those times where you obsess over whether or not you took care of something at home? You know, like, “Did I lock the door?” or “Did I remember to shut off the oven?” You’re sure you did; at least it seems like you did. But the further you get from home, the less convinced you become. After awhile, the doubt burrows into you brain and you finally decide, “What the heck, I’ll turn around, go home, and check it out; ‘just to be safe.'” Of course, you were right in the first place. The stove WAS off. The door WAS locked. All was fine. You feel silly, relieved, frustrated, angry with yourself; (choose one or “all of the above”) but continue to your destination; ten minutes late but no longer encumbered by the phantom brain wave.
It doesn’t mean you’re ravaged by OCD if it happens every so often. I think it’s normal (at least I hope so), After all with so much on our minds, sometimes we don’t mentally check off the smaller events. That’s what happened to me yesterday.
The saga began as I mounted my bicycle to ride to yoga. With clear skies and a light breeze, it was weather made for a commute. I had allowed enough time so I could ride at a leisurely pace, admire the scenery, breathe deep the cool air, and be grateful for being alive. All was as it should be; at least until the gremlins got me.
It began with a random thought, “Did you close the garage door?”
Understand, I have never left the garage open when I’ve left my house so there’s no reason to assume I had done anything but that on this occasion. Yet, the more I tried to turn down the noise, the louder it became. With every crank of the pedals, the more I worried. Deciding I was ruining a perfectly good bike ride, I opted to return home and confirm the house was indeed secure.
At the time our garage door could often be temperamental. We were calling our local professional opener repair service every other week before we eventually gave in and replaced the garage door. It would sometimes not close properly or even spring open entirely on its own. A friend of mine had recommended that I should speak to a company that repairs and replaces garage doors in Reisterstown Maryland and the surrounding area but I simply had not got around to giving them a call.
So, with my thoughts racing, to turn around, I pulled into a driveway but due to its narrow width, I couldn’t complete the action. I tried to put my feet down while straddling the frame, and waddle backwards to the street. Alas, due to the slope of the driveway, combined with my less-than-towering height, my feet couldn’t reach the ground. The bicycle (with me attached of course) began rolling backwards; before I could extricate myself, I lost balance. Upon realizing gravity was going to win this battle, I stretched out my arms to cushion the blow, landing with a severe THUD next on the curb to a garbage can. My right hand took the brunt of the impact; shortly before my jaw bounced against the concrete and my ribs smashed against the tubular frame of the bike, leaving me in a tangle on the street.
As cars passed, I wondered if anyone would stop, or did they consider a middle-age guy laying in the sewer some sort of performance art or misplaced garbage?
“Look honey, isn’t that a man sprawled in the gutter next to a bicycle?”
“By Jove, I think you’re right!”
“Do you think we should see if he’s okay?”
“Why should we? It looks like the people in that house tried to throw him away, but missed the can. We don’t have time to pick up other people’s trash. However, you’d think they’d have more pride in the appearance of their property, don’t you?”
With a collective “harrumph,” and noses turned skyward, they would drive on. Whether or not that was the conversation, no one stopped.
I assessed the damage. My jaw and hand were already throbbing but I was obviously conscious. I could – with much pain – move my fingers and my mouth. My chest ached; yet I could breathe. The bike was fine; my mirror and light were askew; but simple to fix.
With no small amount of effort, I pulled myself to vertical; considered my options, and came to the thankful realization “on the grand scale of things,” it could have been worse. I was startled at how grateful I actually was, despite the pain.
Therein lies the lesson. Most of the time, “it could be worse” and someday “it will be worse.” But not right NOW – and that’s where I live, right now. I’m no Pollyanna; I understand “stuff happens” (and 24 hours later I am seriously considering a trip to my doctor to check on my hand), yet I was able to continue on with my plans and make it home just fine (albeit more slowly). There are people whose daily experiences are far worse than most of what happens to me in an entire lifetime. When I put it into that perspective, I am grateful. When I dramatically lay my forearm across my forehead, close my eyes, toss back my head, and lament, “woe is me,” it does feel worse. Luckily it wasn’t a car that hit me, then I would be in some serious trouble there, I would be contacting some attorneys as quickly as I could because metal against a body isn’t exactly compatible.
As a dear friend reminded me, “When everything seems crazy, remember to breathe” (even if my ribs hurt).
Oh yes, I had locked the garage door.
Ken Braly says
Reminds me of the time I parked my car in a shopping center parking lot and unhooked the bike to begin my ride. I rode from my parking spot to the entrance onto the street, with a car right behind me also exiting, and stopped to let the traffic go by. Only I didn’t remember to unclip my pedal, and slowly fell sideways onto the pavement, still clipped in. Painful, but more pride hurt than anything else, trying to get up with the sheepish grin that said to the driver behind me, “Yes, I meant to do that.”
Scott "Q" Marcus says
I didn’t mean to – but I laughed at your story. I could just see you “clipped” to your bike as it falls and you going down with it. It reminded me of a cartoon scene. I’m glad you’re OK. (And thanks for the comment.)
Jude Zyskowski says
A couple of things struck me about your tale-one was a sad feeling that no one stopped after your fall,and alluding to yourself(even tongue in cheek) as trash.(It made me want to have been driving by so I could have checked on you; I am glad your yogini friends had sympathy.
The second thing was what you said about feeling grateful.I work with folks who have neurological and post-surgical problems, often with the result that they are unable to feel parts of their body anymore.As weird as this may sound, and I don’t go out of my way to inflict pain on myself; but when I hurt physically, usually from over exertion, I too am grateful that I can feel….
I like that we as humans can dig for the good in what looks like a less than positive experience, if we want to.
Scott "Q" Marcus says
First of all, thanks for reading and commenting. As for the content of your comment, I really appreciate the insight you provided into putting things in perspective too. A few years ago, I saw an interview with Michael J. Fox and his battle with Parkinson’s. It so inspired me that I wrote a column about it. (If you’re interested, you can find that at https://thistimeimeanit.com/communicating/attitude/luckyman. Please stay in touch.
Clyde Sdale says
Next time you should take the bus.
But seriously; how the hell did the wheel get that bent?
Scott "Q" Marcus says
Hey Clyde – the photo is simply clip art. My bike actually survived better than I did. Thanks for checking in – and keep up the good work on helping the hungry.