KarmaAugust 13, 2009
Bad things usually happen in threes. A few weeks ago while I was visiting family, my Aunt, the eldest of ten (my Dad is the youngest) died. It wasn’t a surprise since she was pretty old and frail, but not two days after her funeral my cousin died unexpectedly. Same side of the family. THEN, the very next day a friend of my parents passed away the day after we visited his family.
So this next “threesome” is a bit of a stretch, but appropriate to the title of this blog, I had a new stretch of bad luck again this week.
I just installed brand new carpet in my newly built basement den and one of our cats decided to use it as a litterbox for no good reason at all. It really riled me up because once cats start doing that sort of thing there’s not too much that can be done to stop them short of throwing their asses outside for good. Hard to do here in the city.
A day later I had the day off so I decided to surprise my kids and pick them up from summer school on the bike, which they think is a real treat. I put The 5 year old on the tagalong attached to the back and the 3 year old in the seat on the front top tube (I posted a picture of the setup a while back). It’s relatively safe as long as I don’t hotdog through traffic and we all wear our helmets. We stop and play at any playground we pass and we have a good time. Believe me- I’m safe. I’m a good rider but I HAVE had my share of falls- it comes with the territory though- I put a lot of miles on my bike and well, chances are, there’s gonna be some accidents, especially with these narrow traffic-filled Philly streets.
Anyway, We were making our way home, pulling up to a stoplight in the Parkway, when my phone rang. It was my wife and I needed to quickly tell her to stop at CVS. Some punk rolls up next to us on a bike and proceeds to call me an asshole for putting my kids’ lives in danger. I thought maybe he knew me and might be joking so I hung up and asked if he was serious. He continued his rant.
“how dare you call me names like that in front of my kids?” I demanded, then I proceeded to call him every name in the book. He started crossing the Parkway against the light (this was during rush hour by the way) and I followed, berating him the whole time. He tried to sprint and get away from me but it was in vain. I was on his tail, still hurling insults. I guess he didn’t think it through too well before he opened his mouth.
But after I cooled down I regretted it. It’s not like we could’ve sat down and talked it over, and it’s not like I’m any different- I’ll berate any driver who puts my life in danger. But I was angry at him for swearing in front of my kids, but then I proceeded to lob curses in front of them. Didn’t make much sense. Not to mention the fact that he has a point: talking on my cell phone while navigating traffic with my kids in tow is not a very safe thing to do.
So, as Karma goes, and as you can see from the pictures, I had my ass handed to me the very next day.
The family packed up the bike for a nice ride Saturday morning before the heat set in. We packed a lunch and rode the Drives next to the river, stopped at a waterfall on West River drive, had a pleasant time, then packed up to head back home. Claire, my oldest, was tired from pedaling on the tagalong. She wanted to sit in the front. But she’s a bit too big for it. I should’ve stood my ground but she insisted and her brother wanted to try the back, so I reluctantly let her sit up front with her legs hanging over the side. (I’ve lectured them both about what morbid things might happen if anything, ESPECIALLY body parts get caught in the spokes) but this time I failed to remind her to keep her feet away from the front wheel.
We got cooking at a pretty good pace, not two minutes into the ride when all of the sudden she must have done the unthinkable and the front wheel locked up. It locked up so suddenly that I remember it actually skipping a few times. Normally the bike would flip over instantly, but with all of the weight of three bodies and with the third wheel on the back it just threw us down HARD on the pavement on our right side. We had no time to break our fall with our hands or to tuck and roll. We just hit the ground hard.
Like I said before, I’ve had my share of falls. They’re pretty traumatic, especially since I’m tall and I have a lot farther to fall. Plus the fact that I’m still pretty skinny so I don’t have much padding to cushion the fall. They suck. I’ve lost a molar in one accident, broken ribs in another, and I have screws still in my hand from multiple fractures from another. But this time I had my kids with me. Ugh.
All I remember is both of them laying there with their heads on the ground. I imagined the worst and checked their faces and heads for trauma. Thank God nothing. We were lucky. My wife was riding next to us so she was able to scoop up one of them and check ’em out while I comforted the other. They were histerical.
Before the ride Claire insisted against our wishes to wear sandals that day. And a dress. We all had lots of exposed legs and arms so you can imagine the road rash. Her foot was a mangled mess. We counted her toes to make sure they were all still there. I couldn’t get off the ground because I couldn’t move my hip and leg. A group of good samaritans stopped and were amazing. They called 911 and took our bikes to a safe boathouse. The ambulance had a hard time reaching us since West River Drive was closed to traffic. A fire truck had to cut the lock on the gates! We spent the rest of the day in the ER and after multiple x-rays found that things weren’t nearly as bad as they could’ve been. My son miraculously came out of it with nothing but a scuffed knee!
Claire and I just had our followup appointments and we’ll be OK. She has a very small leg fracture and lots of missing skin on her foot and ankle. It’s painful and pretty gross, but she’s expected to heal 100%. I have a small break in my arm and was convinced that I had a broken hip since I’m still barely able to walk on it at all, but the x-rays show that my hamstring ligaments were torn from my pelvis bone.
So hopefully that’s the third and final chapter in my bad luck streak. Here’s the kicker though: Guess who was my attending physician at the Temple emergency room? That same “punk” who called me an asshole for endangering my kids. I shit you not. (Now, I’m not 100% positive it was him, maybe only 50%)
He didn’t say anything but he HAD to know it was me. I asked him a few questions to see if it was really him. He does ride his bike to work and lives in South Philly, but I didn’t mention the confrontation.
And it’s not like freaky coincidences like this haven’t happened to me before.
The cat is still pissing by the way. It’s tricky throwing him out the door while on crutches.
Big thanks to all our friends, especially Drs. Brian & Ally, Joe and Maria, and YiJiun- these crutches are invaluable. It’s times like these when we really wish we had family closer.