June 7, 2002
Left-Handed Compliment

"This bike-riding stuff is gonna kill you," JoAnne says grimly, as I limp into the office twenty minutes late this morning.

I'm sporting a fresh new Technicolor bruise on my knee, and my right arm is swathed in Ace bandage from the fingertips halfway up to the elbow. 

"Nahh," I tell her. "It's all part of the fun." And I collapse into my chair with a grimace -- and a reuseable ice pack -- settling in for a long day of one-handed typing.

My boss just shakes her head and walks away, muttering to herself. It's clear that she doesn't really *get* this whole middle-aged bike-riding thing.

What can I say? At least I'm getting really good at falling off my bike. The way I see it, it's like playing the piano, or making an avocado-and-red-onion omelet, or applying liquid eyeliner with one of those impossibly teeny-tiny little brushes: practice makes perfect. And since I seem to be falling off my bike an average of 2.73 times per week these days, I'd say I'm getting plenty of practice. I should be graduating to the *expert* level in no time.

One or two really spectacular nosedives on the Iron Horse Trail this weekend ought to cinch it.

The irony here is that less than five minutes before I fell off my bike last night, I was thinking Isn't this great? I haven't fallen off my bike in over a week! Moments later I was laying in a crumpled heap in the middle of the bike trail. I'd been momentarily blinded by the early-evening sun, as I exited the Bay Farm bike bridge heading west, and I miscalculated my turning radius. I felt my bike starting to tip over -- I knew I was going to be butt-kissing pavement unless I could get a foot on the ground and gain control -- but as usual, I couldn't get out of the &*$%# TOE CLIPS fast enough to stop myself from pitching over.

The next thing I knew: I was picking gravel out of my kneecap again.

The bad news is that this is the first time I've actually gotten hurt falling off my bike. I landed harder than usual, at a funky ankle, with my right wrist absorbing most of the impact. My wrist didn't actually start to hurt until an hour or so after the crash -- after we'd stopped at Subway for turkey subs, and were riding towards home -- but by bedtime my entire hand was throbbing like a crumbling wisdom tooth. This morning it had receded to a dull roar -- more like a cavity than a broken molar -- but my wrist and the top of my hand are still stiff and tender to the touch. We don't think anything is broken: I can wiggle my fingers around. And we don't think it's a sprain: there is no discoloration to speak of. But I can't squeeze with that hand (no eyelash curler today) or rotate my wrist (pickle jars are gonna have to open themselves) or reach around behind me (David had to hook my bra when I was getting dressed). Typing is probably going to pretty iffy today, too. On the way to the office, we stopped at Albertson's and bought the Ace bandage and the ice pack.

They've been my constant companions pretty much all day.

Midway through the morning, JoAnne stops by my desk to see how I'm feeling.  I'm actually feeling about 67% better, but I'm so enjoying the attention I'm getting from co-workers -- and delivery guys -- that I'm still wearing the Ace bandage, just to milk a few more *Sympathy Molecules* out of the situation.) 

"You know," she says, "you certainly don't make this bike stuff look like much fun" -- she's talking about all the mornings, like today, when I've come in bruised and bloodied and battered -- "but I admire you for sticking with it." And she walks away before I have a chance to get all gooey and sentimental on her in response.

It was sort of a left-handed compliment, maybe ... which, under the circumstances, is probably appropriate  ... but I'll take it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

p.s. the other good news? at the precise moment i fell, i was riding with my elbows unlocked/my shoulders unhunched/my bicycle seat raised/my forearms straight. [see? i DO read my e-mail.]

p.p.s. good luck to my fellow boobs, bev and bitter hag, on tomorrow's bike ride for hunger!

p.p.p.s. sorry this entry is so short ... but it's painful, typing with my nose.

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