OK, so despite the dozens of polar bears who no doubt drowned to death last week with all the driving that I did to work I NORMALLY am a bicycle commuter. Even with my new wheels I’ll bike my ass to work every day. I hop on my super-cool bike (and it is officially super-cool. I’ve had totally random strangers compliment me on my bike. So it’s official. Super-cool. Go ahead and envy me – you’re allowed.) and peddle to and from work twice a day.
My bike-commuting gear in inclement weather normally includes big broccoli rubber bands around my pant legs, a big, shapeless, bread-pudding of a coat (but warm), a muffler so long that even if I wrap it around my neck 6 times it will still poke out the bottom of my shapeless dessert coat, earmuffs and clear work goggles with a mirror hanging off one stem.
But no helmet.
Before I have a record number of comments ever for one post (which I want, but not on this post) let me state for the record:
1) I have no doubts that helmets are safer than no helmets
2) I would never, in a million years, encourage someone else to not wear one
3) I totally get that my arguments sound absurd
4) If I DO smash my brains I’ll blame nobody but me.
The reason I have had no helmet so far starts with “my god, how is it possible that we have made it possible for golf, the lamest of all the sports, to be played on the moon and yet still bike helmets are both dorky looking AND uncomfortable???” and then rolls over into “it costs HOW MUCH???” territory before landing gracefully at “I have to work all day with whatever hair I have when I get to the other end. If that hair is lame I get to look lame. At work. Every day.” I understand that none of these things are as important as not splashing my shiny, shiny brains all over the ground, but so far (knock on wood) I’ve not had (knock on a bunch of wood) any brain-splashing problems (seriously, where do they keep the wood on this danged internet???) and the other problems happen 100% of the helmet-wearing time. In other words: I MIGHT get hurt, but I’ll DEFINITELY look dorky on the road, be uncomfortable, spend a bunch of money and have lame helmet hair at work.
So for these reasons I’ve been helmetless. And by the way? I’m totally not alone. Here in Hippyville, which is a danged bike-riding mecca, there are people all around me sporting caps and hoods and other head-gear designed to keep heads warm or dry (or super-snazzy!) but not so much smash-free. And we are all in our own little club. When someone on a bike without a helmet passes someone else without a helmet we nod like “Yeah, you understand. Your hair will look super when you get where you’re going, and how much do you really use those brains anyway, right?”
Anyway, here’s the deal: yesterday I was biking to work and there’s this one place where I go flying down an inclined road as fast as I can, letting inertia be my jetpack, and when I get to the bottom of this little hill I zoom through this little open space next to a big hinged car-gate-thing. I do this every day, twice a day, just like clockwork. And let me add that I am FLYING when I get down to this part. And also I go over this little hillock thing as I go through the space, so I’m generally not touching the ground for that moment. (it is AWESOME.) And this morning was like all other mornings.
Except that someone had opened the car-gate-thing (which never happens!) over the weekend and left it standing open. Standing open in such a way that you can’t really see that it’s open until you’re right on top of it. Standing open also in such a way that it was now completely blocking the space through which I usually fly. So this morning it was more like this: “Zoom, zoom, zoom… what the-?... HOLY CRAP, I IS DEAD!!!!!”
At the last possible section I turned slightly to the left and went through the open gate instead of the usually-open space. And I was fine! Huzzah! Oh sure, I peed myself and vomited up my heart from the racing of it. But 100% of my death was avoided!
But I’ll admit that it occurred to me that had I NOT noticed the blocked space when I did I would have most likely mashed my something, and brains was a fair guess. And so I guess this was the universe’s way of saying “Seriously, how long do you expect us to let you keep tempting irony this way?” to which I say “Fair enough.” I’m going to go ahead and get a helmet. (Actually I’m going to put it on my birthday list so that my sister can get it for me, which I know she will do because whenever she hears that I’m still not wearing a helmet she wails that I’m a terrible influence on her three kids, at which point I have to remind her that I’ve already schooled them on properly flipping the bird, not to mention offering to take them to get their first tattoos. The helmet thing is the least of her worries.)