im - 8/12/2006 10:33:00 AM
Saturday, August 12th, 2006
Friday morning, about 4:00am, was perfect for a run to the 24-hour grocery store on the longboard; the temp was about 21C and the moon was almost full. So I set off on one of my usual routes. There was a slight headwind, but I knew I'd appreciate it on the return trip.
I got to the store, and the crew was cleaning the floor in the area I wanted to shop. So I left. No big deal. The trip was mostly about playing on my board
less about shopping. I bombed down the hill on Ford Parkway on the way back. It's not huge. But it's big enough for me to scare myself, and it isn't perfectly flat. The road surface has some dips and bumps that can cause a bit of speed wobble if one isn't careful or relaxed. I rode the hill faster and smoother than I'd done previously, so I was feeling pretty good.
After crossing the Ford Bridge over the Mississippi, I thought I'd hop off the 8" curb onto the relatively smooth road. There was no traffic, and I'd made this transition from sidewalk to road before. I must have hit a crack or rock or something on the landing because the board basically stopped as the front wheels hit the road surface. The board flexed and rebounded back at me, twisting my right ankle back and up. My board shot to the other side of the road, and I landed on my ass in the road with my right foot pointing too far to the right. The intense pain and immediate swelling told me something was very wrong.
I hopped to other side of the road and got my board. Then, I tried to figure out how to make the 2.4km trek home with a wounded ankle. I usually carry my cell phone in a Pelican case when I go riding. But, of course, I left it at home, this time. I tried using the board as a crutch, but that proved to be slow and painful. So I sat down on the board, placed my feet on the front, and pushed myself towards home on the sidewalk and road using my hands. Every bump and crack in the road caused pain to shoot up my leg.
I happened upon a pay phone halfway home. Having no change in my pocket, I tried to call me wife's cell phone collect. Collect calling is not an option with her cell phone. There was a soda vending machine nearby, so I hobbled to it and bought a soda to get some change. My change was 40 cents. After making the painful journey back to the phone, I realized that I was 10 cents short; the pay phone requires 50 cents to make a local call. Son Of A Bitch!!! I made another painful trip to the soda machine for more change and another Coke that I didn't want or need. I called my wife, but she didn't answer
maybe, because it was 5:00am and she didn't recognize the pay phone number. As soon as her voice mail kicked in I hung up, hoping my coins would be returned, so I could call again. That's how it used to work. No dice. The phone kept my money. I was destined to make the trip home sitting on my ass and pushing with my hands.
I piled myself back on the board and rolled home down the street. The street was much smoother than the sidewalk, so I stayed on it. It's amazing how few people you see when you really need help. I was hoping somebody would be walking a dog and have a cell phone for me to use. I thought, at least, I'd see somebody delivering newspapers at that early hour. Nobody came to my aid.
I arrived home and floundered around to get off the board and into the house using my board as a crutch. My cell phone was downstairs, so I called my wife upstairs. This time, she answered
.because she recognized the number. I explained my condition, and she came downstairs to help me into the car. Then she woke up our 3-year-old son Noah, strapped him into the car, and drove to the hospital. I was not on her favorite person list, at this point. Waking somebody up at 5:00am
then again at 5:30am, to tell them you've hurt yourself badly on a skateboard, doesn't go over very well when you are 37 years old and should know better. Luckily, Lynn understands that I have a condition that hasn't allowed me to fully mature, and she puts up with my cuts, scrapes, bruises, and broken bones.
The X-rays proved what I had suspected
broken bones. I fractured my tibia and fibula at my ankle. I'm wearing a cast until I go under the knife for corrective surgery next week. To add insult to injury, I was booked to fly to Stockholm, Sweden on Tuesday to race at the Single-speed World Championship event. Great timing. Swervy will have to step up his game and represent for both of us, unless Kenny Bloggins decides to go in my place.
One concern, resulting from my not-so-graceful dismount, is getting to and from the office...51km round trip. I've ridden a bike or unicycle every day for more than 8 years. I know I can take the bus, but it's going to suck compared to riding a bike. I can probably find a carpool partner, but it still means sitting in a metal box in traffic for 1 to 2 hours each workday. I can already feel my soul being sucked out of me.
I've ridden with one leg, but I'm worried about crashing with a cast on. That's probably not an option. Maybe, I'll get a scooter. It's not as eco-friendly as a bike, but it's less polluting and more fun than riding in a bus or car. I've been thinking about building an electric-assist bike for years. It might be time to build one that can go the distance from home to work and back with minimal or no pedal-assist. Maybe, I'll have to utilize the train for part of the commute to guarantee I have enough battery power for each leg of the trip.
It sucks being a spaz on a skateboard. But, at least, I broke myself while having some fun. I'd probably feel worse if I'd hurt myself by slipping in the shower or tripping on my sassy feather boa and falling down the stairs. So I've got that going for me.