Sunday, September 18, 2011

Over The Top

During the cross-country adventure with my son I shared a recurring dream that I have occasionally. No, not the one where I forgot to wear pants, study for the test, or my locker combination (shouldn't those have run their course by now?) or flying, breathing underwater, trying to run with feet in molasses or dunking a basketball. But the one where I am coming over the top of a hill, in a vehicle of some kind usually, and instead of a really steep downhill side, it actually goes past vertical.

Although Goya suggested that the sleep of reason produces monsters, I rarely get concerned over what unfolds. The ability to dream lucidly helps. Especially when you are underwater at the point where you need to take a breath and simply do it, or if your ability to fly suddenly leaves you, or when going past vertical.

I'm convinced that most dreams are random playback of some kind, and perhaps there are some underlying psychiatric issues being played out, but I've long since passed the point of trying to assign any reason or psychoanalysis to them. Best to leave that to the professionals I say, and don't go asking questions where you either don't want to know, or can't understand the answers.

When I was 9 my brother and I had just finished cleaning our bikes and it was time for the 5 mile ride to the nearest store. I had this bitching 5-speed Stingray with Butterfly handlebars which put me at a significant disadvantage to my brother's 10-speed. He informed me wouldn't stop for 2 miles, and so I knew I'd better keep up from the start. The beginning of the ride was a climb to the top of Mt. Krumpet (at Route 28 and Blackrock Rd for locals) followed by a 1/2 mile sheer descent. Speed could be had there, Oh My Brothers.

So as I pedaled my ass off going downhill, I got the 2nd worst case of speed wobbles ever and quickly found myself flying over the top of the handlebars without a helmet. I woke up in the middle of the hot, semi-deserted asphalt road and an oncoming car. The rest of the summer I nursed stitches in the head, and road rash removed most of the skin off my right arm, hand and fingers. We didn't have helmets then.

The worst case of speed wobbles came at the age of 19 when I decided it would be a good idea to see how fast I could go on my skateboard when towing on the side of the car. When I let go at 37 mph, I shot past the car and was instantly unstable. Although I wore gloves that time, still no helmet and no shirt. For the rest of the summer I couldn't sit in a car until the skin on my back returned.

But helmets weren't available then I don't think, or at least I didn't know anyone who had one. Now I always wear one even though I have a hard time imagining how I would get into an accident. And then.

Accident Scene

Not 1/4 mile from my house it happened. Riding the Green Goblin I shifted onto the middle chainring on the front sprocket moving through the intersection, preparing for the hill. As I stood up on the pedals the gear shifted again and threw the chain. In a crunch of chain, sprocket, and my teeth, my head bounced off the pavement. There were witnesses. "Are you all right?" they kept asking, probably due to my geezing. As I dusted off my dignity and tapped my helmet, I was able to say "I'm OK", thanks to my helmet. Ride safe. You never know.

And for the stuff dreams are made of, check this out:


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