Still an Enthusiast

I crashed my motorcycle for the first time today.  Check out this road rash.  DSCF2780  Pretty, eh?  There are other damaged areas on the bike–the left hand guard, the kickstand, and the left passenger footpeg–but this, the tank guard, is the worst.  Fortunately, it’s nothing a few bucks and wrenches can’t replace.  Smart bike makers, those KTM engineers.

Now check out the road.  DSCF2788  See those gouges across the pavement?  They’re from the passenger peg and kickstand, a memorial of sorts, to remind me every time I leave the church parking lot of that time I wrecked.

So what about me?  I’ll spare you the pictures, but . . .

I was leaving the church parking lot, heading home to let the piano movers in.  They had arrived.  I was excited.  Maybe a little too excited.  Hey, I hadn’t tickled the ivories in almost two months.  So on the second turn out of the lot I leaned into a leftward turn.  Routine, for the most part, but no one was around, so I may have leaned too far, and maybe I was going a little faster than prudent.  It was like I hit a patch of black ice.  Only it was ninety degrees, so whahuh?

A thousand questions passed through my head in a split second: Why does it feel like my front tire is not grabbing the pavement?  Crap, I must be going down.  Why here, in front of the church?  Why now, during my first week on the job?  I wonder how much this will hurt.  I wonder if the VBS kids are watching.  What’s my new boss going to think?  Should I call in sick this afternoon?  What am I going to tell my wife?  Et cetera.

The impact wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated.  In fact, I hardly felt anything.  I just remember stopping short while the bike kept going, sliding, nearly horizontal, across the pavement.  I wonder how much that’ll decrease its value, I thought.  Thus it slid, very slowly it seemed, into a curb when the tire, still spinning as the engine idled, gripped the pavement and the engine stalled.  At least I didn’t need to flip the kill switch.

So I got to my feet.  Still no noticeable pain.  Really?  Next, I didn’t go to the bike.  Whatever damage had been done was there now and wouldn’t go away.  And no more would be done for the time being.  Instead, then, I walked to the point in the road where I figured the tire slid.  I don’t really know why I did this, unless it was my disbelief.  I crashed.  I actually crashed.  Anyway, no sand, no gravel, nothing discernible.  Huh.  Like it or not, I concluded humbly, this crash was due to my own stupidity.

The next task was to pick the bike up.  It weighs about 500 pounds, a fact I’d known in my mind since purchasing it, but not in my flesh.  In a word, it’s heavy.  After some trial and error–stress error–turning my back to the bike and grabbing strategically then using my legs for leverage, and grateful I don’t own an 800-pound Harley, I managed somehow to succeed.

That’s when I first noticed my elbow.  It cried foul, stinging as if I hadn’t been wearing my armor-embedded mesh coat over my short-sleeved clericals.  Good thing I had been.

By the time I arrived home, ahead of the piano movers incidentally, both knees were hurting too.  Was that a bloodstain on my right pant leg?  Yes.  Yes, it was.

By the time the piano movers did arrive, some minutes later, I had been able to tend to my elbow and knees.  Not much damage, really: a few strawberries, one stanched by a bandaid, the right knee.  But by now some more pain had surfaced.  A Charlie horse.  A sore left shoulder.  And, worst of all, a sore ribcage, the left side, hurting every time I take a deep breath (still).  But I don’t think anything’s broken.

Now, with the piano movers here, the bride and kids get home from VBS.  Time to face the music, I think, still jittery from an overdose of adrenaline.  Long story short, the kids see my strawberries and guess what happened; the bride, whom I thought was preoccupied fixing lunch in the kitchen, exclaims, “What!”; and the piano movers tacitly snigger.  The bride then asks, “Are you done now with your midlife crisis?  Aren’t you ready to sell your motorcycle?”

I decide not to call in sick after all.

Besides, I’ve had worse bicycle accidents.

For the record, then, I remain a resolute motorcycle enthusiast.

In any event, there are many parallels here, yeah?  I’m on a journey.  We all are.  Most of the time it’s an enjoyable ride, things are more or less predictable, even when the road ahead is unfamiliar.  But occasionally something unpredictable happens.  Maybe we’re victimized; maybe it’s due to our own stupidity.  Maybe we come away feeling fortunate or even lucky, with only a few scrapes and bruises.  Maybe it’s actually worse than we realize initially, with aches and pains and other trials fully realized only in time.  Whatever the case, it’s time to work through what has come to pass.

The purpose of my blog is to chronicle my priestly pilgrimage ahead–something like a twenty-five year project (I’ll be seventy in twenty-five years).  No doubt I will encounter many such scrapes and bruises along the way.  Or worse.  I hope I can handle them with similar aplomb as this motorcycle crash.

Whatever the case, I intend to remain an enthusiast of the priesthood.

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2 Responses to “Still an Enthusiast”

  1. rod clark Says:

    You had me rolling with the sequence of instantaneous thoughts. Glad you’re okay and still an enthusiast. Happy trails. -Rod

  2. You are so entertaining, but scary. I will keep praying for you, and keep praying and praying. Love, Mom

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