Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Another Story

There's a thread on the GS rogue boards about all the dumb, dangerous things we've done in the past and somehow came out of alive. I posted a couple of things, like my touching the electric fence when I was in France, and then for some reason, I thought of this particular story today. I just posted this on the boards there, but I figure I'll post it here, too.

Re: I dunno what's worse....

Hehehe.. I also have to add this story.. because it does amaze me still, to this day, that I wasn't killed.

I grew up in San Francisco, and of course everyone knows about how crazy the hills are there. I was pretty young, maybe 5, and we lived in the Marina District, right on the corner of Scott and Greenwich. The street running parallel to us on the other side of the block was incredibly steep and led down to one of the busiest streets in San Francisco -- Lombard St. running through the Marina.

One afternoon, I decided it would be fun to ride my bike down the steep street and see how fast I could go. I didn't have hand-grip brakes, only the pedal air brakes, but I was cautious, because the entire scenario was a bit scary (and when I say that hill is steep and huge, I'm not exaggerating). I let my bike go some, tested the brakes, let it go again, tested the brakes.

When I was satisfied that the brakes would hold, I let her rip. I tore down that hill at a speed faster than any 5-year-old should achieve for many years to come. I began to panic as I shot down the hill, and went to step on the brakes to slow down, and guess what -- my air brakes had given out, presumably due to the high velocity of my bike.

So there I was, hurtling toward 6-lane Lombard St., my brakes gone, and unable to stop. I quickly gave up on the brakes and set my feet down on the ground, trying to slow or stop the bike with foot power. It may have slowed me a bit, but it didn't stop or save me.

All of a sudden, I'm at the bottom of the hill. There was a big cement light pole on the corner, and I was headed straight for it. I don't remember what was going through my head, whether I had any plan at that point, or whether I was operating on pure terror. All I know is that I hit that light pole head-on. Literally. I had a huge bloody mess on my forehead where my skull had connected with the light pole.

But that's not the end of it.. because when someone hits an object at high velocity, they tend to go flying. Once I smacked into the pole, I was carried off my bike and landed IN THE STREET. Picture it... a busy road with a zillion cars rushing by. I was very dazed at that point, and I have no idea how I wasn't hit by a car and killed.

These two nice people stopped and helped me -- I figure it's probably distressing to see a bleeding 5-year-old lying in the street -- and brought me home. Aside from a cut and big bruise on my forehead, I was fine. No permanent damage (unless you consider how said incident has affected my current brain damage) -- not even a scar.

It's things like that that make me think that even though I've hurt myself doing dumb things, I've had some sort of guardian angel working overtime to keep my stupid ass out of real harm. ;)

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