Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mrs. Schleck must have nerves of steel

You've heard of the Cassandra complex? Where you can see the future but can do nothing to prevent it from happening? My Mom came down with a bad case of something like it, itoldyousoitis, after I called her last week from the hospital:

Me: Hi Mom.

Mom: Oh, son! Why don't you call?

Me: Well, I'm calling you now. And I've got something to tell you, and I don't want you to freak out.

Mom: What's happened? [freaking out]

Me: I was struck by a delivery truck when I was riding my bike and I've broken two vertebrae and damaged my knees in an as-yet-indetermined way.

Silence.

Mom: First your brother and now you. I feel sick. I knew this was going to happen.

Me: ...

Mom: How long are you going to keep riding your bikes before you get killed? You realize you or your brother is going to die if you keep riding?

Me: ...


I could have told her that I was extremely lucky to have gotten off as I did--that the truck had been travelling at noon goon-like speeds through the stop sign, or that Dave Fuentes had been hit and broken his femur and had a severe concussion, or that Steven Grant and Sean Barrie had gone down in blood and carnage on a goon ride. As if recounting the recent injuries of other cyclists could convince her that I'm lucky and cycling is safe.

Since then, I've been wracking my brain, trying to think of a persuasive argument for the safety of cyling.

Argument 1: Cycling makes me a better person.

The idea here is that, look, dying is not the problem. Being a jerk is. Isn't it better to strive to be a good person (even if it means dying somewhat young) than to be a big jerk and live a long life? Sure, it's bad having a dead son. But it's better than dealing with the guilt of knowing your child's a complete waste of space, or worse.

Argument 2: Cycling increases the odds that I will have children.

The argument here is an appeal to Moms' desire for more heirs: cycling keeps me healthy and fit; I look better and think better, increasing my chances of meeting a nice girl with childbearing hips; we make a nice heir. Cycling...it leads to grandchildren.

Argument 3: I could be doing something worse.

This is true.

Notice that none of these three arguments address the real issue, which is that cycling is dangerous.

Cycling is dangerous, damnit! That's just how it is.

And if you do it, you just have to accept it. Unfortunately, Mom has to accept it also. And I think that's the hard part.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She just loves you, and worries. That's what moms are for.

I worry too. Good thing I wasn't there; in the heat of the moment I might have had more than a verbal altercation with the truck driver.

Life is worth driving more carefully.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-az1smQMWHYk/unsafe_driving/

Get well, bro. See you soon.

- BC