Thursday, September 13, 2007


Yesterday was going really well for a while there.

I woke early and rode my scooter to Claisebrook, where it had been booked in for some repairs. I left it there and walked up to Exomod in Mt Lawley, where I could begin my day in a civilised fashion with a couple of large coffees and gourmet fruit toast.

After an hour or so of that, I wandered down to Northbridge to look at some galleries, then across to Leederville to browse in the Cool Kid shops. I also visited the Re Store, that famous local bastion of woggy comestibles. My friend CM reckons that Heaven will smell like the Re Store - I think he imagines it’ll be something like this:

St Peter: Welcome to Heaven, my son. Come in and have an espresso.

CM: Thanks! (sniffs air) Do I smell fresh bread?

St Peter: Yes, that’ll be my latest batch of ciabatta. Try a slice with this irish unslated butter and this extraordinary little orange and grappa marmalade I picked up in a tiny, remote village in Tuscany.

CM: And is that… antipasto?

St Peter: Yes, my son. Eighty four varieties of salami, a hundred and thirty types of cheese, artichoke hearts in olive oil, semi-sundried tomatoes, and…

CM: And?

St Peter: Those little grilled aubergine slices with the spiced mozzarella. Mmm mmm.

CM: Woo-hoo!

Mindful that I wouldn’t be able to carry a lot on my scooter, I just bought some expensive coffee, some even more expensive chilli jam, and a bottle of Zubrowka, the most captivating vodka in the world.

From there I walked into the city, stopping at 78 Records to pick up a Sarah Vaughn CD and Herb Alpert’s famous ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights’. I could have bought many more from their huge $10 bin – The Best of The Monkees! Christmas With Dino! Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album! – but I managed to exercise some restraint. Then I strolled back up to Mt Lawley for a pleasant lunch of caesar salad over the latest copies of Inside Out and Urbis at Soto café.

After lunch I walked back down to Claisebrook and picked up my scooter, now burbling like a contented bee with all its little imperfections repaired. Despite the fact that it now has more kilometres on the clock than most scooters, the mechanic didn’t see why it shouldn’t keep running for another 10,000 without major work.

I managed about 10.

Coming up to the Ashburton Street roundabout on Chapman Road, I was busy figuring that yes, I did have time to go to the bank and take my suits to the drycleaner when a car sped out of the side road and across the roundabout without even considering that there might be traffic on the other road. There was a split second in which my brain recognised three possibilities:

1. Do nothing, and slam into the side of the car at top speed.

2. Swerve behind the car, missing it but instead slamming into the concrete planter in the centre of the roundabout.

3. BRAKE LIKE HELL and hope for the best.

I went with option 3. The scooter locked up, skidded on the wet road then sent me flying at only a little less than top speed into the tarmac in the centre of the roundabout.

There’s that moment a few seconds after a serious crash in which it feels as if every part of your body is panicking, shouting at you to deal with their particular problem. It takes a few moments for your brain to prioritise. In that moment I saw that the car had pulled to a halt a few metres up the road. Then, when the driver saw me struggling to raise my head off the bitumen, thus proving that I was still alive, he drove off.

Other slighty less bastardical people got out of their cars and came to check on me. One man had to help me stand up and usher me to the curb, while another righted my scooter and pushed it onto the footpath. I couldn’t stand, so I sat on the wet grass and tried to run an audit on my body. There was pain, but it was being pushed to the periphery. My brain just wanted to know if there was anything seriously wrong. I flexed and squirmed a bit, making sure that all the major limbs were still bending the right way, and found that they were. The slightly less bastardical Samaritans got in their cars and drove away, leaving me to sit in the rain waiting for my head to come together.

After a few more drivers-by called out to ask if I was okay, I decided I had to face what had happened and get myself home. I couldn’t ride the scooter back out onto the road, since I didn’t know if it still worked properly, but I wasn’t strong enough to push it. In the end I got on, started it, discovered that it still worked, and used what little strength I had to twist the throttle. I rode up the footpath at about walking speed, then took some back streets and alleys to get back to my house, about two kilometres away. Mr right arm was starting to hurt like hell, and I noticed that my vision was blurry, leaving me unable to see anything unless I focused right in on it.

I know the drill for what to do after an accident: stay dry, warm and still before the shock kicks in. I phoned my doctor, who talked me through examining myself for serious injury, and, finding nothing life-threatening, agreed to call me back in a few hours to see how I was. Then I took some paracetamol and went to bed.

My vision came good after an hour or two, but I lost more and more movement in my right arm as the soft tissue bruising swelled and inflamed. Since I was having trouble moving, my friend JC kindly brought me some Chinese takeaway for dinner, and we watched bad monster movies while I slumped on the couch wrapped in quilts and hurt.

Now that the first wave of shock and trauma seems to be over, I can ascertain more clearly how badly I’m hurt. There’s a graze on my right knee, and a monster bruise on my right hip. All of my right ribs hurt, although they don’t seem to be broken. My right arm is more or less useless – I can bend my elbow so that my hand moves from my chest to my hip, but no further in either direction, and rotating my wrist even a little causes pain.

But hey, it could be much, much worse. In situations like these it can be helpful to look at the best and worst aspects of the crash.

Good things about the crash

I’m not dead.

My CDs, coffee and jam survived with only minor abrasions.

The fact that it was wet meant that I slid over the top of the road rather than being grated against it.

My leather jacket absorbed a lot of the impact when my shoulder hit the bitumen, and my heavy jeans protected my legs.

My leather gloves protected my hands so well that I only have a slight bruise under my thumbnail.

My helmet protected my head, as the huge graze up its side attests. In addition I fell onto my side and slid like that, so my face was totally unharmed.

The scooter still works, as far as I can tell.

Bad things about the crash

My expensive bottle of Zubrowka shattered on impact.

My beautiful vintage leather jacket is ruined – the whole right shoulder has been shredded and torn off.

The scooter’s throttle handle was ripped open and will need to be replaced. The right mirror is damaged and there are huge scrapes up the right side of bodywork.

My holiday week is… well, perhaps not ruined, but certainly a lot less fun that it should have been. My arm hurts too much to let me do things around the house, and I can’t drive, so I’m very limited in what I can do. Even blogging is hard – I have to sit leaning to the left so that I can type without extending my right arm, and it hurts to use the mouse.

I didn’t get the licence number of the car that caused my accident then drove off, so there’s not a lot the police can do.

As a Christian I’m called upon to forgive those who hurt me, just as I myself have been forgiven by God. And trying to work on that. If, however, you are an atheist living in the Bentley area and you see a red Toyota Celica with two black racing stripes running over the top of it, feel free to lob a brick through its windshield.


Blogger MC Etcher said...

Holy shit! I'm glad you had all your protective gear on.

Will this incident result in your giving up scooter riding?

What is fruit toast?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

No, I won't give up scootering. I make be a bit more careful on that intersection though.

Fruit toast is fruit bread that's gone in a toaster. Duh.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous be.bart said...

You've got it all wrong when you think an atheist would react like that and throw a brick through his window.

I would kick him through his carburator and rev up the engine until he is sucked through and splurts out through the exaust pipe. And I would use nitroglicerine for fuel.

Make sure you get well soon, the world needs your posts!

3:42 AM  
Anonymous vague said...

Sweet Fancy Moses! That is scary! I am glad you're OK, especially as we in the internet world need you feeling top notch and posting frequently.

I would be happy to throw rocks at this guy and his lame Car of Overcompensation, in part because I never got to get any revenge on the buttface who hit me and drove off a couple of months ago. Too bad I am way, way out of throwing range!

Hope you're feeling better soon.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

Oh boy. You're feeling increasingly better now, though?

Maybe God doesn't like Zubrowka. This means you had nothing to get you blotto for a moment of sweet inebriation.

Forgiveness doesn't mean, even as a Christian, you do nothing. Inflicting physical pain is of some use, but seems to be excoriated as a means of revenge - er, justice. So, unfortunately, is inflicting psychological torment.

However, the next time someone sees such a car, organise a flash mob to follow them around, or approach them on a regular basis, asking, 'Didn't I see you hit a guy on a moped a few days ago?'

Or put a flaming paper bag on his doorstep, ring the bell and run away.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Iris Flavia said...

Good thing you went away with only minor bruises - but why did no one get the number plate of that cowardly bastard??? I mean, when he even stepped out of the car to check on you, someone might just have... aww, sorry you have to carry the costs (and time to get everything fixed/replaced) all by yourself!

I hope that person feels real bad and guilty (but, heck, am I naive!!)

2:05 PM  
Anonymous ultrabert said...

I mentioned your accident to young master rockett so that when we prayed about it that evening, he didn't get freaked out (or just confused) when I referred to Uncle Bland's sore bits (all of this lumbricious indexing is making for a very confusing comment -- sorry), ... ANYway, about that nickel. Onions were all the fashion--Arg. Wrong story.

Ms rockett has been enjoying embellishing others' stories of late. Apparently, according to him, after you hit the deck, the next thing to greet you was not semi-concerned onlookers, but a curious snapping sound. You investigated and discovered the source to be a crocodile. But it's ok! It was a friendly crocodile. Who could speak. ... and then there was something about a dog.

(the sound of crickets, and possibly the airconditioner turning on)

...ANYway. Glad you're ok.

PS: either I need new contacts, or the captcha for this post is using a Tolkien character set. Those spammers must really be getting clever.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement. Attention - it's what blogging's all about!

9:14 PM  

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