Monday, July 07, 2008

Skin Reactions, Scooters That Fall Over, Window Pillars and Bad Omens

Have you ever fallen victim to not listening to that quiet voice whispering to you behind your thoughts?

It started roughly a week ago. I'd laid some fertilizer down. Scratch that, I laid a multitude of lawn care items down. My hands were in the granules as the spreader wasn't working as it should. Shortly after my skin started peeling. It didn't stop. Layers of flesh started drying revealing very pink and irritable skin underneath. Then they started to crack when I stretched my hands. I could stretch my fingers apart and watch the dried skin break open and bleed. From my hands to the base of my wrists. They hurt pretty bad and no ointment seemed to alleviate the constant itching. I wouldn't call it pain though. Pain is what I had when I went through testicular cancer. Now that was pain. They removed the "left one" by cutting a slit wide enough so it could pass through me in my lower abdomen. The slit went all the way to you know where and they pulled that sucker through from the inside where it popped out where the incision began. You know how you can stick your finger in your mouth and if you pull it out you get that popping sound. They told me that's the sound it made. Like popping a cork. That was pain. The three cycles of chemo afterward. Thinking death would be a relief if I had to go through a fourth. That was pain. This hand deal, pff...

Life went on. Then the Vespa fell on its side on a tar snake outside my dad's rented garage. I wasn't five feet from it when it sunk into the hot patch. I couldn't reach it. Plunk! On its side. The left rear panel has some nifty long vertical scratches now and the handlebar was a little off until just a few minutes ago. A little touch up paint to keep her from rusting for the time being. I'm also waiting on a new front tire. Eleven inch Pirelli's seem to be out of stock everywhere so I followed a little advice from a guy on the Modern Vespa site and ordered a brand I'd never heard of before. They're from a German comapny called Heidenau. I wanted a spare front along with me since I've just replace the ten inch rear tire. I tend to ride spirited and go through tires a little quicker than what seems to be the average. The trip I was going to take this week would have inspired some meandering through Wisconsin. From Lacrosse to Reedsburg then down to the southwest corner of the state to catch the Great River Road and take it up past Hudson.

How can a rider not veer off the path to explore in a state that nearly begs one to, what with its impressive sweeping country two-lanes?

Having the front spare would at the very least have been prudent if not necessary. I know that state. I know I can't resist those roads. Sirens of beauty and inspiration. Seldom straight or flat. I would wait for the tire.

But this weekend was the fourth. A time spend with family up at the lake. I was told to bring the boat.

Now you all know its harder to stop car or truck with a huge mass attached behind it. I came home on the back roads. At each intersection I let off the gas and coasted to the stop sign. From a speed of about fifty to a crawl.

Now here's where the caviat comes into play. And I can see this happening much more often now that I think I understand it.

Any other vehicle crossing that interstection would maintain the speed limit which is fifty five. They have the right of way. They need not slow as they have no stop sign. Only the people crossing my way or opposite of me have the stop sign.

So I come to a stop. There's no one that I can see in either direction. Remember that I've been rolling to a gentle stop with a sizeable boat hitched to my petard. Pick up truck, similar sized boat. I go slow, got it?

I'm about to go when I see this guy puttering across the intersection with his broad on the back. Some sad looking UJM turned cruiser and this idiot was matching me for speed to hide right out of my view by the truck's window pillar. I mean this fool had to be slowing down at exactly the same rate I was in order for me not to have seen him until the moment I took my foot off the brake.

Had I hit the man, it would have been my fault by the books. The reality is his lane placement and how he chose to enter the intersection had more to do with his nearly becoming the grease spot.

Had he ridden toward the intersection in such a way as to maintain a view of my upper body in that truck, guess what. I would not have thought about Depends undergarments as my foot stomped the brake back into the carpet.

So I learned a new lesson. I'll keep my compadres at the intersections in my fullest view so that they might see me better than the nutcork who almost became my hood ornament this weekend.

Three for three. I'm not leaving the state on two wheels this week. That's certain.