Wednesday, 5:45 PM, heading north on Leavenworth, I give the throttle a little pull as I hit the green light at California. Coming down the small grade in the other direction, a white SUV. Into my mind comes a flash of denial, then the thought this isn't really happening. It's followed a nanosecond later by shit- this is going to happen. Crunch. Boom. That sickening bass-laden thud of two heavy things colliding. I feel the grill of the SUV hit my leg. I'm looking down and seeing the pavement coming toward my face. All I hear now is the sound of metal scraping asphalt. I feel the bike falling toward ground. My hands leave the handlebars to prepare for the impact. Is the SUV still moving? I don't know. I'm off the bike. I'm on the ground. Get up. Get out of the street. I'm surprised to find I can do just that. I stand up. It hurts, but I can stand up. I can move. Everything is still attached. People are out of their cars. Seconds have elapsed.
I text someone expecting me shortly and tell them I am going to be late, but I will be there. This is before I realize what's really happened and that I won't be going anywhere later but to a couch, where I will sit all night covering the bruises and bumps in ice packs and watch Dexter.
"Are you okay?"
"I saw everything."
A man gives me his card, saying he witnessed the entire thing- to call him.
A woman says she was right behind me and can be a witness.
I see my ridiculously expensive eyeglasses lying on the pavement in the middle of the intersection. I ask a man if he will get them for me and he does. People are being incredibly kind.
The family of tourists from the SUV come over to me and begin to speak in very refined Spanish. I can't follow what they are saying. I ask someone to please call the police.
I hear the sirens. I see a paramedic truck. I wonder if they are here for me. They are.
I'm examined. I can answer their questions. They ask me how I feel.
Lucky, I reply, incredibly lucky.
They take me into an ambulance and give me the once over twice.
The police arrive and a similar interview takes place.
I text Margarita and tell her I was just in an accident and I don't think I want to go to the movies later. The paramedics offer to take me to the hospital. I decline. I think I'm okay. Bruised, shaken, rumpled, bleeding a bit, but okay, and I realize how much worse this could have been.
I call my mechanic and ask him to send someone for the bike. The cops finish their report. Everyone leaves, the bike gets picked up, but I'm still standing on the corner, waiting for Margarita to come get me. A friend pulls up to the intersection, sees the glass and bits of plastic scattered across it, sees my mangled bike now at the corner, then sees me, and motions you?
I reply with a nod as he's rolling down the window. "Are you alright? Can I do anything for you?"
I decline, telling him help is on the way. A few minutes later she arrives, and a long night begins that could have been much different in so many ways. Worse in so many ways.
This morning I awoke after a what felt like a sound night's sleep, but it was hard to lift myself out of the bed. This afternoon I went to the see the mechanic. "The bike is totaled," he said.
I'm disappointed by the news, but happy I can receive it. After all, I'm still here. Sometimes I forget I am a Viking.