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March 13: On This Day In History

Herschel discovers Uranus. In California, 400 people die when the St. Francis Dam gives way. Kitty Genovese, her screams ignored, is stabbed to death in New York City.

The cool, damp, gray, coastal weather reminds me of Seattle which reminds me of the time I was riding my bike to work and my front wheel slipped into an old trolley track imbedded in the asphalt. Oddly, that happened on a bright summer afternoon so I cannot think why the crappy weather this morning would remind me of that moment. In any case, I recall seeing the imbedded track too late and a moment later foreseeing in all its glory the scope and magnitude of the disaster that was about to happen. I recall convincing myself I would be able to control the bike even as the imbedded track took control of the front wheel.

The spill was spectacular. I slid for a while across the asphalt and then by the grace of friction came to a gentle stop. I don't know if I lost a pound of flesh but it was close, especially if you throw in the lost blood for a bonus. The world was silent and still for a moment, then I rolled onto my stomach and managed to get to my hands and knees.

And then I recall the time the same thing happened except I was on my motorcycle on a dirt road. The villain was a deep rut in the dried mud, obviously cut by a car tire during a rain storm a few days earlier.

I don't think I am ineluctably drawn to flaws in the roadway. More likely, I am incapable of imagining those flaws even though at least twice I have encountered irrefutable proof of their existence. I am not a brave man, and I am not by nature reckless. I'm a bit stupid, though, clearly, at least with regard to the possibility of ruts in the roadway. But part of that may be the fact that I am unquestionably mesmerized by time and space and scenery going past me on either side. I don't think I care all that much about the nature of the scenery. I think all that matters is the going past of it. I think, for me, going forward is a stupefying drug.


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