Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Judge a Book by its Helmet

"Be careful!"

Two little words. They mean well - they shouldn't be enraging. Its almost comical really.

I'm sure it would get a good laugh, and I'm sure tomorrow I'll laugh about it. Because it is kind of humorous, right? Except tonight it isn't.

Not to me tonight. Not to me sore and wishing I was just the same and carefree as everyone else seems to be.

I was out on my bike ride today - my newest obsession in my quest for fitness. I have found that I love to ride. When I ride, the only hurts I feel are good hurts, like the burn of exercise a normal person feels, the burn of muscles rebuilding, getting stronger. Not the aching of joints and shots of nerve pain, but pure strong exhilaration.

Yet one of my problems is I get dizzy. I'm on meds too, and one of their side effects - you guessed it - dizziness. Double doses of dizziness, great!

I don't fall down (yet), but it can be disorientating. So I decided if I'm going to ride a bike and zip down hills and fly around corners and share the road with cars, I'm going to wear a helmet. Because with my luck, one of those moments, those zipping moments, will be the first time I fall.

And herein lies the problem.

Because I don't go all out with the style - I don't commit. I ride a mountain bike, as of now, until I save up enough pennies for a road bike. I wear jeans. Yep, jeans. I wear a light, or white, t-shirt, and its usually baggy.

None of this builds a picture of speed in your head, does it?

So I can see why the friendly neighborhood man thought the helmet a bit out of place. I could see why he might mistake me for someone else, someone with a more severe disability.

I can see, just a teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy bit why he would smile at me like I am "special."

Yet I am mad!

"Be careful," he says as I pass, with that smile you reserve for children or the naive or the slow.

"Be careful."

And I ride on, enraged.

But I still wear my helmet. Most of us should wear helmets. Some of us need helmets. Others don't need to know why.

Tomorrow I will laugh about this. For tonight, though, I just ride.

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