I’ve moved beyond the morbid depression phase of my bike accident, thankfully, and am now ready to consider with detachment similar misfortune that hasn’t touched me.
Not long after I returned home from the hospital I took JP to a birthday party. One of the other fathers there asked what had happened to me (my face was still pretty badly bruised and my arm–my elbow was dislocated–was in a splint and sling). When I told him he mentioned that not only was he too a bike commuter (or in my case, possibly former bike commuter) but he rides the same route from Brooklyn into Manhattan that I do. He expressed his sympathies and then made some sort of statement about how biking in the city wasn’t truly dangerous and you could get hurt doing anything and watch out for those cracks in the sidewalk. I don’t mean to imply that this bothered me, largely because it was the stuff I said about biking all the time myself, prior to a taxicab knocking me into next week. It was only noteworthy in retrospect.
About two weeks later, I saw this father walking his son to school while I was dropping off JP. His arm was in an awful looking cast, broken in many locations. We stopped and talked, and he told me that he’d been hit by a car on his way to work. Again, no implication of schadenfreude, please. In fact, the only thought that went through my head, other than feeling bad for him, was “Holy shit, I’m contagious.”
And while I have before been told I’m like a disease, it’s never been catching. My condolences.