A buddy came by to help me drown my recovery sorrows in cookies and ice cream, and talk eventually turned, as all conversations about Cycling in the South Bay eventually to, to Certain Friend.
“You know,” he said, “Certain Friend was one of a kind.”
“Yes, he was.”
“Certain Friend was the only guy with whom you could be riding, or a couple of times it happened walking down the street, and someone would just appear from nowhere, a stranger, and start screaming at Certain Friend.”
“Those tales are epic.”
“They’d totally go off on him. ‘You are a complete asshole!’ and ‘I know you, you are the biggest jerk!’ And you know what was amazing? Certain Friend never even knew who they were.”
“He’d offended and insulted so many people that the South Bay was literally teeming with enemies, the vast majority of whom he’d only vaguely known and completely forgotten.”
“Certain Friend was a legend.”
“One of a kind. Certain Friend made people hate his fucking guts just by opening his mouth. And you know what?”
“We have fewer and fewer one of a kind characters like Certain Friend. Things have gotten more homogenized. Polite. No one wants to offend. Certain Friend had ‘IDGAF’ on his birth certificate. I miss that dude.”
I kind of agreed. “Yeah, I do, too. But he really was an asshole.”
The next day I went to my first physical therapy session. For three weeks now my recovery regimen has been this:
- Lie in bed.
- Sit in desk chair.
- Sit on couch.
- Sit at dinner table.
- Lie in bed.
Casey, my buddy the PT who runs Independent Physical Therapy just around the corner, helped me onto the bed. He’s a super guy and a great physical therapist. He started to check my range of whimpering. “How does this feel?”
“Ouch!” I snorted.
“But I’m not touching anything yet.”
“I’m a big believer in prophylactic whimpering.”
After doing a thorough once-over to make sure my ROW was sufficient to allow me to pedal, I got on the recumbent bike.
I pedaled slowly, expecting shooting pains in my leg. There were none. I pedaled a little faster. Nothing but the stretching of muscles and tendons and ligaments that had shrunken up like dry rubber bands. Then I felt blood rushing into my legs. It was the most amazing and beautiful feeling I’ve ever had.
After an hour I went home. I’d been invited to a party that evening but had decided not to go unless my leg felt really good, which it did. This would be the fifth time I’d been outdoors in the last three weeks.
I got to the party and immediately began talking with my friends. Everyone was super kind and solicitous and I got to give the organ recital over from scratch each time someone asked how I was doing. No one seemed bored, and I loved wallowing in my own trough of stoic-but-pitiful-but-on-the-mend-but-in-pain-and-yes-thanks-I’ll-have-another-slice-of-pie.
The time flew. And then, just as I’d texted Mrs. WM to come pick me up, a woman walked up to me, scowling and mad.
“I know you,” she snapped. “You’re the blogger.”
I was seated with a cracked pelvis, my crutches were out of reach, I didn’t carry a concealed weapon, and this clearly wasn’t going to be good. “Yes?” I said.
“Well, I’ve read your stuff and you know what?”
“You’re an ARROGANT ASSHOLE! That’s right, you’re an asshole. A big, ugly, stupid, blathering, rude, arrogant asshole. And I want you to know that.” Then she crossed her arms defiantly and awaited my reply.
I glanced over at the crutches and wondered how far I could get before she tripped me and pushed me down the stairs.
“Thanks,” I said, “and Merry Christmas to you, too.”
Ms. WM picked me up curbside a few minutes later. “How was the party?”
“I learned something about myself.”
“Yep. I’m one of a kind.”
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