Today was my lucky day. I got doored.
I do not recommend getting doored. In the language of cyclists, getting doored is when you're riding along and someone unexpectedly opens their door in front of you, leading to an unfortunate meeting of cyclist and car, then cyclist and pavement. It's the sort of thing that's practically impossible to prevent once it's in progress. In fact, I didn't even know it had happened until I was on the ground, in the street, doing the kind of panicked, automatic assessment of the state of my limbs that you do when somethingtraumatic has occurred. Head, arms, legs, torso - present and intact, if in an inordinate amount of pain. And a woman standing over me, frantically asking if I'm OK, if I need an ambulance. "I don't know," was the only thing I could say at the time.
I'm not sure how much time passed between when I hit the ground and when I finally found the wherewithal to drag myself out of the middle of the street. Probably not long - a couple of seconds, maybe - but it seemed like minutes passed while I laid there, just trying to figure out if moving was even a possibility.
If I'd been thinking straight, I probably would have gone to a doctor or something sensible like that, but instead I was like "I have to go to work, bye," locked up my bike, and hopped on the bus. We have a medical clinic at work, so I did get checked out (multiple contusions, no broken bones or torn ligaments, yay!), but at the moment I was mostly just acting like a deer that got hit by a car, determined to get away from the bad, scary place where the bad, scary thing just happened. Also, I had stuff to do and I wasn't going to let a silly thing like getting hit by a car (part of one, anyway) stop me from doing it.
All day I've been extra aware of my body. It's funny how little you notice it when everything is working right. As it is, every time I took a step I was aware of the matched set of bruises on the insides of my knees. Every time I'd wash my hands I'd be abruptly reminded that I should not be twisting my swollen wrist that way (ow, ow). I'd push against something with my left arm, and my shoulder would loudly protest that today was not the day for that, thanks so much. And, as people keep reminding me, tomorrow is going to be much worse.
But on top of everything was this sense that it could have been so much worse. I mean really, I got to hear everyone's "I had a friend who got doored" horror stories today. The girl who broke her collarbone, the guy who broke his wrist, the guy who got doored and then got hit by a car immediately after, the other guy who went over the car door and had his bike land on him and had his face slashed open by the chain. If I was the religious type, I'd call this some kind of miracle, but as it is, I'm astonished by my own dumb luck. I was riding on a normally busy street at an earlier than normal hour, so there were no cars coming. Instead of slamming my head against pavement (I wasn't wearing a helmet), my speaker, which hangs from the shoulder of my backpack, took most of the force, leaving me with nothing more than a bruised ear. If the woman had opened her door even a second earlier, I would have hit it straight on rather than being hit by it from the side, so I didn't go flying over the top of the door.
I'm not scared to get back on my bike, but before I do, I'm definitely going to get a helmet. I realize how much of an idiot I've been for not doing it before, but I'm not going to play with my life anymore. I've always felt like I'm a good cyclist, and I know all the rules that are supposed to keep me from getting hurt. That might be true, but even if you follow all the rules, you can't always account for another person's actions. If I need a reminder, all I need to do is think about how much worse my day could have been.
Today was my lucky day. I got doored.