Day 54 (You Should See the Other Guy)

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I’m just going to write about the highlight of the day. Other stuff happened, but I feel like this one kinda takes precedent. I was hit by a car today. I was riding down the road, reached an intersection and the guy behind me was turning right. He tried to cut me off, but then stopped abruptly. The truck behind him plowed into his rear end pushing his front end right into me. I flew off my bike and landed directly on my head. My helmet took the blow. It has a crack in it. If I wasn’t wearing that helmet, that crack would be in my skull and I’d be in the hospital tonight. My head smashed against the asphalt and I was conscious of it. That was an odd sensation. I was able to pick myself up, brush the glass off my body, pull a piece out of my arm, and stare down at 7 months of belongings scattered along a Louisiana intersection. Eventually a man came running over to see if I was alright. Aside from the road rash and general shookupedness, I was fine. I couldn’t say the same for my bike. Brian is the name of the gentleman who helped me. He stuck around through the entire ordeal in order to give an eyewitness testimonial and to make sure I was alright. The police seemed more concerned with addressing the divers of the cars instead of the driver of the bike. It was a frustrating ordeal but I was pretty composed. I think the whole avoiding extensive brain damage kind of put me in a non-aggressive state. One of the officers even commented on how unsettlingly collected I was. “What am I going to do? Get pissed off? That’s not going to change what just happened, so what good will that do?” After I said that to him, he just turned around and stared at the road. “Man, if it was me, I would be pissed.” I just escaped the reality of the situation by transfixing myself on the blood running down my arm.

After all the information was exchanged, Brian offered to drive me to the nearest bus stop because my bike was rendered incapable of riding. If not for Brian, I probably would have been screwed. It’s nice to know that in a sea of assclowns, there’s at least one good person out there.

I rode the bus to downtown and dragged my stuff down the street. Both rear panniers slung over my left shoulder, and my bike over the right. I was beat up, bloodied, and exhausted, but I was in New Orleans. I was alive. And I was smiling. I stopped off at the library to take a quick breather and noticed a homeless guy camping out in front. I made myself a sandwich of apple butter and squished white bread. I made one for him too. We sat in silence, torn and tattered, watching the drunk yuppies stumble down the sidewalk. He wouldn’t tell me his real name. Just went by Slim. Slim has to sleep outside and carries all his possessions in a suitcase. I could relate, but I at least had a place to stay tonight. I wished him luck and dragged my bike towards the ferry. I struggled with my bags down Canal Street until a bandana wielding, sandal sporting, guy walked up and asked me if I needed a hand. His name was Mitchell and he helped me out with my bags as we walked towards the ferry. He was from Houston and was visiting friends in N.O. for their spring break. Having gone to school in Nashville, Mitchell and I embarked on an extensive conversation of Tennessee bands. Jeff the Brotherhood and Jay Reatard were just a few to be named. Mitchell then told me I needed a beer. I agreed. We met up with his friends for a drink. I looked like a bum carrying my bags into this bourgeois bar, but I gave less of one percent of a shit.  I drank my beer, met his friends, and then headed towards the river. On the ferry, I met Ron and Ed. Ron was a jovial level of drunkenness and Ed was from Jersey. I talked to them as they inquired as to exactly what the hell it was I was doing. “You look like shit” Ron stammered. “I look a lot worse than I feel.” That was true. I was in a city of lights, jazz, drunks, and outlaws. I was right at home. Ron and Ed offered to give me a lift to Daniel’s house. Oh I forgot that part. So in New Orleans, I’m going to stay with my Aunt Angel and Cousin Jessica’s friend Daniel. He’s been in New Orleans for about a year and was kind enough to put me up for a couple of nights.

I learned something today. Despite the fucked up and shitty set of circumstances I faced, I was never alone. There was someone around every corner offering to lend a helping hand or word of encouragement. That’s what this trip has been all about. I had somewhat of a faith in the triumph of the human spirit, but now it’s far surpassed any expectation. Flying across an intersection and cheating death kind of makes you appreciate the people in your life. So I have one thing to ask of you, reader. If there’s someone you’re fighting with or have a grudge against, call them. Tell them how much you care about them and how frivolous whatever you’re fighting about is. Because it is. You may not have that opportunity to say it again. One wrong turn. That’s all it takes. So call them. Call them and tell them how much they mean to you.

This world can break my bike, but it can’t break my spirit. Nothing can stop this fantastic voyage. I’ve got love on my side. And love don’t fuck around.

Stats:

Miles: 75.18

Calories: 3045

Time: 6:15:03

Total Ascent: 463 ft.

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5 responses to “Day 54 (You Should See the Other Guy)

  1. Tom, my friend Bill and I really enjoyed meeting and talking to you on the ferry. We wish you the best on the remainder of your trip. Your spirit and kindness are inspiration to us. Tommy

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