After the Fall

I went out yesterday afternoon on the Segway to Dr. Fong’s, where we grossed out (in a fun-loving way, of course) her totally blonde and vegetarian assistant by discussing the Brain Masala at Shalimar, the new Pakistani/Indian restaurant on Polk at Pine. (The assistant was at first desperately trying to believe that a masala was perhaps related to a mandala and that a brain masala was thus some kind of Eastern study to improve one’s mind.) On the way home I stopped in at Whole Foods to pick up some Bingham Hill Blue, an award-winning and ultimately somewhat disappointing Colorado cheese I’d read about, and while I was there delighted the garage attendant by giving him an intro lesson on the Segway.

I continued on my way home via Pacific Heights since the outbound trip competing with grumpy commuters on through streets had been a little too, well, competitive. Early on I got stopped by this alternative transportation nut for a too-long conversation about the politics of Segways in San Francisco, and shortly after that I hit a pothole on Steiner that threw me for my first significant spill. As I was picking myself and the Segway up and dragging us between parked cars to the curb to collect our wits, the woman driving the car behind me slowed and called out, “Are you hurt?” Since I could speak, I of course said no. Actually, I had forgot how much it hurts to scrape the skin off a six-inch patch of your forearm. But for the first few minutes that took my mind off my bruised butt, which seems to have absorbed most of the impact.

It’s becoming clear that this thing is really quite dangerous to be running on heavily-trafficked streets, but it’s opened my life up so much that I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

And yes, I knew about potholes, but for a moment failed to watch for them. And my goodness, was the fall abrupt. The very first warning came as the Segway and I were doing an arabesque, during the first part of which our only contact with the ground was with one of its wheels. Then, I momentarily lost touch (in a couple of senses) with the Segway as I hit the ground. One advantage of a top speed of 12 MPH, though, is that you don’t skid far.

And yes, I should drape myself with accessories like knee and elbow pads and a helmet and such, I really should. But they’re so uncomfortable. I say that without ever had any of them on me except for a motorcycle helmet decades ago because they look so dorky that even donning them is unthinkable.

After I got home and scrubbed the street dirt out of my scraped arm, ow, ow, ow, I started discovering other minor contact points. The good thing about privately administering your own first aid at home is that you get to whimper as much as you want. I seem to have bounced a couple of times to get so many little minor contact points. Then, for a couple of hours, I was distracted from my discomfort by watching Andy Roddick prance around on center court at the ATP Masters tournament in Montreal.

But then bedtime came and I discovered that my scraped arm was not the really the problem. I seemed to have bruised my tailbone, as finding a comfortable position in bed was difficult. Luckily, I have my stash of leftover pain meds from various surgeries, so I sampled a 1995 vintage hydrocodone. It still worked, at least enough to let me sleep for several hours.

Hmmmm. It’s several days later, and my butt still hurts when I lie down. Definitely may have to look into some kind of padding to wear when I’m riding the Segway…or better yet, when I’m trying to sleep.

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