‘I told you so” just wasn’t appropriate, or adequate, when my 21-year-old son walked (and I use that term loosely; hobbled is closer) into the house Monday, resembling a mummy.
But, in fact, I had told him so, many, many times since he first started making noises about buying a motorcycle.
I’m a softy with my sons in most things, but I was holding firm on this one.
He took a motorcycle-riding class and assailed me with various relevant statistics about gas savings and the much higher number of fatal crashes involving cars than bikes. No matter. And after the attempted application of logic, threats and pleading failed to change his mind, I resorted to a phrase I swore I’d never use — “not as long as you live in my house, you won’t.”
But he did.
Unlike the earrings and the tattoo, minor irritants to which I also objected, this was a major, life-threatening terrible decision that I was not ever going “to get used to.”
And while my reaction to this big, red monstrosity appearing on our driveway, was to ask my son where he was sleeping that night and what he planned to do about his dogs, his father wimped out. He said something about our son being a grown man, now, technically, which is completely immaterial in this context.
So our son was off to the proverbial races; his only concession to my dread and dire warnings being a promise to call me as soon as he got wherever he was going on the monster.
And he did that, for the two weeks he had the thing before THE INCIDENT.
And THE INCIDENT didn’t happen on the long ride to San Jose last weekend, which we both told him was too far for a person with so little riding experience, no matter how “grown-ass” a man he is. It wasn’t a result of taking that long ride with another person on the back — something with which he had no experience at all — or because both were wearing backpacks. My admonitions about what such conditions can do to a rider’s center of gravity fell on deaf ears likely because he knows I don’t ride motorcycles and therefore assumed I didn’t know what I was talking about. Not the first time.
What did cause THE INCIDENT was a combination of erroneous conclusions he arrived at as a result of being under 25, a condition that should be federally recognized as a debilitating impairment disqualifying one from doing death-defying things like riding motorcycles.
Because this last ride was “only two blocks” and because “it was hot out,” my son was wearing none of the leather stuff he had for this purpose, but, instead, was clad only in shorts and a T-shirt. We’re lucky he was wearing shoes and a helmet.
Anyway, he hit some gravel and lost control, crediting that riding class with the skills that prevented him from going over an embankment.
The ER nurse took one look and said, “motorcycle, right? You’re the fourth one today.”
Suffice it to say he survived, but suffered injuries which I fervently hope are sufficiently uncomfortable to have cured him of the need to ride a motorcycle ever again. Because if he ever forgets this lesson, and gets another bike, I will either chain myself to it or accidentally run it over with a truck.
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