Friday, June 13, 2014

Go Screw Something Up!

The other day I found myself laying on a dirty sidewalk, my back wrapped the wrong way around a guide wire of a power pole, and a large crowd hovered above my traumatized body. What in the world just happened?
It has never happened before like this. I have spent hours and hours on the back of a motorcycle. In a split second, I was no longer on the bike, but rather, trying to figure out if I was really alive or if it was a dream.
You see, motorcycles have been a passion of mine for years. It is one of the activities/hobbies in which I enjoy the most in life. Many of you have spent enough time with me that you would know what I am talking about. I love those crazy things.
I expect that I will have accidents. That is why I wear a helmet. I don’t plan on accidents, but I know that if I ride long enough the odds will eventually catch up with me.
When I ride on dirt and extreme terrain, I typically hit the ground. It is part of the sport. The speeds are typically lower, the impacts are not as drastic, and there are no cars with which to dodge. There are a certain number of controllable things in the environment.  When on the street, the equation changes. When on the street in Cusco Peru, the equation is just pure nonsense.
I was on my way into the cafĂ©. The light was red and there were 6-8 cars lined up waiting for the light to change.  As I worked my way through the cars, suddenly and without any notice, a door opened.
It was so quick, that I barely had time to react. In fact, most of my reaction was in the fall and not the impact with the car. I squared up right into the opened door. My front tire hit first. Thank goodness the passenger had not already stepped out. The door sprung backwards and stopped my motorcycle in its tracks.
I had one direction in which to travel…over the bars. As my rear tire came up, I was catapulted over the top of the door which was the root of the problem in the first place. I landed on the edge of the concrete curb, a few feet in front and to the side of the car. I slid, rolled, and stopped up against a guide wire that was supporting a power pole.
Within seconds, numerous ambulances and police had been called. It must have looked terrible…My back was bent the wrong way around the wire. I was scared to move. So I just laid there. No movement. I was doing a diagnostic check on my extremities. Toes…Check…Ankles…Check…Fingers and hands…Check…
It was all intact. Within a few more seconds, I decided that I could move without much pain. The guy that opened the door was right there making sure I was OK. He was really concerned. I managed to reach up and shut the engine off.  Gas was dripping out of the bottom of the carburetor. Nobody knew what to do. I didn’t either.
My mind started coming back to some sense of normalcy. A few moments later, I was upright, still checking my extremities. I stood up, reached over to pick up the bike, and quickly received a hand from a couple of the by-standards.
It all took just a short few minutes, but the shakes went on for hours. I am still in awe that I was the main character in a horrific scene of destruction.
I woke up the next day with a bruised foot and a bunch of sore muscles. I am so fortunate to walk away from that incident. I have not stopped thinking about it since it happened. This is what is going through my mind.
For 20 years, motorcycles have been in my blood. I have dodged many a life threatening situation. I have slammed my fist into many a bus that was pinching me into oncoming traffic. I have managed to change lanes just in time to watch the cars that were in front and behind me slam into each other. The list goes on. It just was not my time…
We all have a time. I thank God that I had this experience. It will help me stay on my toes. It will be a lesson for me to turn everything off and reflect on the life that I have been so fortunate to lead. The term “taking things for granted” means something to me now.  Hitting the pavement was a good reminder.
I want to encourage you to have an incident. I am not asking to you to go wreck your car, but live a little. Put yourself in a risky situation. Lose. Fail. Screw up. Mess up something really big. Don’t do it on purpose, but just know that if you take a risk, it will eventually happen. Be sure not to stop there. If you fail, your incident will only be a failure if you do not learn and glean positive value from it.
Take the situation, and be better for it. Allow it to positively transform your life instead of ruining it. You make the choice. Taking life for granted is a terrible way to live. Now get out there and screw something up.

Scott Englund
June 13, 2014

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