Bike stumbles and personality types

November 1, 2007

If you run into me over the next few days, there’s a good chance that my left arm will be in a sling. I was biking to work yesterday and, as often happens since our office is on Pennsylvania Avenue AKA Protest Alley, you had to show your work ID card before entering the building. This includes the parking garage through which cyclists must go to reach the bike racks. After getting to the gate, I fumbled through a pannier (the little packs you can put on either side to hold stuff) and showed my ID to the security officer after finally finding it. By this point, I already had several cars waiting behind me. There wasn’t enough room for me to stand aside and let them pass, so I figured I could be courteous by going extra fast down the steep ramp leading into the P1 level so that I could quickly get out of the other cars’ way.

That didn’t work out so well. I bolted down the ramp having barely touched the brakes, and as I went to make the sharp left turn around the corner, both wheels lost traction on the smooth surface and flew up from underneath. My left shoulder and knee hit the concrete floor hard, and the toppled bike and I slid for a moment and then slammed into a concrete pillar. I can’t remember whether I hit my head on the ground or not – my guess is yes, since I had trouble orienting myself and saw spots for about half an hour thereafter. It felt on the verge of passing out. At least I was wearing a helmet! Several of the drivers passing by saw me and stopped to help, but I kept assuring them I was okay.

When I finally felt well enough to get up off the ground, I took my poor bike by its now-crooked handlebars and walked it down to the cages to lock it up… though not before stopping after about 50 feet to lie down for a few minutes. I locked the bike, took the panniers, and headed for the shower. My left shoulder was aching tremendously – I could barely rotate the joint, much less lift anything – but there were no bruises. Not sure that’s a good thing. Otherwise… never thought these words would leave my mouth: thank God I was wearing Spandex. Had I worn my normal gym shorts instead of full-length cycling tights, my left leg would have probably needed skin grafts from all the cuts and scrapes skidding would have left. Instead, I got a mild knee scrape with very little bleeding and a few multicolored bruises. The tights didn’t even rip.

I’m still able to work, though repositioning my left arm sends shoots of pain through my shoulder. I still haven’t visited the emergency room, though the fact that the shoulder pain has since worsened since the fall will probably incline me to go pretty soon, if only just to make sure nothing got too badly messed up. Lessons learned: being courteous isn’t worth being reckless, and smooth asphalt does not mix well with sharp, fast turns. Oh, and not since breaking my arm in 8th grade have I been reminded of how much of a pain it can be to shower, put on clothes, and generally navigate the world with only one fully-functioning arm. I can curl my left arm and use my left hand without much problem, but only with my upper left shoulder squared. Anything involving rotating or lifting my left shoulder is a no-go.

On the upside, a friend clued me into the coolest thing I’ve seen today: the Harry Potter personality type indicator. It’s a chart of the descriptions of all sixteen Myers-Briggs personality profiles and the Harry Potter character that best matches each. You’ll get the most out of it if you know your MBTI profile, or at least a little about what each of the four typing categories is. Take the quiz here for a quick-and-dirty comparison with one of the characters. I’ve known about the MBTI since I was a teenager, so I’m almost certain in my assessment as an INFJ (click here for more about me and my INFJ brethren – most of the info is spot-on). Suffice to say, I was pleased with my match: Dumbledore!

Sounds about right, come to think of it. Just need to start working on that beard of mine… and get some half-moon spectacles… and a pointy hat… and learn magic… which would be awesome, since fixing this darn shoulder should be a breeze compared to growing new armbones. The being gay part might be a little difficult, though…

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