If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent too much of your life watching videos of vehicles colliding with things they have no business colliding with (e.g. walls, rivers, ditches, moving cars, parked cars, etc.) And if you’re anything like me, you probably cry yourself to sleep at night.
But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get on with the relevant story:
My partner Moose – yes, that is the name his mother didn’t give him – and I had spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out on the banks of the Columbia River east of Portlandia. It was summertime, so half of the Portland metro area was gathered along the Columbia to bask in the coruscating glory of the sun while dipping their toes in the river. This is not where our story takes place.
At the end of our Nicholas Sparks-worthy afternoon, we and the rest of the weekend warriors were reluctantly returning to the rest of our dreary lives. Like cattle, we filed onto the freeway. This is where our story takes place.
Two motorcyclists rushed from behind, whipping into the adjacent lane before zooming past us and settling themselves in front of us. We didn’t think much of it – perhaps smirked a little as they had been rushing to get nowhere fast. Their “stunt” was moot as the traffic wasn’t moving much anywhere in front of us.
Here’s where it gets fun, folks.
A third motorcyclist came zooming in much like his comrades. However, this third amigo didn’t get the memo about the stopped traffic ahead.
He rushed up, whipped to the right, zoomed to the left – and panicked at the stopped traffic by slamming the rear brakes. If you’re familiar with motorcycle riding at all, you already know the dangers of this maneuver, especially when done at high speeds and at an angle. His rear tire locked and rapidly swung right, left, right – I jolted up in my seat, crying “Whoa whoa, WHOA” – and BOOM, bike and biker are down. The ex-rider comes rolling past us as the bike slides beneath a semi-truck. The gas tank has been punctured and leaves a smear of gasoline on the road. The skidding of metal on blacktop creates just enough spark to ignite the leaking bike, which erupted into a 2 second long flourish of flame. The semi-truck nearly runs over the bike, but maneuvers out of the way in time.
To my right, the biker has jumped up and is holding an openly bleeding arm. He makes for the shoulder and starts yelling “Call and ambulance! Call an ambulance!” The semi-truck has pulled over 50 feet ahead and traffic is now a clusterf*ck around us. Moose is taking it hard – as a past motorcycle rider with a penchant for the cheap thrill, he says he knew what the bikers were doing and should have given them more room. I attempted to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault, that the guy was being a dumb biker.
The police response time was fast – certainly faster than 3 minutes because we weren’t sitting there very long. An officer walked up to our car and asked if we were okay. Moose said how he felt bad. The officer replied with a half grin and said they’d been getting calls about that guy all afternoon. He’d been speeding up and down the freeway and had even catcalled a couple of women. “He’s an asshole and that’s what you get for riding like an asshole” – his words, not mine!
This made Moose feel a little better. I looked over my shoulder at the injured asshole. Apparently, there had been a doctor in the traffic behind us, so she was tending to him while the ambulance was on its way. The downed motorcycle had been moved to the other side of the road and a single file line was slowly moving through this little mess.
My heart was still at a slightly quickened pace, but all I could do was laugh. It could have been way, way worse. No one, aside from the one idiot, was hurt. Selfishly, I found it exciting – especially since there were no other casualties. Writing this now, I can still visualize that brilliant flash of fire in the middle of the road, something I’d only ever seen on a 2-dimensional screen until then. Wow. Just wow. To think how bad it could have been! And so I laughed the nervous laugh of great relief. Moose and I were still alive. We were together and we were still alive.
Stay safe, friends,
Thanks for reading! Michelle and her companion Moose are the irreverent bloggers over at The Lonely Tribalist, where they wax nonsense about politics, feminism, Conan O’Brien, and life in all its glory. Thank you, Wes, for allowing us this generous space to tell our tale!
I would like to thank Moose and Michelle for taking the time to guest post on my page, you guys are awesome!