So remember when I said that I had my motorcycle for about a month before I burst into flame because of a faulty heat shield? Well, this story takes place before that lovely incident, but the results of my actions on that day, like my third degree burns on my right calf, still affect my regular life up until this very minute and will likely continue through the end of my life.
Back when I first bought the motorcycle, I worked in an area of Nashville that I consider to be a blight: it's called Cool Springs, and it is populated by some of the most vacant human beings I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. The largest draw is the Cool Springs Mall, which, to be fair, was a hangout spot of mine in high school, and it convinced lots of businesses that it was The Place to Be, complete with ridiculously high rents.
Through a temp agency, I was working at one of those subscription companies: you know, the ones where you pay a certain amount - let's say, $5000 - to renovate your home and, because you paid that, you can receive items at factory cost. If you're completely redoing your house, it's actually a fairly good deal, if you can afford to put that amount of money upfront, but if you're just looking to re-tile your bathroom floor, it's probably cheaper to go to Lowe's. But anyway, I decided to go on lunch break after calling a bunch of the shipping companies to bitch about the condition some of the merchandise arrived in, and I figured that Wendy's was my best bet. I went inside and ate my sandwich in peace, although several people deemed it was necessary to congratulate me on being both female and a motorcyclist. I took it in stride and nodded with my mouth full, for you see, I was not always the boisterous feminist that I am today. Afterward, I hopped back on my bike, thankful that I'd avoided the lunch rush - seriously, the drive-thru line was around the building and the people waiting inside were starting to look a little desperate for sustenance - and, in my lack of concentration, I accidentally ran over a slick of sand or gravel, which caused my bike to dip.
I didn't drop it - something about which I was extremely proud, since even though Nattibumpo wasn't one of the big cruisers, the damn thing was still 800 pounds or so - but there I was, a car in front and behind me, my arms just threatening to give out. I looked around helplessly, especially when the car ahead of me pulled out of the parking lot, but instead of seeing if I needed any assistance, the asshole in the car behind me just laid on his horn.
You see, this is what gets me incredibly angry. It's like when my car stopped dead in the middle of an intersection, and all anyone could do was scream, honk, or give me the middle finger. How does that help me. HOW. Do you feel better, making an already frustrating situation that much worse because you have absolutely no empathy for other human beings?
In my rage, I yelled the most guttural thing that has ever come from my body, before or since. It was this primal thing, a voice of my sudden superhuman strength. I nearly yanked that bike back into an upright position, turned around at my waist, threw up both fuck-you fingers, and drove off.
The next morning? Oh. My. God. I felt stiff, and my entire back ached. I asked my father about it, but all I can remember him saying is that it would heal. Granted, at the time, they didn't know that I'd purchased a motorcycle; they wouldn't find out until they got a call from my boyfriend at the time, who we'll call Two, when I was in the hospital. If I'd explained further, he probably would have given me some actual advice.
After a while, I kind of forgot about the incident, but the damage done to the middle of the right side of my back kept bothering me. I'd go to chiropractor after chiropractor, masseur after masseur, but nothing ever seemed to do the trick. If I slept in a certain way, I'd be as close to paralyzed as I thought I ever could be, and this is even after I'd suffered the burns and was in a wheel chair for nearly three months. It wasn't until I had a discussion with Three, explaining this chronic muscle pain I'd felt for years, when he cocked his head to the side and asked, "Did you ever have to pick up your motorcycle from the ground?" It shouldn't have been that earth-shattering a revelation, but it was.
However, I found out that my injury is one that will most likely not ever heal completely. It's not really a muscle group that stays unused, but I was instructed to lift light weights to build up muscles around the damaged tissue. Yoga and other daily stretching exercises have also been a huge help, even as I'm coming up on the seventh anniversary of the event. I'll never be 100% again, but you know what? At least I've lived.
And no matter how much I manage to mature and accept responsibility for my actions, I still have this lingering desire to blame that dicknuts behind me who felt his contribution was sufficient.