I hit the garage yesterday morning to climb on my bike, cutting it close, as usual, for the 8:16.
I’d dodged a pair of bullets the day before–the giant storm that struck seconds after I arrived at Hawthorne station in the morning, and the rains that arrived when I rode home that evening.
I’d thrown a plastic bag over my bike seat to keep it dry Monday, which altered my morning routine just enough yesterday morning–taking the bag off the seat, folding it, throwing it in my backpack–to throw me out of whack.
I hopped on the bike and headed down the driveway, then the street. The TJs have this little tradition where the entire family–Little G, Little Miss C, The Missus–lines up in the bay window to wave to me (no, they don’t sing “So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidesen,” etc.).
According to The Missus, Little Miss C, who is 2, noticed it first.
“Hat!” she yelled. She is of few words.
“Is Daddy going to be OK?” added Little G.
Indeed, Daddy had forgotten his helmet. I’d sparred with Little G for weeks over the importance of helmet wearing, and here I was, rolling off into the sunset al fresco. Nice example, Dad.
I contemplated heading back to the garage, but decided I didn’t have time and set out commando style. What’s more dangerous, I wondered–riding slowly and safely with no helmet, or flying down Heartbreak Hill on Broad with no helmet because my train leaves in three minutes.
I passed neighbor Tea Party Steve as he watered his lawn.
“Yeh forgot yer helmet!” he yelled.
I made a lame quip about forgetting my head too, and kept on my way.
I’d ridden bikes without a helmet almost every day from age 5 to 16 or so; why was I so worried now? Probably because kids’ heads are padded with styrofoam packaging material, and adults’ noggins are not.
In fact, I liked the way it felt without a helmet, like going for a ride in your friend’s convertible on that first warm day of spring.
I liked arriving in the city free from the clutches of dreaded helmet-head, and I think the 82 rail-thin models who winked at me suggestively between 42nd Street and 28th appreciated my carefully coiffed pate too.
I thought for a moment about retiring the brain-bucket full-time, but figured I was lucky to get home in one piece without it yesterday.