And by that I mean, Friday the 26th. Because for us, it felt like last Friday had double the bad luck of Friday the 13th!
Here’s how it went. Despite being 30 miles away from one another, both commuting to our jobs in opposite directions (Mr PoP in the car, me on my bike), we both managed to execute a series of bad decisions culminating in a very unfortunate outcome at the EXACT SAME TIME. That time – 7:49am.
Mr PoP’s Drive
Mr PoP was distracted by a podcast he was listening to and forgot he had to make a stop on his way to the office. As a result, he overshot the stop and had to make a U-turn. Which he did. At a median that apparently had a clearly labeled “No U-Turns” sign. And this median was at the end of a small street that contained a police sub-station.
So of course Mr PoP got caught making his illegal U-turn. And had to ignore my phone call that rang as the cop was writing a ticket. (More on that in a second.) We’ll pay the fine, and he’ll have to take online traffic school so we don’t get any points. But we will have to pay ~$200.
My Bike Ride
While I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks, I had forgotten to download a new one, so was listening to some upbeat music on my bike ride in. That probably distracted me more than usual. Then a car drove past a little closer to me than I usually like in the small part of my ride where the bike lane is basically non-existent. I did what *isn’t* the safer move, and chose to ride as close to the edge of the road as I could. My front tire went off the asphalt, and dropped down ~3″ into the grassy shoulder. That would have been fine if I had rolled with the drop and come to a stop in the grass, but instead I didn’t think about the drop and turned my wheel back towards the asphalt to try and get back on the road. My wheel couldn’t make that jump back up to the road and my front wheel went crazy and I went down. It was apparently pretty epic.
There were several good things about this fall:
- There was no traffic, and even if there were the speed limit in this zone is 25mph and is enforced by cops regularly.
- I went down into the grass/dirt on the side of the road.
- It was a cold day, so I was bundled up wearing long pants, two long sleeved tops, and gloves. So I didn’t get any road/dirt rash.
- I was wearing my helmet. Which as my head was hitting the ground I remembered thinking how glad I was that my helmet was on.
I got up and was shaken, but brushed myself off and assured the concerned passersby that I was fine, had a phone and that they didn’t need to call an ambulance. I called Mr PoP (he didn’t answer because the cop was writing a ticket for him at that exact moment). Then I called a friend from work to let him know what happened and that I was headed home. Then I walked 4 miles home, pushing my bike because the impact of my thigh on the handlebars had thrown the front wheel completely out of alignment.
We Weren’t Unlucky…
In fact, we both fully accept that our respective experiences on Friday morning at 7:49 am were the culmination of a series of bad decisions. Luck, I suppose… would be all those times when those bad decisions don’t result in unfortunate outcomes.
We know we’re not perfect. And neither of us expects the other to make every decision perfectly. But we do try and make more good decisions than bad, so when the bad decisions (and their consequences) happen, we are prepared to handle the consequences.
Good Decisions We Made To Prepare For These Bad Ones
- We’ve structured our financial lives so that a $200 ticket isn’t going to make or break us. Also, Mr PoP is a very good and very safe driver. (Way better than me, I fully admit.) This is his first ticket since moving to Florida almost a decade ago. With that kind of driving record, one ticket isn’t going to harm his record, especially after he takes the online course to prevent any points, so we don’t expect any increases in our insurance rates as a result of this bad decision.
- I was wearing a helmet while riding my bike and it absolutely did its job in protecting my noggin. When Mr PoP and I looked at it together Friday night, there were dents in the hard foam and some of the plastic shell popped away from the foam as a result of the impact. (I much prefer the dents to be in the helmet than in my skull!) So the first thing I did Saturday morning was go out and buy a new helmet to make sure that stays a good decision I make every day!
- I also ride to work about an hour early as a rule. So even walking 4 miles home with a broken bike and a bruised body (and ego), I managed to VPN in to my work computer by our “official” 9am start time. Granted, I just VPN-ed in to tell my coworkers that I was taking a sick day due to the accident… but I was still impressed that I did it all by 9am!
We’ll try and keep making good decisions as often as we can, so that we’re prepared when we make the bad ones… because sooner or later, we all seem to make a bad decision or two.
What good decisions are you making today to prepare yourself for the inevitable (although hopefully rare!) bad decisions you’re going to make?