There is that brief moment between the stupid thing and the consequences. Sometimes the gap is very, very long and sometimes it is short. Sometimes it is both.
My Colorado errand bike, a heavy Schwinn Imnotsurewhat, was acting strangely the other day when I hopped on for a short ride. It started dragging as I headed up the hill from my house, as if it were in too high a gear. Running it downhill, everything seemed fine, but the problem recurred when I turned back.
I had other bikes, so I parked it for the moment.
Today was clear, so I decided to check out the problem.
A digression is in order.
I find things on my rides. Some, like an elk head with the antlers chopped out, I leave behind. Other things, like the headless Barbie with body paint, I bring back.
I garland the baskets of my errand bikes with the cast-off dolls I find. This may seem eccentric, but it's actually quite practical. It's a pain to lock and unlock your bike during a grocery stop, so festooning it with stuffed animals and dismembered dolls tends to discourage the bike thieves who aren't deterred by the retro, slow-getaway nature of the bike itself.
One headless Barbie is a gift. A second is a sign from heaven. So I have a shiva Barbie bike.
Anyway, I must've been interrupted while replacing a rear tube on the bike on a previous trip, because the wheel had never been tightened down. (An odd-ball drum brake and old-style hub make rear tube fixes quite laborious.) The slowing I experienced was the drum brake cable tightening as the loose wheel was pushed further back in the dropouts as the bike went uphill.
As I righted the bike after securing the wheel, the heavy front fork swung around and my index finger was caught between the frame and the basket. The effect was that of tin snips taking a nip of knuckle skin.
So we are back to the moments. The long one, between the incomplete repair and its conclusion. The short one, between the swing and the nip.
Like when a toddler falls down and waits a moment before deciding to cry, my knuckle waited a moment to begin bleeding. Given the location and depth of the wound, I did a paperclip split and went on with life.
Things did not get better. A broken tooth, a decapitated elk and an invisible university extension office were just a few of the adventures involved, but I know how boring it can be to hear other people's weird dreams.
Even if they are real.