Hello. This is my blog. Enjoy.
I'm going to start with a story that happened two days ago. My roommate, whom we'll call "Will" (we'll call him that because it's his name), was out riding his mountain bike with a few friends, including my other roommate, whom we'll call Jer (for the same reason).
Will is an enthusiastic man. He's the kind of guy who is always excited about something. You could pick up a piece of cheese off the ground that had been run over twice by a car and drooled on by a rabid fox, and he would eat it and gush about how good it tastes as it disappears into his mouth. Playing video games while he's in the room makes you feel like the hometown quarterback who just won state, cured cancer, and passed legislation banning those Geico caveman commercials on his home field in front of thousands of fans. I never heard a man cheer so loudly about someone else's first place finish on MarioKart until I met Will.
One of the things he gets really excited about is his bike helmet. Sometimes he just puts it on walks around the house. Once he wore it on a ride in my car, and he always rode it biking.
That's why it was almost humorous to me (in the same, strange, sick way it's humorous to lie to a child) when Jer and the others came walking in the door without Will and told me they'd found him lying tangled in his bike at the bottom of a trail, semi-conscious, with a head wound. He hadn't been wearing his helmet. (That's the funny part, okay? Yeah, I was concerned about my friend, but I knew he was a big strong guy who would bounce back from it eventually and what didn't kill him would make him stronger, etc. Besides, I think it's possible to be simultaneously concerned and amused, so back off). He was now at the emergency room with a suspected concussion after a ride in the ambulance.
We drove to the emergency room, where we waited for a while for the nurses to come tell us what was going on. Looking around, we all realized how boring and unlike the show "Scrubs" this place was. It was basically empty. No one was having romances or making witty banter (except us, of course), and no perfectly-chosen, poignant indy/pop song came in from out of nowhere right at the end. Oh well, at least SpongeBob was playing on the TV.
Eventually, we were taken back to his room, where we saw him on a table, flanked by nurses and with IVs in his arms. He was not conscious, but he was also not holding still. He fought the nurses, squirmed, and moaned about everything. It was still kind of funny, but also a little disconcerting. Weird, how someone can be strong and vibrant one moment and one pop to the head from a big, mean log can change all that. It was strange to look up at the machine with the green line, peaking and emitting a beep with each heartbeat. If years of TV and movies had taught me anything it was that the sooner you started looking at one of those machines, the sooner the line would go flat, emitting one long beep and doctors and nurses would come running, shouting things like "We're losing him" and demanding cc's of things, stat.
After a while, he was taken out again for an x-ray on his shoulder, which was bruised and cut from his impact with the ground. We wandered back to the waiting room to sit some more. Because the person in charge of ordering waiting-room magazines seems to believe that the waiting-room clientele consists entirely of stay-at-home moms with 3.2 kids, I soon found myself reading an article from "Parenting" magazine, the most interesting reading material on hand.
(Note to parents: any product you buy for your children can lead to injury and death for those children. Remember that stroller you bought? The changing table? They are even now conspiring to destroy little Kyson while your back is turned. I wouldn't trust the crib either.)
Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, eventually we went home because what else were we going to do? His parents had started from their home on the two-hour drive to get to the hospital and he was clearly in competent hands. A few hours later, he and his parents showed up at our house, where he was gathering a few things so they could go stay for a day or two at a relative's house in town (they had been directed not to let him be alone for at least 24 hours). He's now back home and doing pretty well, though several hours of memory following the crash are missing.
In the end, it got me thinking about friendship and stuff like that. We all genuinely cared about Will, but what could we do? I don't think we quite knew how to respond. Freaking out and crying might be something a girlfriend or a mom could do, but that would be weird if a bunch of his tough, twenty-something, male friends did that. Sitting and staring at the ground in a somber and respectful way would probably have been okay, but that somehow didn't seem to fit.
So, as I so often do, I resorted to sitting around and making wise cracks. And why not? If Will had been awake, I'm sure he would have been joking as well. He probably would have tossed in a few well-places swears and somehow found a way to include the word "boobs" in the conversation. I suppose the moral of the story is to wear your damn helmet. That's what I learned anyway.
It's good to have you back, Will.