This column comes with two rules. Rule No. 1: Before you read any further, look up from your paper or your computer screen or your phone or whatever device you use to get news these days and tell someone you love them.
I'm serious. I've arranged for someone to come unplug your computer or take back your paper if you don't follow this first rule.
It can be your wife or your husband or your partner or your parents or your kids. It can be your neighbor or your dog or your cat or whatever. But if you don't put this column down for just a second and tell someone that you love them, you are not allowed to keep reading.
My story can wait. It's not nearly as important. It's only a cliché until you face the possibility of never saying those words again.
I was hit by a car Wednesday morning. There are a lot of different ways to tell this story. The most basic version: I was riding my bike up Mountain Avenue in the bike lane, heading north toward the Rillito River trail, when a Toyota Camry driving east on Drachman hit me. The driver had been waiting at a stop sign, and he thought the intersection was clear.
Here's another way to tell it: I was riding my bike up Mountain Avenue when I looked to my left and saw this green car accelerating at me.
It was just an instant. Just a blink of an eye.
But it was long enough to do the math and know, with absolute certainty, I was going to get hit. There was nowhere to go. There was nothing to do. It was out of my control. The car was speeding up.
I remember saying, maybe yelling, "No no no." And then I felt force.
Here's another way to tell the story: In that instant when I knew I was going to get hit, I remember thinking about my wife, Michelle. And I remember hoping I would see her after the accident. We were just married in March.
I hope I see Michelle after this.
If you didn't follow rule one for this column because it's so cliché, here's a chance to make up for it and tell someone you love them. And if you are really sappy (like my mom), you'll just use this second chance to say it again: I love you.
I don't remember if I said I love you to Michelle before I left for the ride. She doesn't remember either.
When I came to, I was in a crosswalk sort of vaguely aware of people around me. I couldn't really speak, or move. An off-duty nurse taking care of things (I'm grateful to you). Paramedics rushed me to the hospital.
But I thought of Michelle and my parents, and friends and co-workers and all of these people I know and love. And I was happy. I knew I would see them again.
The car was driven by a UA student who was stopped at Drachman and Mountain. He had been waiting at the stop sign trying to get across the road. He saw a break in the traffic. He just didn't see me. The word is he was blinded by the morning sun.
He's 20. He was pretty shaken up about hitting me, but he stayed at the accident. I know college kids don't read papers, but it's important to remind him of that word. Accident. It was just an accident.
I have a concussion and some impressive road rash. I have a pretty sore back and neck. The headaches aren't gone yet.
Judging by the accident report, I flew off my bike and landed on my shoulder and head. My bike helmet cracked - which brings me to rule two.
If you ever ride a bike, you have to promise to always wear your helmet. Yeah, depending on your age group and demographic, bike helmets look totally dumb. Yeah, you're probably only going three or four blocks, or to campus or to the bar. Yeah, you like the wind in your hair. Me, too.
You've read this column. You've told someone you loved them. If you ride, you have to promise to always wear a helmet.
My doctor is certain a helmet saved me from some serious problems. She is certain.
And let's spin it around. Without that helmet, it's a lot harder to say to the driver, it was just an accident.
Everyone is amazed I didn't break anything. You're lucky, people say. I'm lucky, I say. And life goes on.
Hit by a car, and somehow totally lucky. That's either some luck or no luck at all.
I don't want to gloss things over. There were some scary moments there - like when I was laying in a stretcher and couldn't remember what I had been writing earlier that morning. But everything is OK.
When Michelle made it to the hospital, the first thing I told her was I loved her.
It's the last thing I will say to her tonight.
Contact Brodesky 573-4242 or email@example.com