Thursday, August 20, 2009

Doomsday Scenarios: The Myrtle Street Tuck'n'bomb Edition

When I was about 24 I woke up to my mortality and all the possible ways I might panic, grieve, and be terrified. I am embarrassed about my bogeymen, and they still move me from time to time, although I like to think I am slowly on my way to brave sailing.

The first bogeyman was peak oil. Then I moved on to nonlinearities in the climate system and James Lovelock's newest vision of the future- polar cities populated by lucky and ruthless survivors. I am also taken in by old-fashioned Malthusian food shortages and subsequent civil chaos.

But since we are in the insurance capital of the world, what does an actuary say? What's most likely to cause me suffering and death?

While you are waiting at the doctor's office you might fill out a questionnaire about your lifestyle and if you've made any recent changes. The one I filled out on my last visit asked me if I wear a helmet when I'm riding my bicycle. It also told me that accidents and injuries are a major cause of death and disability. Most of us know this first- or second-hand, but I guess I need a regular reminder.

I reckon I'm a lot more likely to die riding my bike recklessly down the Myrtle Street Tuck'n'bomb than by hordes of hungry climate refugees. Might be useful to figure out a way to remind myself of this fact more often, maybe some sort of ritual. I'd be safer on my bike and less neurotic about relatively unlikely grim reapers.

Do you, dear reader, cross your heart or say a prayer before you get on your bicycle?


Peter said...

Every time I visit my home state of Oregon it seems like I see or hear about a new Ghost Bike marking the site of some poor Portland cyclist's demise.

I'm all for raising awareness, but honestly, I think it's made me a bit nervous every time I get on the bike.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes I do. One for the small mechanical gods (brake cable, quick release, stem cap, crankarm pinch bolts..) and one for the gods of traffic coincidences.

My regular morning commute passes a fairly new ghost bike, piled with flowers--I have got to find a better route.

Jhon said...
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