Riders Take Time (don’t they?)
I didn’t get a chance to get to know him; we didn’t really talk. Reading about him in this morning’s paper, sounds like he was someone I would have liked. Loved nature, motorcycling, serving the Lord…well, two out of three ain’t bad. When I came upon him that morning, he’d already accomplished what he set out to do: grab some great onboard pics of an early-morning, after-the-rain ride in the desert. His bike was loaded, his helmet was off, and somewhere between that and when I drove by, his number came up.
I did what I like to think any of you would do; called 911, felt for a pulse, started CPR. I watched the dusky, blue-gray fade a little from his face as I pushed the blood though his heart, and wondered how long it would take the medics to arrive. I wondered how long he’d been there. I wondered if he had family. I wondered if I might be ruining a good, peaceful death. And I wondered why other people drove by, looked out their windows at me, and kept driving. That was the worst part.
Minutes before the fire department and the police department and the sheriff’s department invaded our little piece of the high Sonoran desert, another man stopped. He was a neighbor I’d never met before; houses where we live are separated by acres of hills and cactus, huge granite boulders, and junkyard dogs that patrol everyone’s own property. It’s weird. We’re people who love our solitude, but I never thought we were people who want so much to exclude ourselves from others that we wouldn’t do anything to help one another. Stu and I did. We’re both riders. This man could have been struggling with a map or a tire or his boots, and we probably would have stopped to offer help. It’s just the way riders are. Aren’t they? Aren’t you?
I called the hospital later that afternoon. I know what it’s like to be in the ER trying to save someone’s life. You don’t have time to answer questions from well-meaning passersby. Sometimes, you don’t even have time to answer questions from family members. I wanted to give them time. Time to do more than I could do. Time ran out. They told me the police were still attempting to notify his family.
Time is precious. Had I left on time, maybe I would have seen him in time. Maybe if people weren’t in such a hurry, we’d all take time to help each other. I don’t know where everyone else was going that morning; to punch a time-clock that wouldn’t wait, keep an appointment that would keep…whatever. It’s interesting to me that it was a couple of riders like me and Stu, people who are so into the feeling of being in motion, going fast…we were the ones who slowed down and stopped. It’s what riders do. Isn’t it?
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