Friday, March 25, 2011

Pizza Face

Tony and I were descending a series of rock steps, punctuated by sand pits, up on Poison spider Mesa, and I was having a great time.  We had been in Moab for a couple of days, and this ride was a new one to us.  At least, this particular area of the mesa was a new experience.

I was leading, when it happened.  I dropped the front wheel off of the rock ledge I was descending, and it dug into the sand at the base of the rock.  The bike pitched forward, and I hit the ground face-first.  Of course, I managed to find a rock shallowly buried in the sand.

The pain in my chin was shocking and, once I got on my feet, I could feel liquid running down my neck.

"Am I bleeding?"  I asked Tony, hoping that I was just imagining it.

"Yeah.  It looks pretty bad.  You could probably use some stitches," he replied.

Of course, we were an hour from the car, then another 20 or 30 minutes from the hospital.  Plus, I really didn't want to end the ride.

"Let's see if we can get the bleeding to stop,"  I said.  "If we can, we'll just keep riding."

And so, we put pressure on the gaping cut.  I couldn't bandage it, because of my beard, but we finally got the chin to stop bleeding.  Three hours of riding later, we finally got back to the car, and I was able to see the damage in the mirror.

Besides the half-inch long gap in my chin, I had an abrasion the size of a quarter on my right cheek, a black eye on the same side, and the white of that eye was blood-red from the outside corner of the eye to halfway across the iris.  But, my "best bad luck" had kicked in, once again, and I didn't have any teeth missing or broken.

We went back to the campground, and cleaned up.   Then, we headed into town to have a pizza on the patio at Eddie McStiff's.  It was cooling off nicely, as it usually does during April in Moab, so I had a fleece vest on over my white Specialized Bicycles t-shirt.

When the waitress led us to our table on the patio, she seated us at a table close to the wall of the building.  Tony sat with his back to the rest of the patio, and I was facing the crowd.  We ordered a couple of beers and a pizza, and sat there chatting while the pizza cooked.

As the waitress brought our pie out, I noticed that she gave me an odd look.  I really didn't think  much of it.  I had been cracking wise with her, earlier, so I figured that she was just kidding around.

Then, as we ate, I noticed that the people at the table behind Tony were giving me some distinctly unfriendly looks, and were obviously talking about me, to each other.  I had seen this behavior before, in conservative Utah.  At the time, I had a pretty long pony-tail, and a couple of ear rings in my right ear.  Plus, I tended to wear a half-dozen bracelets, two or three rings and prescription Oeakleys everywhere I went.

"Man," I said to Tony, after I took a sip of beer.  "Those people seem to have some kind of problem with me."

"Maybe it's all the blood," he replied, taking a bite of pizza.

"I'm bleeding, again?"  I asked.

"Yeah...pretty badly.  It's all over your shirt."

"What?"  I said, pulling my shirt away from my neck and seeing that it was, indeed, bright red with blood.  "Why didn't you say something?"

"I thought you knew, " Tony said.  "And, I'm used to it, with you."

I excused myself and went to the bathroom.  What I saw in the mirror explained the looks I was getting.  With the blood-red eye, the shiner and blood dripping out of my beard, I looked like an Ann Rice vampire, just after feeding.

I cleaned up my face and beard, as well as I could, and zipped my vest up to hide the bloody shirt.  Then, I went back to the table and had Tony change places with me, so that other people on the patio could eat without looking at me.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the last time I was to cause a sensation in a restaurant by bleeding all over the place.  More about that, another day.

x

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