21 May, 2007


Asphalt is the ubiquitous urban surface. It is made up of residues from the distillation processes of several crude oils and must be transported in a heated state before pouring. According to the EPA and NAPA (National Asphalt Paving Association) asphalt is the most-recycled commodity in the US by tonnage and percentage. Re-using broken and removed asphalt is standard industry procedure. Nearly 80% of asphalt that is removed for resurfacing and widening projects is reused (reclaimed).

2 days ago, I had a very personal encounter with asphalt. The introductions were facilitated by my sister's mountain bike, a speed bump and a concurrent pothole. The asphalt, always the gentle host, insisted that I improve my image with a memento of our meeting. We deliberated and with my two arbitrating friends Gravity and Friction we decided upon 8 stitches to the bottom of my chin. I voluntarily decided to leave patches of skin from both elbows and knees with the pavement in a show of good faith. I am of the opinion that the bicycle didn't need to go so far out of its way to introduce us in that afterwards it ended up in a rather socially convoluted position.

Asphalt covers much of the urban landscape, capping the soil and keeping plants at bay. Nevertheless, stubborn greenery manages to work its way through small cracks and weak points. Perhaps, un-reclaimed, in fifty years my fall might have been more pleasant. As it stands, I am grateful that the pavement wasn't more broken because of the higher percentage of gravel that would have been scrubbed from my poor palms.

The ER was buzzing on a Saturday Night with a local shooting. I managed to finagle my speedy way out of the waiting area by conveniently bleeding on the floor. After hearing a number of other ER experiences, I find the best way to minimize your wait is to bleed, complain of great pain, breathe quickly and constantly find a need to sit down. Overall, I felt very thankful for my father's insurance and the general state of health care in my city. However, the city could make things easier for itself if it decided to stop paving roads. Less asphalt would mean fewer injuries for bikers.


Mikkele said...

i like this story, even though i don't like that it happened.

unofrednecky said...

I think Asphalt, Gravity, and Friction are in cahoots...trying to take over the world. The bike was merely a victim to a more dangerous and evil plot. My dear brother...I am amazed you escaped their clutches with only 8 stitches. Indeed a work of God.

Anonymous said...

PS. Mom misses you.