Oakland Andrew Discussions Continued: Injury Report

Jun 04 2012

I’m just going to keep posting this ongoing email conversation me and Andrew have been having.

Stop reading now for the squeamish-this entry contains some blood and guts.

It seems a real good time for the public to read this stuff-with the first bike messenger motion picture since Quicksilver being released this summer.

T: Its scary when the bus moves forward and the gap shrinks. I got caught like that here on Broad and Walnut.

A: I got caught between two moving buses at 3rd and Market, 3rd does a wiggle before it hits Market, I had my hands in the middle bytthe stem and the buses pinched my bars and bent them in and dragged the front wheel for a few skips, I though it was curtains for me for sure, and then the buses straightened out and went on their way. That was one of the scariest things, I went through a windshield of a car that ran a red light once but that actually wasn’t that scary because it happened so fast. Time stopped as soon as my bars made contact with those two buses though.

T: That all sounds shitty. haha. You had a Union and stuff right? not us, we didn’t have shit. The good company Time Cycle I was on had workman’s comp luckily, but it was hard as fuck to get.

I broke my back! I got sideswiped and fell straight down sitting from the height of my saddle. Fractured a vertabrae and herniated the discs on either side.
I thought I was ok then my toes went numb, and I rode to the hospital and MRI’s CatScanss and backpain forever.

(Boney acted like I was trying to work him for workman’s comp. I think I got 500 dolars in the end. If you add up all the rehab, chiropractor’s, uninsured doctor visits and legitimate and ilegitimate painkillers I’ve had to buy over the last 13 years that probably paid for 5% of it. )

My other super bad one involved a car service driving full speed reverse into me because he missed his turn. Knee knocked out my leg and the hoodrats on the corner stole my wallet. I was working as a “special” messenger with “special” deliviries in my bag and got scared about the cops. Rode 5 miles home with tearing eyes. I did the delivery after though-the custie didn’t even acknowledge that I told her I just got hit by a car.

To add some other hardship to the story, I had Community Service the next morning for trumped up graffiti charges. It was suppossed to be 1 day. I skipped and got a doctor’s note.

When I was in front of the judge the next time I gave him the doctor’s note and he said “What’s wrong you got a boo-boo?” and gave me another 2 days of CS on top of the original day.

It was the Judge’s first day on the bench and I supposse he wanted to make an example of me, I told the CS scheduler dude and he was like “Really, i gotta remember about him.”

(CS was a joke anyway, they let us go at 11 everyday.)

My left shoulder was pushed forward for about 4 years. I think the roadbike fixed it.

BIke messengers are funny because you’re the bottom of the barrel and the top of the heap at the same time.

A: Only the shitty low paying companies went union here, like Aero and Speedway.

There used to be easily over a hundred messengers here and there were three packed messenger bars every night of the week.
Now, when I go downtown, it looks like there are twelve messengers left.

I was splitting lanes once and the loop of my bag strap got caught on the hook of a water bottle delivery truck and it pulled me into the truck. I smacked my head on one of the hooks and it tore a 2 inch gash from my temple to my ear. I was squirting blood on people at the bus stop where it happened. I went to the ER in the Tender Loin and I was really fucked up and lost a lot of blood and I wanted a drink so I walked out of the hospital in the gown they made me wear and with my head wrapped up in gauze, no shoes. The TL really is like an open air mental hospital, no one gave me a second look, not even the guy at the liquor store.

Have you seen the “Cheese Graters” SF has for the subway? They are nasty and cause a lot of fatalities, my friends GF got caught in the tracks, went down on them, and was run over by a UPS truck. she was torn up bad and died at the scene. Later that day I was really upset and a car ran a light in rush hour traffic just to get stuck in more traffic and I kicked it’s passenger door so hard my toe came out of my Sidi’s.

Yeh, messengers are weird, paying taxes but still fighting homeless people. Back then whenever someone showed up to work rocking a different bike and a new hair color you could safely assume that they beat someone down with their lock the day before.

The first messenger company in SF that I worked at was called Quicksilver and they did a daily tag every day at 3 from the free clinic to the city health department and it was a bag of AIDS blood samples. The newest guy always had to do it.

At Silver Bullet we had another weird daily run that was to pick up a bag of Goldfish from a pet store and then take them to a mansion in Pac Heights, The rumor was that they were for rich persons pet snake but no one really knew.

Did you guys have cash tags? I remember being so broke and having to plead with my co workers and dispatcher to get a cash tag if one was called in, they were like advances because you would keep the cash that was paid on delivery. They were for customers that didn’t have an acct. to bill to

To Be Continued.