Being Thanksgiving week and following in the fine footsteps of Julia’s “Things I’m Thankful For In Los Angeles” post, I thought I’d pipe in not with a big-picture list of items I appreciate, but instead with the small patch of Hancock Parkian real estate for which I’m most definitively and recently grateful, namely this pictured patch of curbside grass on the south side of Beverly Boulevard just east of Highland that I slid across following a fall off my bike coming home from work Friday night.
As you can see the roadway isn’t in the best condition for bicycling and sure enough coming through it around 15 mph I got squeezed in by a white sedan whose driver didn’t see fit to follow the rules of the road and the front tire got slotted into a tight gaptrap between the gutter’s edge and the deteriorated asphalt immediately bringing about that sickening loss of stability and balance that left me just enough time to instinctively bail to the right away from the traffic jamming rapidly past me on my left.
Certainly I had no time to say “Oh thank my lucky stars: grass!” before commencing a flailing version of a Pete Rose-style slide onto it. My chosen safety zone could’ve been occupied by a utility pole, a light standard, a cactus garden, the trunk of a ficus tree, all of the above, or it could’ve been a slab of concrete strewn with broken glass and hypodermic needles. It didn’t matter what obstacles might have been there because all I knew was that I stood a better chance of ending up not run over if I got as far away from the vehicles as possible.
So head-first and chest-down I dove airborn until I landed hard and though my distance skidded was short, it felt like I’d mowed 20 feet of the stuff with my nose, chin, chest, netherables and knees. In the course of the ground I covered my helmet’s visor and rear-view mirror popped off and though I came to a full stop my multi-tool’s momentum shot it out of my backpack pocket where it scouted on on a few feet up ahead of me before it too came to rest.
It took me a few pronated seconds of spitting grass out of my mouth while running a systems check that showed me everything was still online, unbreached, unbroken and fully functioning. Only after that did I hop to my feet, extract my bike from where it lay in the lane and rejoice to discover it too emerged with minimal scathing. In a couple more minutes I was back on my way.
So this season I’m giving my most heartfelt appreciation to the well-watered and maintained multitude of blades that make up that stretch of streetside sod. Gracias: Patch Of Grass That Saved My Ass.