Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watch your head! Attenzione alla testa!
We faced down the ugly topic of bike helmets this week. NO ONE WEARS THEM HERE.  It is largely a walking city, but streets are made of jagged cobblestones and there are still cars and motorcycles and scooters around with very narrow little sidewalks, if any.  Also people here have obviously not watched Oprah so they talk on their cell phones while they are driving, smoking, and tanning themselves into boot leather.

See T is a lawyer at heart and she almost got me with the argument that she is getting nasty comments and some ANNOYING and unwanted negative attention for wearing a helmet.  "What are you so worried about hitting your head for?" "If you don't like to ride, can I take your bike from you?" Cue the medieval cackling. And so that takes some of the joy out of riding for her. Other families who do think it is smart to wear a helmet, not to mention that it actually is a law here, albeit unenforced,  have caved under the social pressure. I wondered: Am I just being overly protective or NY neurotic or unreasonable?

But then F told me about this video on youtube where a kid has a terrible bike accident where there is no car involved at all.  It is so graphic that he couldn't even show it to T as a means of  explanation. Also he pointed out that he always wears a helmet because he doesn't want to become a vegetable just because on the way home from the supermarket somebody pulls into the wrong lane unexpectedly. Also Jim told me about somebody who flew over their handlebars and got up from the ground unhurt but with their helmet broken clean in half.

So even though I was considering just letting the poor kid ride through the town with the wind blowing in her hair, I just love her head too much to think about the possibility of it getting busted open just because I am worried about what some fun loving, but in the final analysis foolish people think.  I realize that the Lucchese way is very fatalistic and the thinking is whatever is going to happen is going to happen no matter what and that's life --so even tiny babies and toddlers ride on their parents laps without any helmets at all.  Some kids ride standing on their friends bike seats.  But F and T are my whole life and so I can't be lassez faire about them watching their heads. So that, my friends, is why T parks two blocks from school. But tomorrow she is going to wear her Heelys (sneakers with wheels in the heels which she glides around on expertly) and shut a few fat mouths right up.

1 comment:

Allie said...

I have come to adore her little head too! So glad you guys are wearing helmets! xx