At a certain point we both realized we were going too fast to jump off without consequence. Tommy was 10 yards in front of me and moving away quickly. A woman hallooed us from her yard as we thundered past. I waved with the nonchalance of a deckhand on the Edmund Fitzgerald. Why involve a stranger in the looming disaster? I aimed for a strip of grass between road and ditch and shifted my weight back on the board. I slowed for a moment and then the wheels dug into the turf and I was running. I was running with arms windmilling and feet slapping in front of me like a little fat kid chased by bullies. I ran for my life. Inertia kept my head pointed firmly down so all I could see was grass for about 30 yards and all I heard was my ragged breathing and a significant popping sound from my back/ ribular area.
The woman was still in her yard. She was yelling something.
“YOUR FRIEND FELL DOWN!”
Sure enough there was Tommy at the bottom of the hill, still rolling on the asphalt head over heels.
“I’m sure he’s fine!” I yelled back. The last thing Tommy would want is to cause a neighborhood scene. These hippies would come running with aloe root, Arnica tinctures, and a poultice of chewed rutabaga leaves. We couldn’t have that.
I was too exhausted from my own miraculous landing on the Hudson to expend the energy to walk down the hill to check on him. I thought I would give him a moment.
He got up and started walking up the hill. “Thank God I don’t have to go down there to get him,” I thought. As he got closer I walked a few feet in his direction, to imply I was just about to go and help him, and asked if he was OK.
He checked over a smattering of abrasions and pulled muscles, but decided he was more or less fine. We cautiously skated back to the house. As he was loading into the truck to go home he said, “I feel so lucky to not be going to the hospital right now.”
Old dogs, new tricks.