The unthinkable has happened: I’ve misplaced my bike helmet. Now, I know there’s controversy about whether or not bike helmets really help, and I also know that in some of the most common accidents, a bike helmet will do little to keep me safe, but I also know that I feel naked without one. I am somewhat skeptical of the helmet’s ability to keep my egg uncracked in the case of a serious crash, but I also know that I always wear one, I don’t think they make things worse, and if, god forbid, I should ever be seriously hurt or killed when riding a bike, the last think I want E. to have to do is shake her head when asked the inevitable question, “Was she wearing a helmet?” I keep myself safe by riding defensively, using my ears and eyes, and assuming cars will pull through the crosswalks, make left turns without seeing me, and try to pass too closely, but I also wear a helmet. But today I didn’t have my helmet, and I needed to get the two quick miles down the hill to meet O. and R. for dinner and scheming. So I kept my new friend A.’s blah attitude toward helmets in my mind and rode extra-defensively and got there just in time. We ordered our food and got down to business–well, to a healthy discussion of our bicycles and our cats, anyway. They each told me scary stories of crashes that broke helmets and helmets that broke crashes, and I found myself promising to walk my bike home and to get a new helmet first thing in the morning. But first we had a most delightful evening, mostly discovering that our hunches that we’d get along and have good ideas together were good hunches, and then we walked R. over to the site of her next installation. I snapped this picture on my walk, of a tree growing out of the seam on this building on Tyson, a street that’s mostly an alley, and one I wouldn’t head down on a bike, probably. We stood in that driveway for another hour exchanging stories, and then I did as promised and walked my bike home, seeing all the things you don’t see on a bike because of the relative speed. There were many things, but my favorite was that sweet tiny little puppy galloping along, and getting to watch a good three blocks of people get to see that puppy. We all needed that tonight. I got home 45 minutes later than I would have riding, but it was a most lovely walk. And second thing tomorrow, I’m getting a new helmet.