Friday, February 8, 2008

Todd's Motorcycle Accident

Hello, this is AJ. Welcome to the effortless English podcast. Now, today is going to be a spontaneous podcast, another spontaneous podcast. That means I will talk not read at all. I will just be talking and talking then I’ll send this to a company and they will transcribe it so you can read the text, but I think this is a more natural way for you to practice English. You can listen to my podcast and read my blog and hear a lot more kind of spontaneous English, which of course is exactly the kind of English we use in normal conversations.

In normal conversations we don’t write down what we are going to say first and then read it. We just talk. We all do this in our native languages. And the thing is that this spontaneous speech, spontaneous language is quite different than the language we find in text books. It’s the same in Spanish. I struggle with Spanish because most of the Spanish I find unfortunately is not spontaneous; it’s not really actual conversational Spanish. Most of the Spanish I can find is either from books, audio books for example, or audio articles, so someone has written an article first, then they’re reading it. So I do get to hear the Spanish and certainly it helps me, but it’s not really a natural conversational style of Spanish. So when I go to Mexico or Honduras or Guatemala, I am overwhelmed and I can’t really quite understand what people are saying.

Another problem I have is maybe it’s just me, maybe just my personal problem, but I get bored with the more formal kinds of Spanish, these articles I’ve listened to, for example, from a magazine. And in the beginning, this audio magazine, I liked it. It was interesting enough, it was okay, but I’ve gotten bored with it. I’m kind of sick of it. I want something new and different. I’d like something a little more funny, something more like our mini stories in fact. But so far I can’t find any recorded mini stories in Spanish. They’re hard to find. Maybe they don’t exist. As far as I know, they don’t exist, and that’s unfortunate because I would like to use the effortless system with Spanish. But oh well.

So, my... best thing I can do then is just try to help you all, my students. I’ll try to help you at least learn spontaneous, real, fluent, conversational English both with my lessons, mini story lessons especially, and also with this podcast and the blog text. So today, what am I going to talk about? Today I want to talk about motorcycles, in fact I want to talk about a scary experience I had yesterday, a pretty terrible experience. Just this week, the beginning of this week, my friend and I, Todd is my friend's name, we bought motorcycles. I’ve been wanting a motorcycle for a long time. When I lived in Thailand in Bangkok I actually had a motorcycle and I drove around Bangkok. I learned to ride the motorcycle in Bangkok, which is kind of a crazy place to learn because Bangkok has just horrible traffic and anyone who’s been to Bangkok knows what I’m talking about. Well anyway, I moved here to San Francisco. I just walk. I don’t have a car here. I just walk everywhere, but I decided I’d like to get a motorcycle again. I really enjoyed it when I was in Thailand, and it would be helpful and useful here in the city. I don’t want a car. It’s too hard to park the car and too expensive.

So anyway, I finally decided to get a Suzuki SV650 which is a kind of a middle sized motorcycle in the United States. Well my friend Todd, he drove me to go get a motorcycle, he went with me, and he decided to also get a motorcycle, in fact he also got a Suzuki SV650. Now, the problem is Todd and I are quite different in personality. When he bought a motorcycle, actually, I was a little worried because Todd’s personality and his driving style are not so safe, in fact we kind of joke, his friends, my friends, all of us, we kind of joke about Todd’s driving. When he drives his car he’s always stopping suddenly and sometimes he misses a red light and he’ll be not paying attention. He doesn’t see things. So he’s kind of a dangerous driver to be honest. When you’re in a car, that’s not good, but you are protected in a car. But on a motorcycle it’s very, very dangerous because you have no protection at all. Motorcycles are dangerous for everybody. They make me nervous. I’m a little nervous every time I ride on my motorcycle.

But anyway, yesterday, this is the story, the sort of scary bad story. Yesterday Todd and I were going to go for a ride on our motorcycles. It was a sunny day, finally. In San Francisco we’ve had a lot of terrible rain lately and today again rainy and cloudy. So I’ve been kind of depressed. It’s horrible. I hate it. So anyway we finally had a nice sunny day yesterday. I drove out on my motorcycle, rode out to Todd’s house and he lives in the Sunset which is kind of the western section of San Francisco kind of near the ocean. And I went there and we got ready to get on our motorcycles and I got on my motorcycle, had my helmet on, was getting ready to start my motorcycle, and Todd was on his. Well suddenly I hear this vroom. I heard this loud sound and I look over and Todd is on the ground lying down and his motorcycle is down. This is just in the driveway, so we’re not even on the street yet. Todd jumped up very quickly and it looked like he was okay. He was kind of hopping on one leg, he hurt one leg a little, but he hopped on his one leg and he ran upstairs in to his house.

Now another friend of mine named Wat, Thai by the way, he was there and Wat and I lifted his motorcycle, Todd’s motorcycle and got it back up again and I thought “Okay, everything is fine.” His motorcycle was damaged a little bit but I thought “No problem.” Well suddenly I hear Todd yelling “AJ! AJ!” So I run up in to his house. It was terrible. I look and he shows me his leg and the back of his leg, the back of his right leg on his calf, the calf muscle which is the lower leg, there is a huge deep cut, not even a cut really, we would say a gash. A gash is like a really big cut. So it’s like it was cut and then pulled apart. I could see a piece of his muscle hanging out and there was blood everywhere. It was horrible. It looked terrible. So my eyes became really big and I went “Oh my God.” So we had to run. I had to kind of help carry him, got him in to his car and drove very fast to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, and he was in a lot of pain, very, very painful. It was really terrible, deep and wide open really terrible cut. I don’t even want to say cut. It was a big wound, a large wound as big as my hand. That’s how big it was. So it was maybe six or seven inches long, and it was open maybe three inches, four inches open, and like I said it cut deep all the way in to the muscle.

So anyway we got to the ER and they took him in immediately, but he had to wait a long time. The nurse looked at it first and he had to wait a long time and then finally they gave him some pain medication, they gave him some morphine and he started to calm down and feel a little better. Slowly one person would come in, a nurse would come in and look at it, then the doctor finally came and eventually they gave him more pain medication. They also gave him shots; they gave him little shots around the wound in order to numb it. They had to numb his leg. After they numbed his leg so he couldn’t feel his leg at all, a woman came in and had to wash out the wound with water, saline. Then finally the doctor, actually a doctor and a student came in and they sewed up the wound, they stitched it up. All of this took, man, like six hours.

This is once again another example of the terrible healthcare in the United States. It took six hours for this. It’s ridiculous. I have worked in an emergency room actually and in the past I was a social worker in an emergency room. They’re all similar. You have to wait a long time. The other problem, this is going to cost Todd a lot of money, which is terrible to have to think about money and have to worry about money when you’re hurt like this. I’m guessing, I don’t know exactly, but I’m guessing it will cost him $8,000.00, yesterday’s trip to the emergency room, which is absolutely horrible. If you want to learn more about the horrible American healthcare system, rent Michael Moore’s movie, Sicko. Watch Sicko, Michael Moore’s movie. It’s a pretty funny example of our terrible healthcare system. So anyway after about six hours finally they sewed up his leg and then, now he has this boot, this big boot thing he has to wear over his lower right leg and he can’t walk on it at all. So he has to use crutches when he walks. So we got him home last night.

I talked to him today. He’s doing okay. He’s taking pain medication of course and he’s also taking antibiotics. The doctor said his skin will probably heal in a couple weeks. He’ll have a scar of course, but the muscle, the deeper wound, probably won’t heal until two months, probably two months until he can walk normally again. So yesterday was a pretty stressful, difficult day for me, especially Todd. For me too. Coming home then last night from Todd’s house, I was really nervous on my motorcycle because Todd’s crash was not so terrible. Really, he was going very slowly. It was in his driveway so he just started his motorcycle and he lost control. He put on the gas and it zoomed suddenly and he lost control and hit a parked car. So it hit his leg against the car, that’s why it cut his leg open. Then he fell down. It happened very quickly and the speed was not fast, and still he got a very big injury.

It made me really nervous thinking how dangerous motorcycles can be and how terrible an injury can be if you were going faster, or if you were hit by a car. In the emergency room one of the nurses told us a story about a woman who had been in a motorcycle accident. She was just driving her motorcycle and somebody opened a car door suddenly. The car was parked on the side of the road and they suddenly opened the door and the door hit her knee and just tore open her knee and, ugh. Anyway, another scary motorcycle story. So now I’m quite nervous about riding my motorcycle, so I’m ordering more protective clothing and equipment. I already have a very good helmet and I have a pretty good jacket. The jacket is very nice and a tough jacket. It’s a motorcycle jacket and it had pads in the elbows and the shoulders and the back. So if you fall down it protects you.

But now I need to get some protection for my lower body so I’m going to order some motorcycle pants that also have pads in the hip, on the knee, the shin. I also have already, I just bought, it just arrived today, these Kevlar pant liners. Pant liners mean it’s kind of like long underwear. You wear them underneath your jeans for example. And Kevlar is bullet-proof material. It’s this very strong material. Supposedly if you fall down on the motorcycle and you slide normally your skin will be torn off, but supposedly these Kevlar pant liners will protect your skin.

So anyway, that’s my kind of scary story for today for the podcast. Spontaneous English about kind of a bad event that happened yesterday. I’ll let you know more about my motorcycle and hopefully I will be riding safely for a long time and will not need all this protective equipment. But anyway, I’m going to get it regardless if I need it or not. I’m going to get it because I’m quite nervous now. Alright, that’s it for today’s podcast. I’ve got a little bit of medical vocabulary in there. Just like with my lessons when you get these podcasts, listen to the podcast several times if you want to learn it deeply and of course you can use my blog to read the text and use a dictionary if you don’t know some of the words. Alright. I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

Listen To This Article at:
The Effortless English Podcast.


Sri Agustiani Monoarfa said...

That's a horrible accident AJ, i think most asians are not really good drivers ( maybe because we're not diciplined about the traffic light rules :) ).

Thank you for the new podcast, anyway. This is even very interesting ;).

Sri Agustiani Monoarfa said...

This is a comment from me to some people who ambigous with the Effortless English Club. Recently i get more than 4 emails asking me about the Effortless English, one of the questioners are from my counrty.

I'm member of the Efforless English club, and i joined the club just 3 weeks ago. When i say that Efforless English is very good of teaching English, THAT IS TRUE! There is not a manipulation about the teaching and especially buying the lessons :). So, don't hesitate to join the club :)!

Oopss one more thing,

Just send AJ an email anyway if you're not sure about the Effortless English ;).

One of new member of Effortless English send me an email lately and says:

"As u know I just finished my registration by using a credit card, then i checked my email to know that i got the lessons and i found out it that i got it :) but i have not listening the lesson completely yet, I just reviewed the lesson and i don't think what i have done just wasting my money, instead i paid 4 my future.

....and i trust u, btw can u imagine that how long i have to find a better way how to learning english, since 2005 untill this time, i get it. hopefully i will get succes by this methode".


Good Luck at learning English for 2008 guys!

Tumku said...

Hi I like it.

AJ Hoge said...

Sri-- thanks for answering emails-- Wow, I really appreciate it.

I guess that the internet still worries some people. They are afraid they will be cheated. That's why I offer the guarantee- but some people are still worried.

I think it helps a lot when members like you (and Pin, Rute, Ha,...) tell people about Effortless English. Then they can trust us more.

That's important, because I really want to help people improve their English. So thank you for helping people try the lessons :)

Re: Motorcycles-- I'm definitely aware of the dangers. I always wear protective equipment when I ride and I try to be extra careful. Of course, there is always a risk, but I promise that I'm being careful :)

Good luck-- and thanks again to Sri and all our fabulous English learners!

Forex said...

Hi AJ,

It's getting on my nerves. I tried to friend with native speaker, so that i have the chances to speak more. I posted on the expat forum seeking for friends in my country, but no one is willing to friend me. I have stated that i am asian and not caucasian, that's why i have no response. However people do reply if they are American, british, canadian. etc

So is it true that caucasian only stick to their own kind, and they are not wiiling to friend asian?

AJ Hoge said...

Forex, I don't know why you are having trouble on forums-- which forums are you on? If you are specifically posting on an expat forum in your country, that could be the problem (ie. its a forum for expats to meet and talk with other expats, so they may be focused on that only).

You might need to find other ways of meeting foreigners in your country.

Another possible problem-- foreigners may worry about being used as free English tutors. I recommend focusing on shared interests, hobbies, and activities and don't mention practicing English at all.

I remember when I lived in Korea that many people wanted to be my "friend", but really they didn't care about me- only about practicing English with me. So I became very careful about making friends after that. If I thought someone was only interested in English practice, I wouldn't be their friend (I was already teaching 40 hours a week and didn't want another unpaid job :)

Finally, it takes time. I live in SF, surrounded by Americans (of course), and it has taken me 2 years to create several new friendships.

Don't give up, but do be patient and try to find people who share your interests.

Take care and good luck!

Forex said...

Hi AJ,

Thank you for your advice. You have enlightened me.

Jonathan said...

Hi AJ... I just started to hear your podcast and read your blog and it is amazin the way I can understand everything you say.

Actually is really important to me because I am planning to go and study in canada and as you said on the Record "the key" I need fluency.

I learned to write and read by my own, but I was worried because certain people talk to fast and I cant understand.

But all the records I heard of you I did understand every single word so I want to thank you for your podcast it is very helpful.

In the past weeks I have lost my wallet and my credit card into, and by now I think you deserve to be paid, because when I am hearing your podcast I feel a relief about my skills.

I'd want to hear each lesson of you, once the new credit card arrives I will joint your english club with no doubt.

About the story, just take care with your motorcycle, I think is really dangerous too..


s said...

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