How can I stop burning myself on hot pipes?

See those side pipes? WATCH OUT!

Friends, that headline is not a euphemism.

It seems I have a lifelong inability to keep my fragile gams away from the hot exhaust pipes of cars and motorcycles.

I guess this tells you an awful lot about both my own absentmindedness and my ongoing affinity for guys with hot cars and bikes.

The good news is that apparently, I’m not the only one who does this; it turns out that tailpipe burns are quite common.

For me, it all started back in my early 20s when I started dating the guy who would ultimately become my “practice” marriage.

The future ex rode a motorcycle in those days (part of the attraction, let’s be honest). He took me out for a ride on our first couple of dates. He usually reminded me to “watch the hot pipes” as I was dismounting, but one time he either forgot to remind me or I forgot to listen.

Ouch. That was my first time burning myself on hot pipes, but it certainly wasn’t my last.

It hurt so badly but, because we were in the early stages of our courtship, I didn’t want to tell him. I just bit my lip and tried to ignore the pain. Somehow, I managed to suffer silently through the rest of the date so I didn’t have to let on that I didn’t know my way around a motorcycle with hot pipes.

Fast forward about 30 years and now my beloved car guy hubby has installed super badass (and loud) side pipes on his 1974 Corvette Stingray. The pipes are shiny chrome and make the car look and sound like a true hotrod.

E has had this car as long as I’ve known him; it was a very special gift from his dad, a fellow car guy. The Stingray is an American classic. It’s absolutely beautiful and we have always loved going out cruising together in it on gorgeous sunny days. All that changed, however, once he added those side pipes.

You see, the pipes have a serious downside. Not long after installing them on the Corvette, E realized that after a long drive, they become white-hot and dangerous. He accidentally brushed against them and burned himself on the back of his calf, then told me about it and warned me to always be careful not to touch the pipes on the Corvette.

Wouldn’t you know it, not long afterward, I burned the back of my own calf getting out. It hurt so badly that I refused to ride in the Corvette for the rest of that entire cruising season.

Over time, though, I forgot about the pain and became willing to go out in the car again. Hubby was always super careful to remind me about the pipes. He even got into the gentlemanly habit of coming over to my side and helping me out of the Corvette to make sure I avoided the scalding hot pipes.

That is, until this fall. I’m actually writing this from a very sore and uncomfortable place because I have yet again managed to forget about the incredibly red-hot side pipes on hubby’s Corvette.

On a recent sunny weekend, after a glorious fall cruise for a good cause, I managed to touch my leg against the pipes getting out of the car. I burned all the skin off the back of my left calf.

I wish I was kidding. It’s a particularly nasty burn; I even went to my doctor to have it looked at. So far, we’re just leaving it alone and protecting it with burn care bandages. It’s a hard-to-reach spot, so I have to enlist hubby’s help as a nurse. Each time, he winces and groans as if it’s hurting him, too.

I feel so stupid. How hard is it to avoid hot pipes?! Why have I been making the same painful mistake for literally decades? And why do these hot guys continually insist on taking me out in vehicles with deadly red-hot metal parts to scorch and scar my poor little getaway sticks?!

I’ve heard it said that we are doomed to repeat lessons over and over in life until we learn them and the lesson sticks. Well, I’m really hoping this lesson finally sticks. I am getting too old for this crap! I shouldn’t be hurting for weeks and nursing an awful burn wound acquired in a moment of forgetful carelessness.

Maybe it’s time I stop going out in that Corvette – or any other vehicle that could grievously harm me.

What do you think – am I the problem here? Am I simply too old or forgetful to ride in that Corvette with its red-hot pipes? I’d love to hear your hot car and bike injury stories in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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