From the things that make you go mmmmmm department:
Mishap #1: Trash Cans, Trash Talk
Riding down a sidewalk of a busy four-lane road without bike lanes, I swerve to avoid recycling bins, miscalculate, and Sophie the Fairdale’s very wide handlebars catch them. I go down like a Christian thrown into the gladiator ring trying to save the lion with talk of Jesus. (Translation: Quickly.) But unlike those unlucky folks, I bounced right back up, apparently unharmed.
“Hey, Hey. HEY!!” I yell to the two guys carrying a bunch of soda cans heading to the back of the Athiest Society of Austin. They turn and stop to see what the racket was about. “I want you to consider that leaving out your trash cans is dangerous. I just crashed, but luckily wasn’t hurt, but you should move them,” I say assertively.
One guy, without a shred of that humanist concern atheists are famed for (joking) goes, “I want you to consider that we just got here and if you can’t steer around them….” Disgusted, I left, but not without moving the offending bins off the sidewalk. A Dude is nothing if not a good citizen. One fell over. I left it as a statement of words I wanted to say but didn’t:
“I don’t care what time you got here, they’re dangerous, and you don’t have to be dicks about it.” I admit I was a bit pissed off at myself for falling but moreso that I didn’t have a better come back. I didn’t let them know I’m an agnostic atheist myself, because who wants to be associated with evil assholes posing as holier-than-thou geniuses?
Mishap #2: A Dude Dodges a Careening Car
Not too long after, on the same road, I was walking Sophie the Fairdale with the right of way in a crosswalk. The sidewalk ended and it’s just too fast to bike. I was almost halfway across when a black Mazda turned left and nearly mowed down; I literally had to jump out of the way with the bike. I was wearing a yellow shirt, bright yellow helmet, and Sophie is sea foam green. He was in such a hurry he was blind, apparently.
At the last moment before I made it to the safe zone on the other side of the narrow median, his face passed very close. I had the presence of mind to wave to him – but with just my middle digit extended. I also got his license plate number and reported his shitty, dangerous, nearly vehicular assaulting or homicidal driving ass to the non-emergency police. An alert was to go out; maybe he got stopped and had a few moments of panic. If so, he’ll think twice before he pulls that crap again. (Ooh, that literal image isn’t nice.)
Major Mishegoss Mutates to Miracle
The new bike gang I accidentally started has been waiting for our next event, a potluck gathering. The goal is to get better acquainted and talk about next steps. But the email list that got set up wouldn’t let me on it because, Google. Which has made organizing and follow-up more than a little dicey. And it’s summer, people are distracted or traveling.
So today I found a nerd. Or maybe a geek. No, he’s a nerd because he’s student, not rich enough to be a geek. Certainly not a dweeb or a twerp, those are for the socially awkward and my helper was a smooth operator. Anyway, the nice Bangladeshi gentleman tech guy at the community college computer lab helped me figure it out with a different email address.
Basically, greedy Google made it much harder than it needed to be. We also worked on backing up 4,000+ photos from my phone, and Microsoft and Motorola were also not exactly compliant. It didn’t work since I have so many, but now I know how to do it. First world problems, for sure. But using technology to ultimately maybe save some lives with better bike safety is a major thing to me, from my where I sit on my bike saddle.
We’re back on track, and actually a few people have already replied with their input. I’m very keen on this being a shared, collaborative effort. That’s for two reasons: I don’t want to be the boss of anyone, and don’t have the time either. If it falls apart because everyone expects me to do everything, make all the decisions, etc., just because I founded it, well, that’s not a group, is it? Some people are more comfortable with hierarchy but look how well that works in society (not).
From my view, it’s a volunteer group, from the Latin voluntarius, meaning of one’s free will. We’ll find out who is really interested and wants to improve bike safety, infrastructure, and the culture of biking in our neighborhood. There’s safety and strength in numbers. If the goal is more bikes on butts, we need to work on Visibility, Fun, Safety, Community and Advocacy. Together.
Major Announcement: Corporal Pun-ishment
I have been invited to appear on a podcast a few times, but I always found a reason to decline. This time, though, I didn’t have a ready excuse. So I seem to be roped into it. It’s about puns, which I like, but am not that adept at spitting them out in a moment’s notice like some people are. Hopefully I’ll just be a fly on the wall observer.
But if pressed, maybe I can get into the banter and come up with something. That it will live in perpetuity somewhere on the internet annoys me. So I probably will have a stage name. I can’t be affiliated with these people. But if it’s fun and I don’t suck and they call me Dude, maybe I’ll post the link in a future blog. (This just in: it was postponed a week.)
Another note about creativity: I learned a new neighbor is a piano player and teacher. Long ago, your author used to tinkle. Not the ivories, just tinkle. Everyone pees and poops. Anyway, I used to play an instrument. I talked to the guy about a piece I always wanted to play, and he was interested. I’d have to find the music, start practicing regularly, and find out if I’m even good enough to play it all.
At least two movements are pretty damn hard. But it could be pretty fun and a major thing to tick off my bucket list if it were to work out, even if I just put on a concert for friends. Just the idea of playing again, especially that piece, put a smile on my face. So we shall see, or rather, hear about that. For now, writing the book is the bigger priority (along with getting a job for income. Sophie the Weekender Archer needs some work).
Malaise, Misery and Mystification
So do I, come to think of it. Lately there have been a number of weird things happening to the old bod that I’ve been slowed down, a lot. Without going into the litany of complaints, it’s super annoying to be so limited. Possible causes are low vitamin D (which is really a hormone — odd for Texas until I realize I bike in the evening as I can and use sunscreen during the day. There may be side effects of sinus medicine, something they’re missing, or a combination. Calling doctors about symptoms and test results and what to actually do to feel less crappy merely adds to the exhaustion. And then, I’ll go on a bike ride, and feel better, for a while. It’s complicated.
One thing I do know for sure is that my malady(ies) is (are) not in my head, because lab scores don’t work that way. But my medical masters are mute when it comes to what is really going on, because they aren’t as smart as they think they are. It’s super frustrating. I’m doing what I can to take it easy, which for me is 71.5 miles in four days – which sounds decent until you see it’s 16 rides and averaging 10 miles per hour.
Oh well. I’m still going and will as long as I can. A longer break is well overdue, yet I’m just a slave to my mileage goal master. I’m still watching the Tour de France which provides motivation, education and rest. I guarantee you those guys are suffering and experiencing all kinds of malaise, misery and worse!
There could be a day where I have to stop riding my bicycle. For a short period, a longer period, or forever. Let’s hope only the first one. We all fly over the moon like ET one day. I’ve had several scares where I had to dial things back until I could recover, and I’ve also simply had to take time off the bike. That was often more to not burnout. This time it seems to me like it’s both serious and something that’s temporary, but I don’t know that. I just do what I can until someone convinces me I can’t or shouldn’t continue. That will be a pretty high threshold. And they’ll have to buy me a car.
Well, enough about all that maudlin meandering moping. Happy weekend!
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