Frederic Chopin’s Classical Music: The Soundtrack to My Bike Ride

Before you read this, if you can, put on your favorite streaming service, CD or album (or imagine) something by Frédéric Chopin. Something like Nocturne No.2 In E Flat, Op. 9 No. 2 performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy from Chopin: Favourite Piano Works. Because that’s what I’m listening to as I write this, and the music seems perfectly suited to my ride and state of mind. Given that it was a grey Friday evening in Austin, Texas after some light rain had fallen, and the pandemic stay at home order, traffic was extremely light.

The surreal experience of biking down Austin’s main street, Congress Avenue, with hardly any traffic put me in a reflective mood. Cue Chopin, that master of the melancholy from France by way of Poland. His quieter works may not get your RPM up very high, but they put your mind in a calm and meditative place. And that’s not a bad head space to be in these days, biking or otherwise.

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Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down: Onward Through the Fog

Austin awoke to a soggy, gray blanket of fog that only horror writers and car insurance agents love. I awoke with fog as well, but in my brain. Just as well that I have no job to be up for at the butt crack of dawn. There was also a ray of light: a note on my blog from a Seattle author I mentioned the other day, Paulette Perhach. An authot writing to A Dude is big deal, y’all! Later in the day, I got connected with another Seattle writer, Carol Tice, a ghostwriter who does coaching. Eventually, I got my cobweb-addled brain and body out for my walk and a bike ride… into the rain and mist I went.

Downtown on an errand, I ducked into a Starbucks (a tiny coffee company based in Seattle you may have heard about) for a tinkle and to use their free wi-fi. I used to live in Seattle. After a few years of suffering through miserable winter days like today, escaping often to the YMCA for what I dubbed a “shake n’ bake” — sauna, steam room, hot tub — I was chased out of town by the constant state of darkness and moisture. The Starbucks gestapo was also to blame since they rightly claimed I didn’t buy any coffee. All that’s to say that rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except you can’t keep a good dude down for long.

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