All that wander are not lost, a and all that lean are not off balance -Charlie Bravo
Dad here; I seem to have an addiction to all things two wheeled and four legged. When I found Charlie and was able to fit the two pieces of that puzzle together, it was if an itch was being scratched that I didn’t even previously know existed.
But that being said, sometimes I just have to go solo on the bicycle; body silent, legs and mind in motion. Today was one of those days, a perfect Arkansas afternoon on the River Trail.
In reality, I’m not particularly fast, though in my mind I’m still capable of being competitive in the Tour de Mitty. Such thinking usually gets me in trouble, with my brain writing checks that my brawn can’t cash. This happened not too long ago, when I happened across a children’s playground. tunnel on The Trail; I somehow convinced myself that, with enough speed, I could thread the concrete needle. This was NOT one of my wiser decisions, as I’m short but obviously not short enough. The ceiling of the tunnel snatched at the top of my helmet just enough to snap my head back, and causing me to lose control of the bike..
At speed. In a concrete tunnel. This sent me pinballing from wall to wall, my head and shoulders knees and toes(KNEES AND TOES!) striking sparks from the sandpaper-like cyclinder. Whiplash, vertical road rash, and multiple confusions later, I limped back to the car thoroughly humbled.
But sometimes things work out perfectly, and Today was one of those days. There was a strong crosswind coming off of the river this afternoon, and I saw a plastic bag being blown at the perfect speed and trajectory to intercept my bike. I could just imagine the bag getting locked up in my chainring and hurling me over the bars like a trebuchet, but as quick as that visual hit me, another one followed: what if I could lean far enough off of the bike to snatch it off of the ground? I had read of Comanche warriors leaning far enough out of the saddle to pick up a wounded comrade; surely I could manage a sassy Wal Marks bag.
At the last possible micro second, I realized the folly of my thinking and remained upright.
And It. Was. Absolute. AWESOMENESS.
I instead flicked my foot out of my pedal and in one fluid if stumpy motion, scooped up the bag with the toe of my riding shoe and transferred it to my left hand. And the beauty of the situation? There was someone there to see it, two someone’s, to be accurate, and the sound of their cheers was the sweetest tune imaginable.
It was my finest hour; so fine, in fact that I just had to bring the bag home as a trophy of my victory over death by plastic. I may even have it bronzed, or at least matted, mounted and framed, and prominently displayed for all to admire and envy.
I started composing this story in my head as I headed back to the car, when I thought it appropriate to go back by the scene of my previous humiliation. I reckoned another view of the concrete tunnel would put things in perspective, the yin balancing the yang.
All things work together for the good, as at the tunnel I met a couple training their dogs. We got to talking (imagine that!), and I learned that one of them was currently going through the final stages of chemotherapy and would shortly be adding a colostomy to the list of indignities to be endured. As many know, I once had a very up close and personal relationship with my very own colostomy bag as a result of the motorcycle incident that led to me finding Charlie. I named my little friend Rollie the Remora, as he stuck to my gut like I was providing him dinner. I viewed it as a very one-sided relationship, with me doing all the giving and the insatiable plastic mooch doing all the taking.
If the couple that I met today is now reading this, I have one thing to say: nothing is as bad as worrying about it. You will come through this with shining colors, and I promise you that one day you will look back on this and laugh. You have to, as there is no viable alternative. Not to say that there is not a time and a season for bitching and moaning, but that too shall pass.
Get it? “Pass”? No pun intended, but you have to admit that it did kind of fit. As a matter of fact, I may have to go back into the archives and re-publish “The Infamous Poop Story” that has caused many to skip a meal or two; you can thank me later.
We be of one blood, ye and I.