Tuesday, October 07, 2008

when not to bike

The decisions you make at daybreak come back to haunt you by sunset. Call it a Polish proverb. Though I think in true Polish speak, it would be something like: drink vodka before the cows are out to pasture and you’ll lose your herd by sunset. I’m not stereotyping. Many Polish proverbs have agrarian roots and involve references to drinking and/or dancing.

As a good Madisonian who would rather not drive if she can help it, I took the bike to work this morning. Yeah, yeah, drizzle on the horizon. Drizzle will come and go. And I miss the lakeshore path. Something to do with the ducks, I suppose (or, are they not ducks?).

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In the course of the day, the drizzle gets worse. By evening, it rains.

It’s a long way home in the rain. I’m despondent. It’s easy to let the stork fly south when the winds are favorable (another Polish proverb that I just made up).

My students say – put that bike on the bus bike rack and leave the driving to others. I watch a film clip on how it’s done (thank you, students). I set out.

I wait at the bus stop, wet and tired, along with others who are wet and tired.

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Purchase photo 2082

The maneuver is successful: bus comes, I pull down its bus rack, place the bike on it and clip it in place.

I am so pleased with my accomplishment. And like so many who feel the tickle of success, I let it go to my head. I get off at the Whole Foods store. I need some greens for supper. And bread. And a bottle of rosé to help me through tonight’s debate. I stuff my purchases into my backpack. Oh dear, it’s really raining. I whip out my umbrella and climb on the bike. Clumsily. At least I have the sense to stay on the sidewalk.

At the intersection I pause. And then, suddenly, it’s not so easy to get back on the bike. I don’t know why. I’m tired. My coat is in the way. My umbrella is crazily obstructing my view. I wobble and I fall. Onto the green strip by the sidewalk. Pure mud.

Sigh… I make it home alright. Wet and muddy and bruised, knowing that it’s all my fault. Because I let the cows graze with vodka on my mind. Or something.