Any way you slice it, it comes up sugar

April 9, 2016 § 22 Comments

I’m allergic to joyfulness and have been for years. It’s one reason I love cycling. You can have a good time on the bike, but it’s always in the context of some larger unpleasantness. Sometimes the misery is contact with the pavement, sometimes it’s contact with other people.

Hey, life’s a bitch. You’re born, you get old, you die, and you’re forgotten.

So when it comes to pure, unadulterated joy, I’m not your guy, which is why having a grandson has been so difficult. No matter how I try to find the negative, it comes up sugar.

No matter how grimly I try to fit this experience into the framework of cosmic irrelevance, hope and joy bubble to the surface. It’s like going to a bike race where you actually win, and where everyone is happy for you, even your teammates who did everything they could to chase you down at San Dimas. In other words, it’s not like a bike race at all.

Having had three kids, I wonder what’s changed? How did I not notice any of this before? Where the fuck was I?

Answers:

  1. You are older. A lot.
  2. You were even more clueless then than now (incredible, but true).
  3. Riding my bike.

It’s hard to articulate the joy of a grandchild. He is so fat. How fat is he? He has rolls on his ankles and wrists. Why is it okay for grandbabies to have fat ankles and necks and wrists, but not for adults? I don’t know. Maybe because the adults sweat and have moles with hair growing out of them and blackheads? I just know that I don’t want to nuzzle some adult’s bellyroll, or daub their flabby triceps across my chin.

I’ve tried to focus on how exhausting he is as a negative, for example. They say it takes a village but that isn’t true. It takes as few as one person and as many as a zillion, because babies can vacuum up all the energy in the room. Whether it’s one or infinity, no number of adults can supply the vacuum-sponge of a baby, who will leave each adult spent and exhausted, especially old grandparents who didn’t start the day with much vim anyway.

But the exhaustion isn’t like staggering off a bike and collapsing face-first into a plate of meat sauce, or coming home from work and flopping like a dead fish on the sofa. It’s the most gratifying exhaustion I’ve ever felt.

No.

It’s the only gratifying exhaustion I’ve ever felt.

And when my grandson smiles and laughs, the whole world laughs with him, even his crusty and sour old grandfather. “Where is the down side to baby laughter? There has to be one, doesn’t there?” I wonder. And I got nothin’.

In fact, as I listen to his voice, my vulture’s croak is overpowered by a warbling birdsong that rushes over it in a torrent, reminding me of love.

END

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Get your corpse ready for the doc

March 28, 2016 § 52 Comments

Cycling is a community like your family or your workplace, which is another way of saying “I can’t avoid the assholes.” But the community, despite its dysfunctional parts, grinds along like a very old Toyota Camry with 350,000 miles. It’s not very fast, it’s not very sexy, and it’s not very efficient, but it gets you where you want to go.

Everyone focuses on the Camry, its mileage, the dent in the back that you got in the parking lot and that (as of 2016) more than 23 people have left business cards under the wipers that say “Fix bumper dings! $25.” Or they focus on the driver. He’s old, he’s not very good, and he drives 65 on the 405, which would back up the freeway for miles if it weren’t already backed up for miles.

But it takes more than the driver to make the car run, just like it takes more than the profamateur old fellow bike racer to make the cycling community go. One of the people who makes our cycling community go is Sherri. And as of March 17, that’s DOCTOR Sherri to you, pal.

I don’t know how many people have gotten their doctorate from UCLA while selling crotch cream and straightening handlebars in a bike shop, but there can’t be a lot of them. And the number shrinks even more when you consider that Sherri had to overcome a minor obstacle or two, like the time her brain broke and they had to saw open her skull and put in another bag of sand.

But what I do know is this: When it comes to encouraging, to helping out, to being ready with a pat on the back and a “shut the fuck up and get back on your bike you whiny little bitch” no one’s as good Sherri. No one’s even close.

She’ll patiently listen to your 15-minute angst-filled soliloquy about 23 mm vs. 25 mm and then draw it to a close by kindly sticking the on-sale item in your hand and running your card. She’ll hand you up the water bottle as you totter towards the turnaround, dropped with a 12-minute gap and another 30-mile lap to go. She’ll be at the shop at 5:30 AM to make sure the bagels, cream cheese, donuts, coffee, and heavy cream are ready so that you’ll have a 3,500-calorie breakfast for your 500-calorie ride. She’s not only smart enough to do the math, she’s kind enough not to remind you of it.

And when you need her, you really need her, she’s always there for you with a hug and a smile and a heartfelt “You can shut the fuck up now, I’m not your mother.”

While caring for the tender sensibilities of countless self-absorbed cycling weirdos, Sherri somehow also managed to get her Ph.D. in forensic pathology. She once told me in detail what that was, but all I got was that it was like being a doctor for dead people. So it cracked me up when, after a friend announced that she had successfully defended her dissertation and passed the turkey-carving portion of her examination, a bunch of people posted on Facebag asking if Dr. Sherri would check out their this or their that.

She will, honey, but when she does she finally won’t have to tell you to shut the fuck up.

Congratulations, Sherri. I wouldn’t be able to grasp how you got a UCLA Ph.D. in four years if I didn’t know how smart, hard-working, and dedicated you are underneath all of that charm. You’ve made all of our lives better. Now get out there and heal the dead.

END

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Mellow Johnny’s

March 2, 2016 § 51 Comments

Before I could book my flight to Austin I had to sign the General Austin Flight Agreement, which says that, “Once arriving I solemnly swear to agree with everyone how much Austin has changed for the worse.”

On the flight my neighbor told me she loved Austin. “But it really has changed so much since I moved there ten years ago.”

“Yes,” I said. “For the worse?”

“Definitely,” she said. “The old Austin is pretty much gone.”

“That’s too bad,” I said sympathetically.

Yesterday morning I took a walk along Shoal Creek and then Waller Creek to downtown. It looked mostly the same as it had in 1982 ago except for a few big buildings.

waller_creek

Once I got downtown I stopped by Mellow Johnny’s bike shop. I’ve yet to see a bike shop in Los Angeles like MJ’s. The first thing that strikes you is a giant Ride Board that lists upcoming club rides every day of the week. The second thing is the coffee shop that is more a part of the bike shop than the retail area. The third thing is the repair shop that greets you when you walk in, and the fourth thing is the shower which is available to pretty much anyone who needs to de-stink.

mellow_johnnys

What’s striking about Mellow Johnny’s is the fact that foremost it’s a place for cyclists to hang out, and only after that is it a place to buy bike crap. The placement of the repair shop is awesome. Regular customers don’t come back often to buy new bikes; they come to get their derailleurs adjusted. Oh, and the shop opens at 7:00 AM, when cyclists are up and about and in dire need of a coffee fix.

As soon as I walked in a sales guy asked me not if I needed any help, but “What music are you jamming to, dude?”

We started talking. I told him I’d walked from 24th and Lamar. “Amazing amount of construction, huh?” he said.

“Yes.”

“It’s incredible how Austin has changed,” he said.

“Really?”

“Yeah. My wife and I moved here four years ago. It’s a completely different city.”

“For the worse?”

“Mostly. The old Austin has been swallowed up by development.”

“That’s too bad.”

About that time a group of riders came in from the morning ride and lined up at the coffee counter. I got in behind them and started chatting. One was a guy named Alan, a judge. The other was named Matt. Finally I walked over to the big wooden communal table where everyone was sitting. “Mind if I join you?”

“Sure,” said a guy named Martin. “As long as you’re cool. This is the cool table.”

“I’m not very cool,” I said.

“That’s okay,” said a guy with a huge mustache that was waxed so stiffly on the ends you could have hung your coat on it. “As long as you say something cool.”

I asked about the rides and people began talking animatedly. Bikers are the same everywhere. They are happy to chat with you about the local rides, which ones are hard, which ones hilly, who are the hammers, and the good-natured back-and-forth between friends about who dropped whom when and how and where. Most of the guys at the table rode for the Violet Crown Sports Association, Austin’s oldest racing club.

“I used to race for VC,” I said.

“When?” asked Martin.

“My first race was in January 1984 at the Bloor Rd. to Blue Bluff time trial, where Jack Pritchard gave me a Laverne & Shirley board game for winning. Our team kit was a blank purple Vigorelli jersey.”

There was a bit of awed silence as I pronounced the mythical words “Jack Pritchard.”

Suddenly I wasn’t some stranger in jeans to whom they were being polite. “Do you know Jay Bond?” asked a guy named Andy.

“Yeah,” I said. “He built my first pro bike. Or maybe it was Phil. A Picchio Rigida. The ones that all had cracked rear dropouts. It was purple.”

“Wow,” said Andy. “Jay’s my neighbor.” The triple authenticity label of mentioning Jack Pritchard, Phil Tomlin, and Jay Bond could only have been strengthened by saying the hallowed words, “Tom Paterson,” which of course I did.

We talked about Jay’s famous 55-mph straight-line fred fall coming out of Leakey a couple of years ago, about his sister Felicia, the illustrator for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” and most importantly about whether or not Jay still had his blue steel Pinarello and his red steel Eddy Merckx.

I checked my watch and saw it was time to head back. “Great talking with you guys,” I said. No one had mentioned how much Austin has changed or about how the Old Austin has gone.

That’s because, you know, it hasn’t.

END

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Tour of Qatar bans women from competition

February 12, 2016 § 25 Comments

Sheikh Wahabbi al-Wasabi, the Honorable Righteous and Mostly Correct High Potentate of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, has followed up his ban of the Etixx-QuickStep pro team for “disciplinary reasons” with a concurrent ban of all women racers who, according to Sheikh Wasabi, “Are currently experiencing, have experienced, or plan to experience at some point in the future the Unmentionable Thing Of Women Not Spoken Of By The Righteous And Holy,” i.e. that which Donald Trump scientifically refers to as “coming from their whatever.”

Cycling in the South Bay caught up with Sheik al-Wasabi just after the sixteenth prayer session of the day in the High Holiest Mosque al-Wasabi of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar to talk about gender equality, the Etixx-QuickStep ban, and why anyone should give two shits about a religion that makes you wear a hat.

CitSB: First, what’s up with banning Etixx-QuickStep from the Tour of Qatar?

AW: As we said in the press release, they take too much time to change their shoes. This is rudeness to Allah.

CitSB: It is?

AW: Very much. And last year we sent a special lady to hurry them up and they talked to her not in a very nice way.

CitSB: What kind of “very special lady?” Was she wearing fishnet stockings?

AW: She was honorable fifteenth pre-pubescent wife of Secondarily Greatest Plumbing and Hotel Infrastructure Manager of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Hamachi. The riders spake rudely, most rudely.

CitSB: What did they say?

AW: She was told to cough.

CitSB: Cough? What’s rude about that?

AW: We are unclear as to this matter, however, His Excellency the Supreme Translator of English Words and Foodstuffs of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Maguro, insists it was great rudeness to insist that the special lady cough.

CitSB: Well, I’ve heard lots of insults, but “Cough!” isn’t one of them.

AW: It was preceded by the “Fuh.”

CitSB: Fuh?

AW: Sheikh Wahabbi al-Maguro, His Excellency the Supreme Translator of English Words and Foodstuffs of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, insists that the “fuh cough” is a great rudeness. We will soon discover how this differs from other coughs and begin disciplinary proceedings and jihad and fatwah and etcetera against the infidel Belgians, but until then we shall ban them for shoe-changing slowness and the fuh cough blasphemy from participating in the Most Supreme and Challenging Display of Human Triumph in the Jewel of the Desert at the Bicycle Tour of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar.

CitSB: Moving on. I understand there are some problems with the women’s race?

AW: This matter is not mentionable by the Utmost of Holy Men.

CitSB: Could you give me a hint?

AW: As was decreed by the Holiest Imam Under The Skirts Of Allah, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Uni, first the lady racers shall be always covered of head and body with great modesty.

CitSB: Uh, I don’t know how much time you’ve spent around women bike racers, but “lady” isn’t exactly the right word here. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a lady blow a snot rocket?

AW: We are unfamiliar with such weaponry.

CitSB: No, no, a snot rocket isn’t a weapon, it’s a, uh, never mind. Anyway. So how are the women gonna race with turbans and long dresses and those facemask-garbage bag things over their heads?

AW: This matter was resolved by His Occasional Greatness Sheikh Wahabbi al-California Roll, who rules all dictates of the lady clothing especially the linen that touches the parts that the holy do not mention yet are treasured in personal collections and worn at special occasions. Sheikh al-California Roll has decreed that for the lady racers, all competition would be done in a stately and processional fashion so as not create exertion or unsightly perspiration or huffing and puffing reminiscent of unmentionable acts which the holy typically only view on select video download web sites.

CitSB: I see.

AW: When it was brought to our attention that in addition to shoe-changing rudeness of the men, many of the lady racers would potentially experience uncleanliness, we canceled their race or offered to let them race in a stately fashion but if the unmentionable occurred we would be forced to penalize them with beatings and whippings unclothed and perhaps prison and a loss of earnings.

CitSB: Which you’ll record on video with your pals, naturally.

AW: But of course.

END

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Frau Frump the pus bucket

January 30, 2016 § 25 Comments

I was over at a buddy’s house the other night. He and his lovely wife had invited us over for dinner. We were having a big pot of Texas chili, a big pot of pinto beans cooked with bacon and jalapenos, a pan of cornbread, and farts. Well, the farts would come later, viciously.

I was sitting there minding my own business when my pal’s friend and his wife stopped by. They aren’t bike racers so I sat there and munched on my chili and beans and blew a couple of 30-weight, light gauge test farts while everyone chatted.

I was pretty pleased with the chili because I had made some the week before and eaten it with another couple of buddies, both cyclists, and their wives, who were well versed in the language of bikers, and everything had gone swimmingly. Anytime you have chili and farts with a dude who used to have orange hair and an Arkansas traveler who spins a yarn a minute, you’re going to have fun.

Anyway, back to the present dinner date … the new dude was pretty funny and was talking about a rad ski trip he’d been on with helicopters and avalanches and shit, and I kind of glanced over at his wife who was diddling the chili with her fork, looking at it like someone had crapped on her plate and called it dinner, but the dude was shoveling it in and smacking his lips so I figured they just had different tastes like married folks always do.

Pretty soon it was my turn to talk so I led with something innocuous, polite, and mildly amusing that wouldn’t offend anyone. It was the story of how I learned my other bike racing pal, B.C., was a legit porn star.

There I had been, looking at this video (I have no idea how I happened on a porn video because I never watch the stuff, yuck), and this dude was doing the monkey stomp dance with this chick and they zoomed in and the dude had this tattoo and I was like “Fuck, that’s old B.C.” so I called my wife over and we opened up his Facegag page and compared the ornate tattoo on his arm with the dude in the video and they were one and the same.

It was pretty funny knowing that you race bikes with a legit sausage swinger, and as I was telling the story everybody was laughing except for Frau Frump the pus bucket, who was making a grossed-out face.

“That’s enough of THAT,” she said, but I misunderstood because I was talking about the cute little Asian bundle who ol’ B.C. was whanging away on, and I thought maybe she wanted me to go back talking about him, so I added some size dimensions and volume output and such but she looked really upset and I finally figured out she didn’t like to talk about motility and guys and chicks getting it on over dinner and so I switched over to a different topic, about how the one thing that Obama should do before he leaves is double taxes and take away all the guns.

As luck would have it, she was a Trumpublican (Who knew? Who?) and would have spit chili if she had eaten any, which she hadn’t because it was so obviously poor man’s food.

I shoveled in a few more spoonfuls of beans and she looked over at me and said real condescendingly, “How long have YOU been married?” but instead of getting the answer she expected, i.e. “I purchased her online last Thursday,” I smiled sweetly and let a bit of chili drizzle out of the corner of my mouth and said, “Thirty years. How about you?”

Frau Pus Bucket scrunched up her face and said, “Five years.”

“Number two?” I asked. “Or number three?”

This made Frau P.B. pretty mad(der) because if she said, “It’s my first,” it would confirm everyone’s assumption that it had taken 45 years to find a guy crazy enough to marry her, and if she said “My second” or “My third” it would confirm that I had nailed her as someone who was about as fun to be married to as a case of wet blankets soaked in piss.

Pretty soon it was time for us to leave, but not before I regaled everyone with a story about the time I joined the Communist Party and lived in a clothing-optional free love compound that manufactured experimental recreational drugs while advocating for abortion rights, a free college education for everyone, and compulsory combat military service for everyone who had ever owned a gun.

I’m not too sure we’ll get invited back, though. You can’t take Mrs. WM anywhere.

END

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Corrupting the youth

January 15, 2016 § 41 Comments

I went to a beer-and-biker event last night at Strand Brewing Co., where I was joined by some of my friends from Team Lizard Collectors. They drank beer while I ate tacos and gazed longingly at their frothy hops.

But before they arrived I got there early. I get places early usually. You can sometimes get in trouble arriving early, but pretty much always get in trouble coming late.

At one of the tables was my buddy Joel Elliott. That’s not his real name, so don’t Google “Joel Elliott, Strand Brewing Co.” because it’s just a pseudonym.

He was sitting at the table with his wife, his wife’s friend, and five little kids. The kids were all well behaved, quietly playing UNO, chewing with their mouths closed, and waiting until being spoken to before speaking.

I sat down and Joel introduced me to the kids as “Mr. Davidson.” You know how much kids like being introduced to “Mr.” anything? Kind of like they enjoy the phrases “time for bed” and “I’m telling your father when he gets home.”

But these kids were all well bred and made the briefest of eye contact before resuming their kid lives. I waited a couple of seconds. “All right, kids, listen up!” I said in my most authoritative voice. They all looked up.

“Now you don’t know me, but I’m a liar. The biggest liar you ever met. I’m 52 years old and I’ve been lying since the day I was born. I also have bad manners, chew with my mouth open, and like to spit.”

The littlest punkin gazed up. “How big a liar are you?” she asked.

“I’m a bigger liar than all the other liars in the world combined. I once told my principal, Mr. Smudgy Pigeonpants, that if he spanked me again my leg would fall off.”

“Smudgy Pigeonpants?” they cackled.

“Yes, and his assistant, Poopy Stinkyfeet, I lied to her too.”

“Poopy Stinkyfeet?” said one of the boys. “That’s not a real name.”

“Sure it is,” I said. “Are you calling me a liar?”

“YES!!” they all chimed in unison.

“If you’d called me a liar yesterday that would have been true, but after this morning I decided to quit lying and only tell the truth. I haven’t told a single lie today and don’t intend to.”

“But you just lied about that Stinkypants and Pigeonfeet stuff!” said one of the girls.

“Those lies didn’t count,” I said. “They were assistant lies.”

“What’s an assistant lie?” asked a boy.

“It’s a lie you tell to help you get to the truth. Now, then, go ahead and ask me anything and I swear on a stack of dead cricket abdomens that I’ll tell the truth.”

“What’s an abdomen?” asked the littlest girl.

“It’s like a stomach except on a cockroach,” said one of the boys.

“How old are you?” asked the littlest girl.

“437,” I piously intoned.

“LIAR!!” they all yelled, bits of food falling onto the floor and a general mess of the card game being made. One of the boys spilled some cold water on my feet.

“Okay,” I said, “I was lying about that but I won’t lie anymore, I promise. I learned to stop lying in prison.”

“You’ve been to prison?” the biggest boy asked.

“Oh, sure. Everyone in my family has.”

“Are you lying again?” asked the other boy, who had become something of a skeptic in a rather short period of time.

“No, sir.”

“What were you in prison for?”

“Killing people,” I said. “Forty of them. All at once. With a spitball cannon to the big toe.”

“LIAR!” they all roared.

“Nope,” I said. “I’ve got the prison tattoo on my left arm to prove it. It says ‘Corcoran State Prison for Spitball Murder, #20182718101838540582Azidy283521.'”

“On your arm?” asked the skeptic.

“Sure.”

“Show it to us.”

I was wearing a hoodie, a long sleeve sweater, and a long sleeve t-shirt. “Roll up my sleeve and see for yourself.”

They all pounced on my arm, knocking a taco off the table, smearing some salsa with the UNO cards, and making a general mess. They got the 12 sleeves of Christmas rolled halfway up. “There’s no tattoo!” shrieked the oldest girl, triumphantly.

“Sure there is,” I said. “It’s on the other arm.”

“LIAR!” they roared and attacked my other sleeve.

“There’s no tattoo here, either!” proclaimed the skeptic.

“You didn’t roll it up far enough,” I said.

They all turned to with great energy and violence, but there was only so far they could roll up the bundle of sleeves. Finally the littlest girl jammed her hand up the inside of my bicep. “I can’t feel any tattoo!”

“Oh, no!” I said. “Now you’ve got stinky hand!”

She sniffed her fingers. “Yuck!”

“That will never wash off,” I said, sadly.

“LIAR!” they all said.

“What’s your name?” I asked the biggest girl.

“Cassidy,” she said.

“That’s an incredible coincidence!” I shouted excitedly.

“What’s a coincidence?” asked the littlest girl.

“It’s when a bunch of things happen wrong at the same time,” said the biggest boy.

“How come it’s a coincidence?” asked Cassidy.

“Because my daughter’s name is Cassidy, too!”

“LIAR!” they all shouted.

“No, really, this time I swear I’m telling the truth. Her name is Cassidy except we spell it with an ‘a’ instead of an ‘i’ but we pronounce it the same.”

“LIAR!”

“I swear on a stack of old cockroach droppings that I’m telling the truth, really.”

“LIAR!”

“No, really.”

“LIAR.”

“I extra promise!”

“LIAR!”

I looked at the littlest girl, who had wedged her way under my left arm and who was perched cozily against my hoodie while sitting on my leg. “You don’t think I’m lying, do you?”

She smiled sadly. “You’re a big liar but you’re a nice liar,” she said.

“If that’s your daughter’s name call her up and let us ask her what her name is!” said the skeptic.

“Call her up! Call her up! Call her up!” they all shouted.

“Well, okay,” I said. I slowly took out my phone and, hiding the screen, dialed my daughter on speakerphone.

“Hello?” she answered.

A cacophony of little kid voices screamed, “What’s your name?”

My 27-year-old daughter, who grew up with a rather odd father, wasn’t the least bit surprised to be receiving a phone call from what sounded like half a dozen screaming kids demanding to know her name.

“Cassady,” she said. “Who is this?”

Dead silence. The kids looked at me in awe.

“Thanks, honey,” I said into the speakerphone, and hung up.

END

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One of a kind

December 12, 2015 § 32 Comments

A buddy came by to help me drown my recovery sorrows in cookies and ice cream, and talk eventually turned, as all conversations about Cycling in the South Bay eventually to, to Certain Friend.

“You know,” he said, “Certain Friend was one of a kind.”

“Yes, he was.”

“Certain Friend was the only guy with whom you could be riding, or a couple of times it happened walking down the street, and someone would just appear from nowhere, a stranger, and start screaming at Certain Friend.”

“Those tales are epic.”

“They’d totally go off on him. ‘You are a complete asshole!’ and ‘I know you, you are the biggest jerk!’ And you know what was amazing? Certain Friend never even knew who they were.”

“Yep.”

“He’d offended and insulted so many people that the South Bay was literally teeming with enemies, the vast majority of whom he’d only vaguely known and completely forgotten.”

“Certain Friend was a legend.”

“One of a kind. Certain Friend made people hate his fucking guts just by opening his mouth. And you know what?”

“What?”

“We have fewer and fewer one of a kind characters like Certain Friend. Things have gotten more homogenized. Polite. No one wants to offend. Certain Friend had ‘IDGAF’ on his birth certificate. I miss that dude.”

I kind of agreed. “Yeah, I do, too. But he really was an asshole.”

The next day I went to my first physical therapy session. For three weeks now my recovery regimen has been this:

  1. Lie in bed.
  2. Sit in desk chair.
  3. Sit on couch.
  4. Sit at dinner table.
  5. Lie in bed.

Casey, my buddy the PT who runs Independent Physical Therapy just around the corner, helped me onto the bed. He’s a super guy and a great physical therapist. He started to check my range of whimpering. “How does this feel?”

“Ouch!” I snorted.

“But I’m not touching anything yet.”

“I’m a big believer in prophylactic whimpering.”

After doing a thorough once-over to make sure my ROW was sufficient to allow me to pedal, I got on the recumbent bike.

I pedaled slowly, expecting shooting pains in my leg. There were none. I pedaled a little faster. Nothing but the stretching of muscles and tendons and ligaments that had shrunken up like dry rubber bands. Then I felt blood rushing into my legs. It was the most amazing and beautiful feeling I’ve ever had.

seth_and_casey

seth_rehab

After an hour I went home. I’d been invited to a party that evening but had decided not to go unless my leg felt really good, which it did. This would be the fifth time I’d been outdoors in the last three weeks.

I got to the party and immediately began talking with my friends. Everyone was super kind and solicitous and I got to give the organ recital over from scratch each time someone asked how I was doing. No one seemed bored, and I loved wallowing in my own trough of stoic-but-pitiful-but-on-the-mend-but-in-pain-and-yes-thanks-I’ll-have-another-slice-of-pie.

The time flew. And then, just as I’d texted Mrs. WM to come pick me up, a woman walked up to me, scowling and mad.

“I know you,” she snapped. “You’re the blogger.”

I was seated with a cracked pelvis, my crutches were out of reach, I didn’t carry a concealed weapon, and this clearly wasn’t going to be good. “Yes?” I said.

“Well, I’ve read your stuff and you know what?”

“What?”

“You’re an ARROGANT ASSHOLE! That’s right, you’re an asshole. A big, ugly, stupid, blathering, rude, arrogant asshole. And I want you to know that.” Then she crossed her arms defiantly and awaited my reply.

I glanced over at the crutches and wondered how far I could get before she tripped me and pushed me down the stairs.

“Thanks,” I said, “and Merry Christmas to you, too.”

Ms. WM picked me up curbside a few minutes later. “How was the party?”

“I learned something about myself.”

“Really?”

“Yep. I’m one of a kind.”

END

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