Category Archives: Humor

A Bicycle Built for Me? Part 2 – You daredevil biker you

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I can’t keep secrets from my husband so the next day I tell him, “I bought a bike.” Followed quickly by “it was on sale.”

“Ah Ha,” he says, sipping his first coffee of the day. Later he remarks, “I saw it in the garage. It’s nice.”

“It was on sale.” Didn’t I say that already? Duh!

My husband is working afternoons so I decided it was time to set my wheels in motion and take that bike out for a spin (I’m not quite at the comfort zone to step up to the pedals with my husband looking on). I hop on, riding the brake down the driveway and turn left. Best to stay on our street and go around the crescent – little traffic, few prying eyes. It was exhilarating, but scary. And I’m thinking, “Really, how do I look riding this thing? Do people think I’m nuts?”

So, as any writer would do, I posted about my new purchase on Facebook. My friends were supportive but also concerned.

“Do you have a helmet?”

“Uh, no, I didn’t get one.”

“Do it,” several say, and others click on the LIKE button…one, two…let’s just say “several times.”

The next day I go to Canadian Tire. I try on helmets. There are no mirrors. I take one out of my purse, put it on the shelf and try a helmet on. A young kid walks by and whistles. I’m mortified. I grab two helmets and head to the isle with large mirrors. I try them on again. I settle on one that’s within my price point and fits snugly. I also buy two lights for the bike (for night riding and turn signals) and an odometer/speedometer that tracks 18 things in total.

Later that evening I gingerly take the bike out of the garage. My neighbour and her daughter are in their backyard and see me.

“Hey! What’s that?” they ask.

“I bought a bike,” I say proudly.

“So where’s your helmet?” the mother asks.

“I, uh, will wear it next time.”

“Okay” she says, adding her typical droll, drop-dead sense of humour, “just don’t expect me to be feeding you gruel out of a straw,” and she makes that sideways face to show what she means. I can’t help laughing because she’s funny, but she’s probably right. I will get up the nerve to put it on tomorrow. I wave goodbye and head out.

I decide to take a longer ride this time, so I go down every crescent on each street, still staying in my cozy subdivision with little traffic. The sound of a car approaching gives me goose bumps. I slow down at the stop signs and look both ways. No one coming, I make my turn.

Then it happens. I come to a stop sign and hear a car. It’s moving to fast. I can’t race it. I’m going to have to stop. Remember, my stops aren’t pristine (as I pointed out in my previous blog). This one’s a disaster. I hit the brake, drop my left foot to the ground and the bike topples.

A young couple is standing nearby with their kids in tow. The woman has a looks worried.  “Are you alright?” she asks with genuine concern.

“I’m fine,” I say quickly. But I’m not. I’ve got a scraped knee and a bruised ego.

I head home slowly and park my bike back in the garage.

More to come…

A bicycle built for me?

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Sometimes we have this moment where we “think” we should do something. Then we shake our heads realizing it’s beyond our grasp or capability. But I’m stubborn. I think I can do anything. If I could ride a bike as a kid, it seemed a natural assumption that I could do the same now.

So one day when I say to my husband, “I think I want to buy a bike.” He just looks at me.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You see, my husband is what I call a ‘processor.’ He doesn’t always reply immediately. It may take him days. In fact, it’s probably one of his most redeeming qualities. For example, imagine if I said what many wives ask their husbands “Do you think I look fat in this?” Like most men, my husband would have to give the obligatory, emphatic answer “NO!”?

But not my husband. He would mutter “no” under his breath. Later he might ask “why would you say that?” Then he would analyze it some more. Then he would say “I don’t know why you would think that.” Translation: “No, you don’t look fat in that.” In the end, somehow, I feel that he has taken my question seriously because he has taken time to process the question and analyze it.

So, what does that have to do with a bike? Well, remember, I told him that I was “thinking” about buying a bike. A few days later he looked at me and said, “I can’t see you riding a bike.”

Why not? I think. I can do this. I want to do this. I think about it for a few days then, suddenly, one afternoon I was working at my desk, and I shot up on my feet, went out and drove to a store that sold bikes.

I stood there, looking at the bikes chained outside and panicked. “What do I ask for?” When I was a kid they looked at your height and said “this is the right size for you.” And I said “I like the pink one.” And away we went.

But this is the 21st century. There are 10 to 21 to God-Knows-What speeds. There’s mountain and…to heck with it. I stop procrastinating and walk though the door.

Wouldn’t you know it. He’s young, cute, with an armful of colorful and cool tattoos. I wander in and start looking at the bikes. He follows me. “Can I help you?”

“I, err, I want to buy a bike,” I mumble, hoping he doesn’t laugh at me.

“What are you looking for?” he asks matter-of-factly, adding, “Will you be riding this casually?”

“Yes,” I reply, nodding emphatically. That’s what I want.

He shows me a few models. We talk about price point and sizes of the bikes. He takes me outside and unchains one of them.

“You need to try it out,” he says.

Are you kidding me? Ride a bike in front of you? Can I even remember how to pedal?

“Well, I’m a bit rusty,” I say.

“You won’t know what to get unless you try it,” he gently prods.

After I admit I don’t know much about the gears he shows me how to work them, in a simple easy-to-understand way. He tells me to go with my gut. Does it feel right? Is it comfortable?

I hop on and ride around the parking lot, hoping I don’t fall down and make a fool of myself. My stop is less than pristine. He shows me a few ways to make the stops easier. We decide the bike is too small for me. He goes inside and gets another one. We do the test again. I feel more comfortable this time. He isn’t laughing. I can do this! We settle on that bike, which happens to be on sale – BONUS!

Just to ensure that I look like a complete dork I ask if they have bike baskets. I mean, if I’m going to take this seriously I’ll ride it to the store and where will I put my purchases? Lucky for me he doesn’t laugh.

“We have lots,” he says. I pick out a wire basket. They install it. I pay for it. He takes it to my car and shows me how to remove the front wheel so it will fit in the trunk. I do it several times, afraid I will forget how to do it when I get home and then I’ll have this bike without a front wheel on it just sitting in my garage. I get it home and manage to put it together. I park it in the corner and pet it a bit.

Then I have this wave of guilt. What was I thinking? I just bought this bike.

More to come…

To Tweet or not to Tweet…

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I still haven’t figured out Twitter yet. I mean, what’s the point? As a writer I guess it could be a good place to post those random thoughts I have, rather than keeping a piece of paper and pen with me at all times when a story idea comes along. But, also as a writer, the keystroke limit is killing me. I want to tell the full story but that won’t happen in 140 keystrokes. And, really, are my random thoughts that interesting that someone would care? So I think, well, let’s give it a shot. And I post:

“After all these years of not cooking because it takes too long, I finally figure out it all boils down to sharp knives.”

Does anyone understand what that means? There’s a story here. Does anyone care what that story is? I mean, really, I have a university education, run my own business, can balance my own books. How come I just figured out that you don’t have to jab and stab in order to slice and dice?

But I can’t write the story  in 140 keystrokes so, in retrospect, should I have posted that?  Does it make me look stupid? Do people actually care? But wait,  since I posted it three people are now following me. Can they tell me why they found my post interesting (in 140 keystrokes or less)?

So if that post brought followers…well, I should be getting to the work on my desk…but maybe I’ll just post another random thought:

“Show me the money: I am overwhelmed by social networking tools. Should I be hanging out on Twitter or making a living & write that article?”

Notice I use the ampersand (&) because I’m close to my 140 keystroke limit. And why am I posting this question when I have paying work to do? And, again, does anyone care what I’m thinking? Apparently they do because two more people just started following me on Twitter.

But I still don’t get it. How can I keep up with all these Tweets and still work enough hours to make a living? And what do these strange things like Tiny URLs and @’s mean anyway?

Oops. Hold that thought. I’m getting dinged by my Blackberry with text messages. So “i’m riting 2 some 1 this wa” because there are text message keystroke limits.

There goes my years of refining my words, spell checking, learning rules  of grammar “becuz i don’t hav enuf room 2 rite what i need 2.”