Going Nowhere Fast
Monday morning I rode my bike to work, like I do, 6am and black as night. I took a spill in the employee parking lot at work, my first in nearly a year, thrown off by Tom the Roaster in his big van. Knocked my basket loose and everything. Scraped my knee, hurt my wrist, bruised my elbow, but not a big deal. Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to telling the story. I definitely thought it was the worst bike-related incident that would happen to me that day.
I was so wrong, Friends!
Because when I walked back out the kitchen door 6 hours later, my black milk crate basket was on the ground. I thought it had fallen off my bike, but then raised my eyes some centimeters to see that there was no bike. Bike gone. Bike stolen. Bike n’est pas.
Oh, Friends, oh Friends. Just the biggest bummer ever, and I had the same inappropriate response that people sometimes have when grieving–a big, shit-eating grin on my face as I told my coworkers “Somebody stole my bike.” Then I had to carry home my coffee smelling possessions in that little milk crate clutched tight to my chest, like somebody who’s just cleaned out their cubicle.
I felt like maybe there was an actual raincloud above my head.
What a world, Friends. And what to do? Deal with it like I’ve dealt with past losses, I suppose. Like a grown-up. Think my thoughts about it, in true little sarah fashion. Thoughts like, “I wonder if this is how people feel at the moment of death–not scared or upset, but mildly surprised and interested, because they’ve always wondered how it would happen, and now they know.”
Now I know the story of my bike being stolen. And so do you.
* * *
I’ve been wanting to slow down, anyways. Been taking big, scary steps towards that end. Nothing slower than walking, Friends, or at least that’s how it feels to someone so accustomed to the specific freedom and luxury of your very own bike and basket. Even running–jogging, really– is it’s own sort of methodical meditation. Slow, step by step. No big rush, no hurry.
Anyways, that bike was too small for me. It had a rusty chain that squeaked and only liked to be in the hardest gear.
So maybe this is a blessing in disguise.
But it was also the only bike I’ve owned in my adult life. It was freedom, it was time, it was health and energy and wind blowing through my hair. It was my daily commute, my lazy weekend ride, my burden, my buddy.
Now I am just any old pedestrian, locomoting on two tired feet. Heart heavy, mind wandering…
* * *
Because also I quit my job, at the library. Also I ended a years-long relationship. Suddenly stripped of all these things I’d thought so inherent to my personal makeup. Trying to plan a future for an etch-a-sketch of a character, things fuzzier than ever.
But. So. I walk. Not sure where I’m going, and taking my sweet time.