Silver Lining


“Look on the sunny side of life,” Mister Chet Baker crooned as I grumped back into my studio this afternoon.

I really wasn’t interested in looking on the sunny side of life or seeing the silver lining, but it sure was funny timing, that song coming on just as I was battling the self-pity tears.

I never even got to get a good self-pity party on, hadn’t even donned my little hat with the upside down frowning faces in yellow and the sad pom-pom sitting askew on the pointed tip.


I pretty much got perspective immediately.

And information that I was grateful for.

Though upset when I first had gotten it.

I just wanted to go to the grocery store.

Not the one that is a block and a half away from my house either, the one that is four blocks away from the house.

I had decided this morning after getting up and feeling pretty good with my ankle, did the alphabet in my bed with my toes (this is a rehabilitation exercise, you’re supposed to imagine that you are holding a pencil in between your toes and write the alphabet with it-helps to work the ankle and rebuild the muscle) and stretched and it felt good.

Good enough to seriously entertain riding my bicycle.

I was nervous about it, I realized after eating breakfast and having coffee while I was writing my morning pages, but I figured, you know, time to get back on the bike, and four blocks was going to be easy.

I turned over the load of laundry in the dryer and proceeded to stare with longing at my bike.

Give it a shot.

You can do this.

I feel good.

I feel strong.

I got this.

I feel nervous and maybe I don’t got this but maybe I am going to try anyhow.

My bicycle needed a touch of maintenance, I haven’t ridden her since the night of the accident, June 5th, so seven and a half weeks, no bicycle riding for me, that is a length of time.

I haven’t gone that long without being in the saddle since I started riding in the city eight years ago.

I have missed my sparkling speedy whip, I had fantasies about riding it to work this week, I am really over MUNI, but I thought, start slow, go to the market at Noriega and 46th and see how you feel, if you feel ok, then maybe a ride along the Great Highway.

All flat, all easy, nothing that I would have thought twice about riding in the past.

I went to my bike, “hello friend, I’ve missed you,” I patted the saddle and lifted my two u-locks off the handle bars and pulled her away from the wall.

Both tires needed air, I pumped them up and felt scared again, maybe this is too soon.

Maybe I should just forget this.

Maybe I should just chill out and stick my foot on the pedal and shut it.

I swung my right leg over and slipped my foot into the Hold Fast strap (foot retention device on the pedal similar to a cage, but adjustable and much cooler looking, if I do say so), I adjusted it to fit my Saucony.

I was uncomfortable with how my foot felt in my shoe and how it fit in the Hold Fast, so I adjusted it a little and fantasized about wearing my Converse, which I know better, but I am just going for a little bike ride.

I could hear the story in my head as I told the doctor in the ER.


So, no Converse, just stay with your good shoe, and open up the strap.



On to the left foot, the injured foot.

I back pedaled, took my right foot out of the Hold Fast strap and set it down, steadying myself, I placed my left foot into the strap on the pedal.

I felt wildly unbalanced.

I never set down my right foot when I am at a stop.

I am left footed.

Right handed, but left footed, don’t ask me why, but I kick better from my left foot, and I have always planted my left foot down on the pavement when on my bicycle and at a stop.

I sighed, it feels weird, but I can go slow and maybe I will just turn the pedal over and not wear the strap at all.

I got off the bike and went inside to grab my messenger bag.

I said a prayer and went to it.

I took my bike out into the world.

I opened the garage door and swung my leg over the top bar.

I put my right foot in the strap, squared my shoulders, looked for traffic, and pushed off.

I put my left foot on the top of the pedal and pushed down.


Oh ouch.

I pedaled one more revolution.

More pain.



I had gone five feet.

I got off my bicycle and walked it back to the garage.

Ok, God, I got it.

I am not supposed to be on my bicycle.


My heart hurt, I really wanted my freedom, I really wanted my wheels underneath me, I really wanted to go grocery shopping at Noriega Produce Market.

I shut the bike up in the garage and went inside to take a minute to collect myself.

I turned on the stereo cube and the song that randomly comes on, Chet Baker, there’s a silver lining, just look on the sunny side of life.

I couldn’t help to break a chagrined smile.



I can do that.

I am not on crutches.

I am not hobbling about in a walking boot.

I can walk to Other Avenues, it’s just a block and a half away.

I have money to buy groceries.

I paid rent for August already.

I have a job to go to tomorrow.

I turned off the stereo, walked outside and headed to the closer market.

I turned the corner from 46th to Judah and saw a man in a motorized wheelchair climb up the little hill between 46th and 45th.


I get it.

There’s nothing wrong.

And I will get back on my bicycle.

Just not this week.

And until then.

I am able to walk and I get to ride MUNI and I get to go to work.

Silver lining.

Another way of saying perspective.

I got mine today.

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