Silver Lining

by

“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.

Nope.

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.

Ok.

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

Hmm.

Now.

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.

PAIN.

Oh ouch.

I pedaled one more revolution.

More pain.

Ok.

Stop.

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.

Ugh.

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.

Really?

Ok.

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.

Ok.

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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