Posts Tagged ‘AIDS Ride’

Kidnapped

July 5, 2017

In the best possible way.

My friend met me for yoga, it being a holiday we both had the day off from work.

It was fabulous to see him and I was very much looking forward to having a coffee with him afterward and catching up with him at Trouble Coffee, which is just down the block from my house.

“Let’s get out of the fog,” my friend said as we left the yoga studio, “let’s get coffee somewhere other than Trouble.”

I balked.

Wait.

What?

NO.

I have plans and schemes and designs and I’m in my yoga clothes, I need a shower and um, like, I have no fucking makeup on and am I going to be one of those people who goes and hangs out somewhere in their yoga gear?

NO!

Except, well, my friend had this twinkle in his eye.

“What do you mean?” I asked, skeptical, “it’s foggy everywhere in the city.”

“We leave the city,” he said simply, “my car’s right here.”

“I have to do some writing,” I said feebly, “I don’t have my wallet, I um, shit.”

He looked at me, “you can’t write in the sun?”

Well, fuck.

He had me there.

“Oh screw it, fine, let’s go get some sun,” I resigned, surrendered, went over to the winning side.

My friend didn’t clap with glee, but it was damn close.

I got a great big smile, the door unlocked, I threw my yoga mat in the car and climbed in.

“I don’t have a wallet with me, I don’t have makeup on,” I continued to protest, weakly, as I buckled my seat belt.

“Do you need to go put makeup on,” my friend said with a complete straight face.

“Oh fuck you,” I said, “let’s go, drive.”

“I got you covered, hello, that’s what credit cards are for,” he hopped in and we cruised out of the city and down the Great Highway and onto the 1.

“We’re going to Woodside,” he said and programmed the route.

I have no idea where Woodside is but having been kidnapped that made good sense, you’re not supposed to know where you’re being taken.

And it didn’t matter, I was in a car, the music was playing, my friend was grinning ear to ear and I was happy to see, that yes, indeed, the fog was lifting.

And then.

There was sun.

And it was good.

I mean.

REALLY fucking good.

So happy to get out of the fog for a little while.

We caught up and chatted and talked about his experience doing the Aids LifeCycle.

This past ride was his 9th ride.

He’s going to do one more and then probably move onto something else.

He’s doing a big ride in Toronto this year as well and that may be the next thing for him.

We reminisced about when I did the ride and how ill prepared I was.

First, I was on a borrowed bicycle, one that was way, way, way too big for me.

“Do you remember your first ride,” he laughed loudly, “you show up in cut off jeans and tights, with a huge messenger bag slung over your shoulder, I just shook my head.”

I joined him laughing, “and Converse, don’t forget, I was in Converse.”

God.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to do the ride.

I do remember very distinctly, however, crying at the end of that first training ride, I had barely made it the five-mile ride and I was overwhelmed with it.

How the fuck was I going to ever ride 545 miles?

“You will,” he said, “you will, just one step at a time, one pedal at a time, you’ll do fine, you need better gear though,” and he steered me around the Sports Basement racks showing me what I was going to need.

I had no money.

But.

I had a fuck load of heart.

I scraped up money everywhere, I wore old shoes, SiDi clipless bicycle shoes that someone gave me, I got donated a kit from a friend, I bought goofy looking outfits because they were on sale.

I had sponsors from all over the city and the country.

I do not know how the hell I raised the money to ride, but I did.

I don’t know how the hell I did it, but one pedal revolution at a time I did it.

My friend was my mentor.

He got me out, he helped me, he cheered me on, he made up silly songs to get me up hills.

One day, not too soon after I had started doing the training rides he pointed up to this gigantic hill and said, “one day, and not too far from now, you’re going to ride up that hill.”

“What fucking hill?” I asked perplexed, I didn’t see any hills, I mean, I saw a mountain, but not a hill.

“That one there,” he said pointing at the big peak in the distance.

“What the fuck is that,” I asked, followed closely by, “no fucking way.”

“Mount Tam,” he said, “and yes you fucking will.”

He was right.

A few weeks later, maybe a month and a half, I was riding up that fucking hill.

It was a long ride, but I tell you what, my God, the view.

Great.

Out.

Doors.

So much of it, so much beauty, so much joy, so much fucking swearing.

Damn I swore a lot.

I did it though and I laughed with my friend as we talked about all my adventures and misadventures.

And I could feel it, I could feel it fucking stirring, in fact, the thoughts had been stirring for a while.

“I want to do it one more time,” I said over an amazing omelet at Buck’s of Woodside.

My friend just smiled and nodded.

And as soon as the words came out of my mouth I knew I was going to.

“Fuck!  I’m going to do it again!” I laughed and pushed aside my omelet and hugged my friend.

We both laughed like hyenas.

And I am sure as fuck that there is going to be a moment or fifteen when I wonder, what the fuck was I thinking.

But then.

I’ll remember all the beautiful people in my life who I ride for, those alive and those who have passed from Aids and HIV complicated illness.

Later today, after my friend had dropped me back at home, after stuffing me full of joy and omelet and sunshine and promises to help me get a good road bike, I met with my person up in Noe Valley at the Martha Brothers Coffee house on Church Street and Duncan.

I sat on a bench with this man whom I love so much, who I hold with such deep respect and without whom I would not be the woman I am today.

He told me about taking a recent tour through the Aids Grove in Golden Gate Park and how it was to be there and the people in his life and the memories and I took a big deep breath.

“Give me your hand,” I said, “I want to hold it while I tell you something, you’re probably going to be mad at me, but I think that after that passes, you’ll be pretty proud of me.”

He turned and looked at me and took my hand.

“I’m not going to be able to go to Barcelona with you in May because after I graduate from my Master’s program in Psychology I’ll be riding to LA, I’m going to do the AidsLifeCycle ride again,” I squeezed his hand.

I could tell he wanted to give me a lecture, and that did happen a little and we agreed I’d have to let something else go from my life, probably not going to Burning Man next year, but I’ll get to that later, I’m still going this year, but I could tell by the way he held my hand it was going to be ok.

“You are a miracle,” he said.

And I am.

I am also someone who wears my heart on my sleeve, who does things to experience things as much as possible, who dreams big, who goes for it, who loves so, so, so hard.

Because why else live if I’m not going to live it passionately?

Fuck life without passion.

I get to live.

My best friend died this month ten years ago and he’s much on my mind, I did the ride originally for him.

And this time.

Well.

I will do it for him and my person and all the people who I know in my community who still struggle.

But.

I will also be doing it for me.

Because I can.

Because I want to ride my bicycle.

I miss it.

And.

Um.

Ha.

My bicycle bum.

I miss that a lot too.

Heh.

Oh yeah.

It’s official too.

While I was typing this blog I also took a minute, pulled out my credit card and registered to ride.

That’s right bitches.

I am now officially registered for the Aids LifeCycle ride 2018.

Shit.

I better go buy a bike.

What the fuck have I done?

Ha.

Tender Is The Heart

November 16, 2015

I have to remind myself this.

Soft.

Go lightly.

Be gentle.

Be sweet.

Hold yourself like a little kitten.

Don’t swing yourself out over the high stairway by the scruff of the neck and threaten to drop you down the stairs.

That doesn’t work.

It’s ok.

There are feelings there.

The stuff.

Well, it will come.

And.

Yes.

It will go.

And then the tenderness, to be soft, to be kind, to be sweet, to be compassionate to myself and the perfectionist child who is so afraid to fuck up and god only knows what will happen, what catastrophe of destruction will be wrought if I don’t get it all right, if I don’t do it perfect, if I don’t, I mean.

It’s the end of the world.

I look at my stacks of books and all my little post it notes.

I am preparing to write another paper.

One that I thought I would be able to do today, but I realized I was too exhausted from the writing yesterday to make any head way on this new paper.

I did do all the reading for it, but I didn’t absorb as much as I felt needed to do the writing.

I took notes, and they are funny, these little post it notes with a scrawl and a page number.

The article i have to write on is on-line and though I could print it off, I don’t have a printer, and take notes on it, I just decided to read the 21 page article on-line and stick little notes on my laptop to point to pertinent pages I needed to reference to write the paper.

But.

I will need to go back and re-read the article.

I don’t often have to do that.

I can usually do one read through.

But the directions for the paper were not sticking in my head and I wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to be reading for and it wasn’t until about page 11 or so that I had an inkling what I might be writing about, which is half way through the article, so I need to go back and re-read.

I had done a lot of reading prior.

And it opened up a box.

Perhaps not a Pandora’s box.

But some links were made in my mind and I noticed a lot of myself in the reading.

It was on trauma.

Sometimes I am able to be a little flip about the things that happened.

Sometimes I normalize them to deal with them.

Sometimes.

Most times.

I run the fuck away.

I don’t duck and cover.

I bolt.

But there was no bolting.

Little rabbit.

There was no hole to escape down.

There was no closet to hide oneself in under a pile of clothes in a dirty laundry basket hoping that you wouldn’t be found out, in the middle of the night in the dark, in a closet, under the pile of clothes.

I used to have that night mare a lot.

Thank God I don’t any more.

But years.

It would just pop up out of nowhere.

Hiding in the closet in the dirty laundry basket waiting for the closet door to open and the nightmare would mimic exactly the acts that I would do.

Except.

For one small thing.

There was never enough clothes in the closet to hide underneath.

Some part of me was always showing.

Some corner of my leg or a foot or an elbow was poking out.

And the footsteps.

They were coming.

Down the hall.

And the door was opening.

The light from the crack between the door and the wood panel door frame.

The way the line of light fell on the floor and I could see that line of light and then the shadow coming in through the door.

And well.

Anyways.

Nightmares.

Trauma.

PTSD.

You know.

All the good stuff.

I read some powerful things today in one of my text books and the pot.

Well.

It got stirred.

And the thing is that’s going to happen.

So when the stirring stirs something up.

What do I do?

I do my best to take care of myself.

It may not always look like what other people think is what’s best for me, but it’s the best I have in the moment and I have to acknowledge how fucking far I have come and all the work.

Gah.

The work.

It never ends.

This work.

I think.

There’s the rub, that’s the problem, I think.

That by this time I would be clear of it.

But I also know that I have come to a softer resting place with a lot of the material.

And so much of it is still blocked out.

I have dissociated with the material.

Does it surprise anyone other than myself that I am pursuing a degree in psychology to become a therapist?

Ha.

Ah.

Life.

She is a funny cookie sometime.

Fortune cookie fortune brought to you by House of Pancake:

You love hard.

Take easy on self.

Let self be loved.

Lucky numbers 18, 7, 25, 48, 53.

If only.

I’m getting better though.

I can see the progress and when I was feeling disconnected and unable to concentrate more on the reading I was supposed to do for the paper, I cut myself some slack and I took a break.

Not a big one.

Just fifteen minutes.

And when I sat back down to continue reading.

I read something else for school.

I can come back to this material when I am not so tender.

It was a big weekend.

I did a lot of work.

Emotionally.

Outside of school.

Although school was the platform that provided the emotional entrée into the stuff going on behind the scenes for me.

I am glad to know more and I am grateful to be in school and I showed up in a really big way this weekend and wrote a gigantic paper and did hours and hours and hours of reading.

And.

Talked to Professor Dubitzky about a time to have a phone conversation with her about my Psych(e)analytic paper.

We have an appointment for Tuesday night at 8:30p.m.

Not sure how the hell it’s going to work since I’m getting off work at 8p.m.

I suppose I’ll hit a cafe with my laptop and sit on the phone and do the deal.

Note to self bring laptop to work on Tuesday.

And.

That’s the weekend.

Back to work tomorrow.

Not that I ever really left off working.

Although I did double dip tonight and get to see a lot of lovely people.

Grateful for all the love in my life.

All the lovely people.

All the love.

All the things.

All the god damn time.

Even when the pot is stirred.

It just makes for a sweeter stew.

You Still Writing Your Blog?

October 7, 2015

He asked as we pedaled our bicycles up the hill past the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park.

I was riding home on my whip thinking about all the things that need to be done and the grocery shopping that I was about to embark on, so, so, so grateful to be meeting a friend after work who gave me a lift to SafeWay.

I got all the things I need to get through the week and then some.

It would have been two, probably three trips on my bicycle had I loaded up my messenger bag real full and rode my bicycle real slow.

I don’t ride my bicycle real slow.

In case you were wondering.

Although.

I don’t ride as fast as some.

If I was on a geared bicycle I would actually be faster.

I am on a one speed and it only goes so fast before I am just needlessly spinning my crank.

I coast down hill pretty damn fast though, and that is often where I will catch up to those who have passed me on the uphill climb.

Which is what happened as I sped through the park, thinking about autumn in Wisconsin.

There are parts of my ride home, specifically the Pan Handle, where there are some old growth oak trees, when I am reminded of fall in the Midwest.

The smell in the air.

The leaves scattered on the ground, the shadows falling from the trees and the old sodium lamp posts lighting the way.

I am reminded always of the CS Lewis book, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

The lamp-post always get that reference for me.

And.

There is a kind of magic about the park, especially at night, when the shadows are long and the stars hang low overhead, when it’s past the last of the day’s commute and the runners have done their runs and the bicycle traffic is light to none existent, and I feel as though the entire way is mine.

The soaring on my bicycle through the air, the whick of wind against my neck and pulling through my hair.

I passed by the DeYoung and started the slight descent to the Rose Garden that heralds the last big hill climb on my ride and then, literally, it is all down hill from there, down towards the sea, the salt wind, the bonfires kissing the dunes, and the shaded night heralding my heart home.

I usually holler out, “passing on your left,” but I actually thought I might startle the rider I was coming up on, so I just gave him a wide berth and whipped past.

“Carmen?!”

“Yup, that’s me, who’s that, you better pedal harder to catch up!”  I laughed as I hit the down slope on the hill, bottomed out and began the climb.

“Use your momentum coming down the hill to push you up the next one,” my friend taught me on training rides for the AidsLifeCycle.

I never forgot that advice and it’s really the only way to get up hills on a one speed in San Francisco.

I heard the bicyclist behind me drop it into gear and push up the hill.

“Hey!” He said, “it’s Max! How are you?”

“Hello!”  I said, “doing good, just got out of work, heading home, you?”

“Just left 7th and Geary,” he said, “heading home too, hey, did you start grad school, how’s that going?”

“I did!”  I said.

“I just had my second big weekend of classes, it’s kicking my ass, trying to balance all the things, working 35 hours a week, carrying 12 credits in grad school, doing the deal, you know, trying to not get too far into the future or I’ll freak out.”

“Yeah, I feel you, that’s a lot, but you can do it,” he said.

“Yup, I just keep focusing on what’s exactly in front of me,” I said and spun the crank.

Just keep my eye on the next foot fall, don’t get carried away thinking about how I just got my schedule “figured” out and the mom asked me today to totally switch my hours from a 1p.m. start to a 10 a.m. start next Monday and Tuesday–the boys have two days off from school.

And.

If I get too consumed with my schedule and I am not flexible with myself I will freak out.

“Hey, you still writing your blog?” He asked me next.

“Yeah, I’m sort of in awe that I am doing it, but it’s so helpful, it lets me get all the stuff out of my head, it’s like a nightly inventory [sic] I need it, I don’t think I can drop doing it, although I’m still not sure how I am able to find the time, I do.”

“It pops up in my Facebook feed every once in a while,” he continued, and we crested the hill and began the descent home.

“Nice to run into you!” I shouted as he slowed down to take the turn and I sped, yes, right through the stop sign and rolled on into the velvet night laying splayed out before me.

It does leave me with a sense of wonder, this little blog does, I am still finding words for my experience, still aching to share those experiences with you, the reader, lovely reader, hello, you do fill me with regard and wonder too.

I wrote last night about being mindful that I was writing for myself and frankly if I think about the people reading, or not reading, my blog, I will get weird about it, but that doesn’t mean that I am not aware of you, sweet reader, in fact, I regard you with respect and no small sense of honor.

Thank you for stopping to read the words.

Oh the words.

They do mean so very much to me.

Speaking of words.

I am knocking out the sonnets for the Burning Man poetry project I have had on the back burner for the last couple of weeks.

I was supposed to have some things ready for my collaborator, and I did, I do have some sonnets I wrote, but I did not like the way they read and there was something missing.

I found the missing ingredient.

And.

I have been flying.

I wrote out the supporting framework for ten sonnets and then fleshed out one completely yesterday.

Today.

Well.

I was on a roll.

I wrote two sonnets back to back and I probably could have written a third, but I did want to make sure that I addressed some reading for my Human Development class or I would be falling behind for the paper that I must have written in this upcoming week for the class.

I love when the words come and the images and the song of the world seems to croon to my ear and I am connected to that elixir of light and poetry.

I feel blessed.

Graced.

Lightened.

Enlightened.

And.

Loved.

I am such a lucky girl.

Full of words.

And wonder.

I am.

Melting Pot

September 16, 2015

Yes.

There is that too.

That melting into another person, that kind of intimacy that is indicative of the idea of “into me you see.”

I am thinking of big green meadow eyes and a hug.

A long, lingering, could be uncomfortable, if I were serving up hugs at the Hug Deli at Burning Man, kind of hug.

But is not uncomfortable, no, is rather delicious and melting and luscious.

I have two more days of waiting for said hug.

“How was your Burning Man?” I have been asked that many a time since I returned.

I have told folks it was my best yet, aside from my first one, which really did blow my mind–and was also the most challenging as I was there with my best friends ashes and had just gone through one of the most harrowing months of my life watching him die and being there for our community the best way I could.

“Your first year was amazing, I was there!” My friend said to me tonight as we were riding our bicycles home on the WIggle.

The nice thing about a changing work schedule is doing the deal in places and rooms I don’t normally go and seeing faces I don’t normally see.

I hadn’t seen this friend in over a year and it was so nice to sit next to him and get caught up and my excitement at getting to ride home with him was great.

He was my mentor on the AidsLifeCycle ride as well, so riding with him had special significance.

I realized I hadn’t been on a bike ride with him in five years!

I remember well how I cried after my first training ride, it was three miles I think, perhaps five, but really no more than that–hell I ride more than that to get to work everyday, I don’t even think about it anymore–and I just could not imagine how the fuck I was going to ride 545 miles.

“You’re not going to ride them all tomorrow,” he told me and patted my arm and got me a bottle of water.

He was always there to pat me on the back or cajole me up and over the next big hill.

And there were so many damn big hills.

But I made them.

I got up and over and when the time came to do the ride, I rode every last mile.

Even with saddle sores.

Saddle sores are no picnic, let me tell you, and I rode with saddle sores the last three days of the event.

Yuck.

I digress.

But I did fill my friend in on all the details of the burn and why it was my best since my first one.

Partially since I did not work that much.

I actually went to Burning Man.

I went dancing.

I saw friends.

I spent a fair amount of time at AV, a village a lot of friends camped at.

I did a lot of the deal.

And.

I met him.

You know.

That guy.

The dreamy one I spent three and a half days with consecutively.

Yeah.

That guy.

He’s a peach that one.

I get to see him this week.

The day has been set.

Or I should say, the evening.

We’re meeting on a school night and I don’t care.

Sometimes you just got to do the things that are a little taboo, I mean I’m not breaking some huge personal rule, I’m just going to have a sleep over on a school night.

I’m looking forward to the companionship.

I am looking forward to the play.

But I really am looking forward to the connection.

We have a connection and we both know it and its been acknowledged and we both are doing our own thing.

Adult like.

I won’t deny there is some salient school girl crush thing happening.

But really.

When I look at the underlying text of the document, there is more to it than that.

“Am I just going to be that girl you met at Burning Man,” I teased as we eased our way back into the default world.

“You could label it that, I suppose, but you know that’s not the truth,” he said and turned, brushing the side of my face with his hand.

Yes.

I do know that’s not the full story.

And.

The thing is.

I don’t even know what the full story is.

I suspect that we are both going to show up and be our best selves and maybe it takes a minute to get back there, to the dust and the honesty, and that place where I am vulnerable and not worried about what I am wearing and what music should I play and how does my house look.

“I really like that I got to see where you live, it’s so you,” he said as I came out of the bathroom to my studio.

I like that he saw it too.

I like that when people have visited me here, they have all said the same thing, how much my place reminds them of me and how lovely it is to be in it.

“You have a party going on at your place all the time,” a dear friend of mine said when he described my place.

It’s true.

It’s a party.

I like to have my music on.

I like my candles lit.

I like the good smells and the good sounds and I like that where ever I look there is something beautiful to rest my eyes on.

Speaking of which, maybe this is the weekend I finally get the DIebenkorn print up on the wall, it breaks my heart leaning against the table.

I need to go get my Marilyn print from my trip to LA framed as well.

Art.

God.

How I do love thee.

Let me surround myself in it, swim in it, wallow in it, drown in it.

Thank God I am an artist.

“You are so much more than just a nanny,” my friend told me sternly in the car.

He had given me a ride to Safeway to do a big grocery shop, so needed after my busy on the go self neglected to do any last week and was also dropping me off at work so I wouldn’t have to push it on my bicycle.

I was telling him about how I have been asked to provide some poetry for a fellow artist who wants to present something at the Burning Man ARTumnal event.

I wonder if I should ask for a ticket, or two, I might have a gentleman I would like to bring with me, to the event.

And it was with some chagrin that I realize, yes, I do down play that part of me.

Or.

I assume that the only reason a man might want to be with me.

Well.

It’s more than just a cuddle, right.

But no.

There is more.

“I’m most excited about looking into your eyes silently and getting one of those melty hugs.”

Really?

Me too.

Really.

And maybe some sex on the side.

But yeah.

The silent song of staring into someone’s eyes who I have connection with.

That is where the good stuff is.

All the things.

All the good, sweet, juicy things.

In fact.

All the best things.

I Did Not Just Say That!

September 14, 2015

Oh.

Jesus on a raft.

I did too.

I am tired.

And.

When I am tired two things happen: 1. my tongue becomes unhinged; 2. I get delirious.

Now.

These things are not necessarily bad things, they can be productive things, like in everyday life.

But fuck me.

I processed that out in T-Group?

I mean, we’re not supposed to process T-Group outside of T-Group.

(whatever happens at Burning Man stays at Burning Man, unless he’s coming over to see me next week, but that would be telling wouldn’t it?)

Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Yet.

Wow.

I have been tired today, exhausted, burnt up, done in, almost feverish with exhaustion.

I suspect I might be sick, but I honestly cannot tell if it is because I am legitimately ill or if it is like a flavor of ice cream cone– colored tired as fuck.

I am ice cream cone covered tired.

Colored in pastels and sorbet and the melting of psyche all over my hands and sticky little face.

I imagine I sounded like a child, that I was in a fugue state, that I was explicative and profound, but when I talked of seeing the faces in the group and being grateful for them, each one, every one, that the richness I found in the silence, that for some was uncomfortable, was like hearing the voice of God.

And sometimes God spoke in a language I did not understand, but as I listened closer and closer, I could feel the imprint of the feeling and I could hold the space for the emotions and I became a sort of white-hot crucible unto myself.

The feverish doozy weariness brought me to a point of sublimation and softness that I did not know I was capable of.

I also have to say, I saw that I was not taking the best care of myself over the weekend.

That I experienced some financial insecurities and instead of allowing myself to eat out, I just pillage the fridge at home until there was nothing left and I did not do myself any justice by not stopping to get groceries last night.

In other words.

I did not eat enough for lunch and I felt a huge sugar crash come over me while I was in the first part of the T-Group class.

I wasn’t sure at first what was happening and also what to say about it other than I was exhausted.

I was not the only person exhausted and I acknowledge that I showed up anyway, but I did feel this need to clarify it and also a fear that I couldn’t, that I couldn’t be anything but strong and that I was going to make it through and here’s how.

I can be tired.

There is nothing wrong in admitting that.

I also did some radical self-care, which in the moment felt bizarre, but I had the capacity for words to at least try to show up with an explanation.

I ramble.

I was joined at lunch by my partner from my Human Development class and I was not able to concretely deal.

i was trying to get my blood sugar levels up and for a period of ten minutes I had not done anything but steadily shove food in my mouth.

I realized when I was heading up to the kitchen on campus that I was having classic ‘bonking’ syndromes.

The last time I felt like this, and I am feeling like it again, so I may pause and refresh here momentarily.

Was when I did the AidsLIfeCycle ride in 2010.

I bonked on a training ride once out to the Nicassio reservoir in Marin County.

And once on the ride itself, waiting in line for the food at the pop up cafeteria.

I stood in the little kitchen on the fifth floor and put a Baby Belle Cheese in my mouth, peeled an egg, and ate a can of tuna without talking or stopping to do anything other than eat.

I did not even season the food.

Let me tell you desperation to be fed is when I don’t even stop to put salt on that shit.

I just stood and consumed.

Then I sat and ate an apple and when my partner engaged I told her the truth of what I was feeling.

I did not go into the future, where there is so much fear, I’m not enough, I can’t handle this program, I’m working too hard, I’m not working hard enough, I don’t have the energy capable of sustaining this, etc, etc,

I stayed in the moment.

I stayed at the table in the kitchen and said my bit.

She brightened and thanked me for being honest and I felt held and sacred.

The feeling stayed with me and startled me a little and I suspect that combined with the needing more food in my system led me out the door and up to the market for another piece of fruit and a coconut mango smoothie.

No sugar, thanks.

No flour, thanks.

But I had to eat some fruit for the natural sugars.

And I was ok with it.

I am ok with it all right now too.

Ok.

That I did not read when I got home.

Ok.

That I am distracted and disoriented and that reflects my blog abilities.

And.

Ok that I am just a human having a human experience.

And when I get too overwhelmed with it.

The human experience.

I get sweet texts messages and learn how to bask in the glow.

Of.

Acceptance.

For being exactly, imperfectly.

Perfectly.

Me.

Perfection Is Not An Option

April 22, 2015

Well damn it.

Now you tell me.

I wanted to throw in the towel a few times today, and it had a lot to do with wanting perfection.

The great thing?

I wasn’t even aware that I was seeking perfection, that is how ingrained in my being seeing said state is.

I never was nor will I ever be perfect.

I can end up waiting for the day to come and before you know it I will be dead.

But at least I will know why my knees hurt so damn much.

I have Patello-femoral Syndrome.

Yippee!

Gah.

Irritation of the knee cap (my poor Patellas–both the suckers have it, although my left is slightly more out of whack then my right) and the surrounding tissue due to increased compression.  There can be pain around or under the kneecap and sometimes in back of the knee.

Check.

Check.

And check.

Painful activities may include:

Running.

Ayup. Hurts like a bitch to run.

Walking when it is flared up.

Yup again, which is why I finally made the appointment to see my primary doctor, despite visions of knee surgery dancing fearfully though my head.  When the walking got too painful I knew the gig was up.  I am a professional nanny, it’s bad enough when my shoulder flares up from pushing the stroller, not walking is out of the question.

Please.

What else hurts?

Going up and down flights of stairs.

Oh yeah.

Horribly so.

I don’t talk about it, but it sucks, and ironically, which the physical therapist that I worked with today told me, it’s actually worse going down stairs.  And yes, the family I work for has a two story house and steps leading up to the front door as well.  I go up and down those steps more often than I can count.

I did a stair test and she showed me where my knees are pulled out of alignment.

Driving hurts, after a while, but yes it does, and the best, since I live in San Francisco, walking  up or down hills.

Bahahahahaha.

Oh good grief.

What contributes to PFS?

Tight hip or knee muscles; weak hip or knee muscles; flat feet (oh man, have you seen my feet?  Flat as pancakes, thanks dad. Plus my arches fell in my early twenties from all the food service work I was doing waiting tables, catering, bartending, hostessing, cocktail waitressing, expediting food (my best friend and I met at the Essen Haus and amongst many of my “fond” memories of the establishment was her strapping an ice pack to my knee to get me through the night’s shift, with, yes duct tape); and lastly, repetitive or excessive amounts of activity.

Can anyone say bicycling in San Francisco (and Paris and Oakland) for the last 9 years, 5-6 time a week, an average of 12-15 miles per day.

And that’s not including the year I trained and rode the AidsLifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to LA.

I started the training for that November of 2009 and trained every weekend up until the week before the ride in June 2010.

So.

Um.

Yeah.

A LOT of repetitive activity.

And it’s not what you would think, or I would think, it’s not the movement of the knees that the problem.

It’s the sitting in the saddle, the excessive sitting is tightening my hips which have pulled my knees completely out of alignment.

It turns out that not only are my hips extremely tight, they are also excessively weak.

Great.

They’re wide too.

My sister used to joke that our family hips were meant to birth a 10 lb baby without breaking a sweat.

When the physical therapist asked to test my knee strength I was afraid what the pain was going to be like, and was a bit surprised that there wasn’t really pain.

My knees are strong–thank you bicycling.

But my hips, oh, man.

As soon as she started manipulating my hips, my knees started to hurt.

I was shocked.

But I could feel the IT Band (Iliotibial band, which is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh, the top part is attached to the glutes and the bottom to  the shin bone just below, yes, you guessed it, the knee) pulling my tight as she moved my hips and tested them for flexibility and strength.

“Your hips are so tight, your knees are going to hurt just from this,” she adjusted me on my back and then showed me a stretch and then had me roll over on my other side.

“Both hips are extraordinarily tight and weak, resist the pressure as I push down,” she said.

It was like a soft pat but I couldn’t hold my leg up as soon as she pushed down on a hip.

I was again shocked.

And also relieved.

There is something that I can do about it, I don’t have to have surgery and I don’t have to stop riding my bicycle.

“You may at some point down the line have to have surgery, but certainly not at this time, there’s a lot of strengthening and stretching to do before that even becomes an issue,” she reassured me as I relayed my mom’s double hip and double knee replacement surgeries.

I also spoke with my mom recently and found out that there is high cholesterol on her side of the family, both she and my grandmother and probably others in the family.

Great.

Well, at least I know it’s not from my diet, which is really quite impeccable, if I do say so myself, though not perfect, since I’m still taking iron supplements like they’re going out-of-town.

I’m wondering what else can fall apart on my body.

Please, hold on a little longer.

I want to have sex again.

I bet that will stretch my hips.

Ha.

The physical therapist gave me sheets of exercises and stretches to be done, not once, not twice, but three times a day, plus icing my knees (where are those frozen peas?) two to three times a day as well.

“When your charges nap, stretch, do the clam shell one especially,” she directed me.

Sure.

Let me just lie down on the floor and do the clam while the mom and dad walk around me on their way to their home office.

I negotiated doing them after work when I got home on my bike, which is not a negotiation, my knees hurt like whiny little bitches by the time the day was done and I knew I had to stretch and strength train.

Good thing no body was around to see me floundering and trying to not cry in frustration doing said clam strengthening exercise–two sets of ten twice a day; the bridge, 2 sets of ten, twice a day; top leg lifts, 2 sets of 10 reps, twice a day; standing squats, two sets of ten twice a day; and then a bunch of hip flexor stretches.

Ugh.

But I did them.

And though I am sore, it’s a good kind of sore and I am grateful to have a solution that is not surgery.

Despite not wanting to do the work, which is always the case, I get to do it anyway.

And if I follow her suggestions,which I am good at doing, following suggestions, I should have no knee pain in a bout a month.

Considering it’s been years now, I’m cool with that.

I Let You Stick Your

October 23, 2013

Dick in my_______?

Fill in the blank.

I mean, use your own imagination as I am already going way too graphic to start the blog, and sex, though a topic I skate around, is not one that I go into details.

Some things are best left in the bedroom.

Or the kitchen.

Or.

Well, what ever room you prefer.

I ran into an ex today after work, I almost did not recognize him, and that was the first thought I had, “I really let you….”

Ahem.

I don’t apologize for my brain, that’s the way it goes, I just do the reporting.

We caught up for a few minutes.

He has not done much.

I have done a fuck load of things.

Just to break down the basic gist of things, in no particular order since I dated him I uh, moved to Paris for six months, went to Burning Man a few times, rode the AidsLife Cycle ride from San Francisco to LA, went to London and Rome, moved around a few places in the city, took French classes, wrote a lot of blogs, finished a book, learned how I prefer to eat persimmons, got a few tattoos, and made a bag load of friends and acquaintances around the world.

“You know, same old, same old, still living in San Bruno, working for Cisco, keeping out of trouble,” he said eyes torn between my messy fog hair and my cleavage.

Stop staring dude.

Most of the time when I run into someone I used to date or sleep with there is no awkwardness.

There are only two men in San Francisco that I run into that are a little uncomfortable and awkward and I wonder who side it is on, mine or theirs, but it is there.

The one thing that the two have in common, aside from they both slept with me, is that they both slept with me around the same time.

“How’s Shadrach’s mom,” he said, “do you still spend Christmas with his family?”

He remembered.

“I haven’t in a while, but I am still in contact with his family, spoke with his mom fairly recently, she’s retired from teaching, his brother has a two boys now, his dad’s good,” I paused.

“Memory like an elephant,” he said, “nothing escaping this.”

I shivered.

REALLY?

I slept with you.

Nothing physically unattractive, in fact, he’s a very handsome man.

A little heavier set then I recall and a lot more grey hair, and I noted how he compulsively shoved four pieced of gum in his mouth during the conversation which led me to believe he was trying to quit smoking for the umpteenth time.

Just, not really a personality match.

I have a lot.

Him, well, not so much.

There’s nothing wrong with this, we just were not a match and it is really interesting to look at that time and see it right in front of my face at the corner of 7th and Irving.

I hooked up with Mister Gum Popper less than three months after my best friend died.

“Oh, look at you, how cute are you!”  My room-mate at the house said, poking her head into the room, seeing the two of us inclined on the love seat in my room tucked into the huge dormer window of the old Victorian at 23rd and Capp Street.

That was about all the excitement in the relationship.

We looked cute together.

We talked about doing things.

Rather, after a few weeks, I talked about doing things.

He used to surf and had a board in his garage and lived by the ocean and I wanted to learn how.

“I went out surfing!” I told him, remembering suddenly the numerous times I tried to get him to take me out.

“You did not!  Good for you, I haven’t been, well, I haven’t been in, awhile, I guess.” He frowned trying to figure out the last time he went, “we never went out, did we?”

I smiled and shook my head negative sir.

“You are surfing and you went to Paris, just like you said you would,” he finished.

That startled me.

I don’t remember telling him that.

“You really did it, I knew you would, no doubt in my mind at all.” He shrugged deeper into his coat, “well, uh, nice to see you, you, uh, you look amazing, welcome back to the city.”

“‘Night,” I said and turned toward my destination, steering my bicycle up the small incline of 7th at Irving.

I locked my bicycle up and took off the lights.

“I don’t doubt that you are going to,” my friend said to me the other night over a cup of tea.

He was referring to my taking up of the write a novel in a month challenge.

I said I would.

So I am going to do so.

I don’t know exactly where this stick-to-itness comes from, some times I think it is a characteristic failing of people pleasing, but hey, whatever, it is fucking working.

I am going to do it.

I walked around the Irving area scoping out coffee shops and cafes.

I have an idea where I will be doing a lot of the writing and went there later this evening and had tea with a ladybug and did some reading with her as the fog swirled in from the ocean and the temperature dropped another few degrees.

They have a good tea selection and just the right amount of anonymity, I’ll blend in and be left alone, I think.

My thoughts then went to the other man, the other man I slept with around the same time as my ex-when Shadrach died, he had once lived across the street from Tart to Tart on Irving and as I sat in the window sipping my tea I looked over and realized his apartment, where I first met him, was across the train tracks, directly in my line of sight.

I worked with his room-mate for a while and knew him through her.

I ran into him the Saturday before Shadrach was pulled from the life support.

He came up to me and said, “you look amazing, your hair,” he gestured at my head, “wow.  And you are like the incredible shrinking woman, you are smaller every time I see you.”

News flash, friend, I dropped more weight.

But that is neither here nor there.

He was a bright spot in my week, the only bright spot in a week drowning in tears barely hid beneath the fog I would watch out the window on the third floor; it ceaseleesly billowed over the tops of Twin Peaks and rolled heavy, somnolent, and drear toward General Hospital.

He invited me to a movie with friends and we went to the AMC on Van Ess and watched some stupid comedy and I leaned on his shoulder the whole time.

Afterward he tried to flag me a cab and none would come.

“I would invite you home, but I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said as another taxi with its car full zoomed by.

“I know what you mean, but I could use some not a good idea,” I replied.

I think sometimes had I not slept with him, we might have dated, I sort of blew it.

But I didn’t.

I wanted to be comforted.

I was.

The ex was also a comfort.

All we did was watch movies and lie in bed.

And unfortunately, not have as much sex as I thought we would at first, it petered out.

He was depressed, living at the edge of the ocean, anxious, on Antabuse, not my way to stay sober and I don’t recommend it, heavily smoking, working a job he hated, getting money regularly from his parents, eating out on coupons.

The best he could do to comfort me was wrap up under an old quilt in the basement in-law studio he was living in and sleep with me.

I watched a lot of movies and broke up with him a couple of months later.

“You needed the comfort,” a confidant said when I asked what the hell I was doing.

I suppose I did.

What I have found since, is that action is my comfort.

I like to sleep in, who doesn’t, but I have to do things too.

I have to get out there and be remarkable.

I want to live.

Even if that means walking cold through the streets of Paris lost.

Or riding my bicycle through the heavy wet fog of the Outer Sunset.

I want to do.

And be.

And grow.

Compassionate.

Kind.

Generous.

Sexy.

Abundant.

Travelled.

Well read.

Well written.

And loved.

Yes, that.

Always that, the love thing.

But you know.

Loving can stop your fear.

That’s the true comfort for me now.

 

But it’s not always that clear.

Sounds Like You Live Here

November 27, 2012

Well, that brought it home.

I do live here.

I was chatting with a gentleman this evening on the stairs to the American Church getting ready to walk along the river and cross the bridge from the Left Bank back to the Right Bank.

I live on the Right Bank.

He had some questions about Burning Man.

I rather love that.

“When is it again?”  He asked, “I really want to go.”

“Labor Day weekend in the states, end of August, first few days in September,”  I replied.  Then I told him of where would be some good places for him to camp and some things that he might be interested in checking out, the kind of community that is out there that not everyone is aware of.

“That sounds amazing!”

He smiled.

I smiled.

“You’ll be around, so we will talk more, get home, have your dinner,”  he patted my arm and I headed toward Metro Alma-Merceau.

I will be here.

Still not sure how, but I am beginning to feel more and more at home here.  I do not know what it is, I do not really care.  But his words travelled in my ears as I walked over the bridge and looked at the skyline.

Note to self the first Sunday of the month, literally, I said it out loud as I went over the bridge, “note to self, it is the first Sunday of the month, this Sunday, time to go to the D’Orsay.”

First Sunday of the month is free at all the museums.  They are all packed and the lines are long, but this is the best time of year to be inside a museum, warm and cozy and crushed between others staring at art.

Besides, if I get an early enough start, the lines won’t be long.

Hmmmm…. maybe I will ride my bike to the museum.

Oh, yes, that does sound like a plan.

Brisk ride along the quite Sunday streets, then an afternoon in the museum.  The D’Orsay is my favorite, well, at least for the moment, I have not done a lot of museums yet.  I have gotten, of course to the Pompidou, that was my first Sunday here.

Yes, that’s right!

I am coming up on a month of living here.

I live here.

“It doesn’t sound like you are visiting or on vacation,” he said, “it sounds like you live here.”

I do.

I am just going to keep repeating that, I live in Paris.

Seine

Seine

I live on the Right Bank of this river in the 9th Arrondisement.

My address is 36 Rue Bellefond, Paris, France, 75009.

In case you wanted to send me a postcard.

Just kidding, I am heading into my second round of sending out postcards.

There were a few kind, generous, anonymous, folks that threw a few Euro my way.  Enough to help me live here a few more days, absolutely.  I will be sending out holiday postcards.  Who doesn’t want a Christmas postcard from Paris?

Come on now.

I was actually invited to London for Christmas, and I thought, wow, that sounds lovely.

But I live in Paris.  I want to spend my first Christmas here.  I am not entirely sure what I will do.  I have a few ideas. Just as I am not completely sure what I will do for my birthday, but again, I have a few ideas.

One of which is to go take a ferris wheel ride at Place de la Concorde.  At sunset.

Now that would be spectacular.  Perhaps a day of walking through the Louvre.  Dinner at a cafe some where, I was instructed to get a shellfish dinner and something pretty.

I will be doing just that.  Although, I admit here and now that I spent those Euros already.  However, I have been holding to myself that I will spend the Euros that I was given as a birthday present on a birthday present.

Regardless of what my situation is.

They were given as a gift and I will be sending her a photograph or five of what I do that day.  I may walk through the Jardin de Luxembourg as well, really take a long walk about.

I passed on the Christmas invitation and he said, “of course, I didn’t really think you would be anywhere else but in Paris for Christmas, but the offer is there.”

My room-mate is sweet.

Christmas though, in Paris.

Insert slight homesick or as I should honestly call it, heartsick moment.

I miss the Mister.

This is not where I am going to write about it either.  At least not yet.

And now moving on to the rest of the I live here in Paris blog I am writing.

Today in the life of Carmen I got up and wrote four pages long hand, had some oatmeal with sliced banana and nutmeg and cinnamon, a large house made cafe au lait, some reading, some French home work, hot shower.  Meditation, stretch, small walk about, then editing book for a while.

Break for lunch at the house.  Roast chicken with garlic potatoes and small tossed salad with tomate.  Another cafe au lait, why, because, why not, they taste damn skippy good.

Off to French class.  Ride Metro to Crimee stop.  French class two hours.  Walk in the rain.  Metro line 7 to LaFayette, transfer to Line 9 headed to Pont Sevres, stop at Alma-Merceau (having batted through another couple of chapters in “A Moveable Feast”).

Then a walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

I walked around the tower for about an hour.

The rain had stopped, but the streets were still slick and the light lovely.

Wet Street

Wet Street

I took it in.

I smelled the wet pavement.

I peered at the sky, bluish gray, thick strewn with the passing storm clouds.

I watched the crows fly in and out of the base of the tower.

I discovered a small garden that I had no idea was anywhere near the tower.  The other times I have gone there have just been too many people there for me to enjoy walking around it, I usually just want to get out as soon as I am there, or not go in the first place.

The park was empty, a small little lake, a water fall, old trees shedding yellow and brown edged leaves into the pond.  The quiet was so quiet I could hear birds nesting down for the night.

Park

Park

I skirted the pond and walked out the other side to the statues flanking the bridge.  The two sides capped by stone horses.

Horse

Horse

Riding right alongside the carousel they carried me forth into the night as the tower lit up behind me, ushering me forward and onward to a cafe creme at Le Cafe de L’Universite.

Night Riding

Night Riding

 

 

 

 

I met with a new lady bug.

I went to the American Church and talked about the adventures I have gotten to have–Burning Man, the Aids LifeCycle Ride, moving to Paris.

Living in Paris.

“You live in Paris, now,” he said with finality.

I realized he was right.  I feel at home here.  I feel that I am doing a good job here.

Despite not having a job.

Living in city does not actually have all that much to do with work.  No, that is not how I want to think of it.  I do work here.

I am an artist, a photographer, a writer.  I write everyday, I read every day, I study French, and I show up where I am supposed to be and sit where I am supposed to sit, every day.

I live here.

In Paris.

I am not trying to be here.

Lights

Lights

I am here.

 

 

 

 

 

Out With The Old

February 11, 2012

In with the new.

I rode my new bike home today.  It was a little nerve wracking.  I am not used to the frame yet and it is a different geometry than my road bike, but even from the little I rode tonight, I can tell that I am going to be loving it.

Weather was not great and I was not interested in getting the feel for my bike on slick streets.  I was very careful riding home and rode slowly.  I can see that this bike will be quick, quick, quick.

Exciting.

This is my first really nice new bike.  I have bought new before.  A hybrid from Pedal Revolution, five years ago.  But it was not a nice bike.  It was a cheapie that rapidly fell apart and had to have constant replacements made.  By the end of owning that bike I must have bought in triple what I paid.

A lesson I learned from.

Tonight I also handed over my Felt 35 road bike to Carlos.  Last night he signed up to do the AIDS LifeCycle and tomorrow, on my old bike, he will be going on his first training ride.  I feel like there is a lot of poetic justice to the Felt going to him.

And I am so glad to not be riding in clipless.  Although, I have to say, I wasn’t going to get cages, but I have already changed my mind.  In fact, on my first ride about–just around the block this afternoon while I was at work to make sure it was all fit properly–I almost said slap them on.

Now, after a slight commute, I know I want the toe cages.  I definitely don’t feel as secure on the pedals.  Yeah, I will have to give up wearing fancy pants shoes on my commute, but I would rather enjoy the commute.  Plus, I am still getting to wear regular shoes when I ride.  I won’t be as attached as on my road bike, but I will still be secured.

Tomorrow I will install some cages at work.  And they won’t be true cages any how, I am going to go back to the Hold Fast that I had picked out.  They’ll look good against the bike palette.  I also added a chain to the saddle.  I knew I would have it outside for an hour this evening, one of the few times this bike will be allowed locked up.  I was not willing to even humor the thought of leaving my sexy new saddle untethered.

Lance, who made me say, “aw shucks!” tonight (he said, “I’m proud of you!” when he was admiring my bike.  He’s a seasoned bicycle messenger–he knows bikes), had a great suggestion–plumbers putty.  Impossible to dig out and will harden like cement.  I will be making a trip to Discount Builders Supply this Sunday.  I will use some on the seat post and the rest on the seat underneath where it attaches to the seat post.

I will also keep the chain, doesn’t hurt.  I bought another lock as well–secondary security for the front tire.  I locked my bike up with three locks tonight.  I ain’t playin’.

Currently, I am looking at her, she’s inside.  I have not put up the pulley system yet, but after listening to the horror story a customer relayed to me this morning as he was re-ordering his bike, I was not leaving it outside on the back porch.

Some one told me the story of how his bicycle was completely ripped from the wall in his garage, the locking mechanism had been bolted into studs.  His garage was broken into and they yanked it off the wall.

Crack heads.

Yet, this person still wants to lock his bicycle up in his garage.

Now, you’re the crack head.

It will get stolen again, I assure you.  You have been marked.  Lock it indoors.  If you love your ride, lock it inside.  Please.

Unless you feel comfy dropping $1650 every other month, then lock it up outside.

OR

Keep it close.  This particular person bristled when I suggested that, “OH, well, I only have 850 sq feet.  There’s absolutely not enough room.”

I call bullshit.  I have half that space and my bike is currently leaned up against my desk, why, I can reach out and stroke the saddle right now.

Ahem.

Making myself blush over here.

Bike porn.

That was what my bike was called before I took her home by another customer.

Thanks!

 

Lemmings, Fucking Lemmings

February 10, 2012

My bike hung in the window less than twelve hours before some one was changing their order to match mine.

Biatch.

BACK OFF.  I designed that.  Mine.  Me.

Yeah, whatever, there’s no “I” in team.  I am not at work anymore so I don’t have to play nicey pants with you all day long on the phone and via e-mail, as I did today–all day today–because your fickle little heart changed it’s mind.

By the way.

Wrong paint color.

But, frankly, I had no desire to relay that information to you.  You can stick with the black matte frame.  And yeah, it bugs me that you copied my wheels and my crank and my handle bars.  But then, you have a poor design aesthetic, dontcha?

You needed to have it there in front of your eyes and instead of wanting to create your own custom build one of a kind, that’s the point, fyi. You went with a copy cat.

But, sister, you’re copy cat ain’t got jack on my ride.  Thank you very much.  The point is to be imaginative.  The point is to know what you want, not what somebody else wants.

I did not get any standard components.  I did not get a standard paint job.  I got a gorgeous über dark navy blue with rock star sparkle top coat–which you did not notice when you walked by as the store’s light system was not on and it does not glitter without light shining on it.

Tomorrow, I take it down from the window.  Tomorrow, she becomes mine, all mine.

I am possesive, can you tell?

I bought a hoist today at the store.  Now, when am I going to have the time to install this, fuck if I know.  But installation will happen.  I think I may end up asking a few of my friends who are handier with a power tool than I;  I could probably do it, but my track record of late with the whole falling over, well, I may ask for help instead of falling off the ladder.  I could just see that happening way to clearly.

Over book my self and try to get it done and teeter right off the ladder.  No, how about I just avert that situation right now and say I will ask for help instead.  And if it doesn’t get done this weekend I will not die.

But, I am going to take my bike out of the window tomorrow.  I will go for my first ride and she will be coming home with me.  I will be leaving my Felt at work for Carlos.  He and I have worked out a deal on it.  He’s going to be doing the AIDS LifeCycle ride and I know his money situation (I work where he does!) and I am going to let him have it now and pay me in installments.

I can afford to do that.  It feels quite nice to be able to help him out, help out the AIDS LifeCycle people, in a round about way, and have this lovely little road bike take another tour down to LA.

Tomorrow will be my last ride to work in clipless pedals.  I will leave the Felt with Carlos, I am also gifting him my SiDi shoes so he can ride and train right away, and I will ride off after work in my tennis shoes.

This is very exciting.  Especially as I loathe carrying around extra shoes with me and I miss wearing nice shoes when I am out and about.  Now I can ride in my nice shoes, or my Vans, or my clogs, or heels, if I want to.  Smashing.

The lemmings comment comes from Brian, our head mechanic, supervisor, builder extraordinaire.  He has the same problem with his bike.  He built something beautiful and unique, all chrome frame, chrome fork, one speed fixed with clipless pedals, chrome hubs, Velocity B43s in black and no brakes.  It is clean and sexy and dangerous.

And oft emulated.  With a tweak here or there, since his bicycle went up in the gallery, there have been a lot of imitators.

I am partially flattered, in truth, as it’s a nice little pat on the back, “hey you did such a nice job designing, I want that too”.  Imitation is a compliment, but my ego wants me to have it all be original and mine and nobody elses.

I want to be terminally unique.

Fact is, I am anything but.  I am human.  I had to change components on my bike a few times.  I was swayed when I saw a pretty bike go out and an interesting match up of components.  I took months to design my ride before I pulled the trigger and wrote up a build sheet.

What I wish I could have expressed to the girl is that she had crafted a really sweet, endearing, pretty bicycle on her own.  She chose a different style of handle bar–the Montmartre–which we special order and she had a different blue paint than what I typically see people buying.

Plus, she had to eat it on the paint job.  She got charged as we painted up the frame.  And she got charged again for having to blast the paint off the frame.  The sucks.  And when the finalized decisions all came down the line, you could see it was muddled.  Too much design left from the old bike and not enough from my bike.

She compromised.

I have learned that I am never happy when I compromise.  I regret it later.  Which, is why I chose to tell Brian to go back to my original bars despite having proceeded forward with a different set upon his recommendations.  I pleased him, not myself, and regretted it the moment I saw the bars.

Gratefully I said something.  And now I have the bars of my dreams, lovingly wrapped in leather Fi’zik tape.  Super sexy.

This is a great reminder to me as I go forward with my plans for the weekend.  Don’t compromise on something because it is cheap or on sale.  Stick with what you want.  Take the time to find out.

My bike was probably seven different colors before I landed on my current paint choice.  But when I made that final decision, I knew.  I knew without a doubt that it was the right call.

I guess some one else did too.

I can empathize with that.

But, I ain’t gonna tell her she picked the wrong color.

No, I am not.

She can have her one-off.  I got the original ride.

 


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