The Once And Future Has-Been (Again)
Sigh. It was bound to happen: the higher you climb, the more people there are shooting at you.
Hear my tale of woe: It's All Over! No longer am I the Head (Only) Big Man In Charge of Fix-It at the Whispering Pines Trailer Park. After days of struggle to climb to the top of the heap here at The Heap, I was shot in the foot by that most rascally of hunters: Myself.
Yea and Verily, it was Me My Ownself who perpetrated my downfall.
In other words, I Quit.
Who Was Alzheimer Anyway?
Why, you ask? Even if you don't ask, I'll tell you. Have you ever been internally nagged by some, well, nagging feeling that something just ain't right? You know, where you find yourself buttering your toast in the morning and suddenly realize you already buttered the other side and you just put sugar and cream in your coffee only to remember that you normally drink your coffee black?
Tourette Sounds Like A Bicycle Brand
Or you notice that you are mumbling a lot and cussing unexpectedly so that your Yellow Dog hides under the Trailer and thinks that you are looking at her and thinking about dog-fur gloves in preparation for the Winter of Your Discontent, even though it is still not so Glorious Summer in a Crappy Trailer Park in Florida?
I realize that Both of My Readers are fabulously wealthy and only come here to see how the Bottom Third lives. But since you are here you might as well listen to my Sad Tale and then I'll say something about Two Wheeled Conveyances instead of Two-Faced Contrivances.
(Or not. Suffice to say, I am a bit off balance right now and when I am Off Balance, I Ride. Which is ironic, if you think about it.)
How It All Began
Friday night, while helping Miss Jo the New Trailer Park Manager clear out some Extra Alcohol she had laying around I wisely decided to engage in High Pressure Contract Negotiations. At that time I was President and Head (Only) Member of the Florida International Brotherhood of Trailer Fix-It Men and therefore authorized to do whatever it takes to Hammer Out a Better Deal for my Constituency (Me).
It didn't go so good.
Big Brother Is Watching
The next morning I had some vague intuition that something was wrong and I better look outside before opening the front door to let my Nervous Dog out to do her business.
“Okay”, I think. “So far, so good.” I took the Winn-Dixie plastic grocery bag full of empty beer cans and headed for the dumpster. Somehow, an empty Tequila Bottle had got in there, also. Now where did that come from? “This ain't good,” I thought.
You worry to much, the Voice said. Then, when I got to the dumpster, I noticed Miss Jo's Brother's car was at the Office.
Uh Oh, the Voice said.
“Shut up, Voice,” I said, probably out loud, which is always a bad sign. Miss Jo's Brother sometimes goes around collecting rent with a gun on his hip. Seriously. As crazy as I am, I could never make this stuff up.
Looks like somebody is gonna get schooled, said the Voice.
“Looks like a good day for a bicycle ride”, I said back. “And shut up, Voice.”
What a Beautiful Day! (To Cut and Run)
I walked casually (but quickly) back to my Trailer, grabbed my Long Ride Stuff and saddled up my old Schwinn Le Tour. My LRS consists of a cheap messenger bag from Goodwill loaded with a spare tube, a patch kit, a pump and some tire irons. There is also a pressure gauge and I throw in my wallet and my cell phone and a couple bananas and some trail mix, if I have any. While I was doing this I explained to Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog that it would be a Long Day and I loved her and if anybody knocks don't answer and then I hid the house key in its conspicuous hiding place and GTF outta there.
I Am A Lion
Cowardly, you say? Perhaps. But it has long been a policy of mine to allow a Cooling Off Period between confrontations, particularly when it had mostly been me doing the confronting. Also, one of the best ways to win an argument is to not have it. Plus, it really was a great day for a ride.
My plan was simple. Ride as far as Daytona, take a break, and see how I felt. Seventeen easy miles. (Actually, they are all easy miles. Florida is Flat.) So I did. Sometimes, I like to take simple, Easy Rides To Nowhere. This Serendipitous Saturday would be one of them. But somewhere in that crinkled corner of my brain where the Truth (and The Voice) lives, I knew. I was going for the Long Ride. I have twice this year been thwarted in my Sunday Century efforts on the fifty miles or so to Flagler Beach, and today I was going to sneak up on it, grab a couple beers and coast home. One little bite at a time.
What is it about sneaking up on distance that works so well? Zeno the Eleatic told some kind of paradox about an Arrow In Flight. Anywhere the arrow is, within its own length, for any split moment of time, it is at rest. Cycling can be like this. There have been days when I seemingly without effort cover miles and miles of quiet wandering on my bike and find myself amazed to eventually find myself back home. Today, by carefully not planning anything special, I was Sneaking Up On a Hundred Miles.
Water, Water Everywhere
There is a long stretch of ten miles or so after Ormond By the Sea of empty road with no shoulder on the northbound lane because the Atlantic Ocean is only a few feet away. But the southbound side has a good enough bike lane on the shoulder as well as a sidewalk/bike trail. I was riding this expansion-joint-filled Sidewalk Singletrack swiftly and easily, pushing into a mild headwind that I was hoping would hold out so I would have a sweet tailwind push for the ride back. There was a lone cyclist in front of me, far ahead. I was thirsty. Yes, I had water in my bottle. But I was thirsty, if you know what I mean.
It's Five o'Clock Somewhere
I caught up with the guy and from behind, for just an instant, I thought I had stumbled across Jimmy Buffet on a Bicycle. But no, as I pulled abreast I saw it was just another Margaritaville Dude like myself. Hey, Man, It's Florida.
“Hey Brother,” I said. “They got any beer around here?” He was momentarily startled.
“Uh, yeah, man, the A1A Market, about three miles up.” Three Miles? Dammit, Man, I'm thirsty!
Only one thing to do.
“Thanks Bro, “ I said. “Three Miles? I can do that.” I was already riding in the drops, but I leaned over a little deeper (headwind) and Kicked It In. The Jimmy Buffet Cyclist yelled something as I took off but I couldn't hear him. It was already Mile Fifty or so and Three More Miles Before Beer seemed a Little Daunting but I learned long ago, When Daunted: Sprint.
Ocean Mist and Cheap Beer
You might want to save some gas for the return, said the Voice.
“I ain't never goin' back, Voice!” I yelled. There was a sweet little two foot Florida breaking wave over there in the Ocean on my right hand. Up here in Flagler County the ocean mist is always present and this part of the coast has some really clear turquoise water. There was Beer Ahead and I had this little piece of Florida Real Estate all to myself, just Right Here and Now in this Perfect Split Moment of Precious Time.
Zeno had it right: Always stay Joyously at Rest during any part of Your Flight and Never Will You Be Daunted.
All's Well That Ends Well Most of the Time
The return trip? Well, as you guys all know, the first half is the funnest. On the ride home I had that tailwind I was hoping for, for what it was worth. All the same, grinding South down US One is a Chore of a Bike Ride. But as the Man (me) said, Any Bike Ride is Better than Facing the Music. And Me and the Voice knew all too well that the Piper Awaited back at the Trailer Park and She damn well would have to be paid.
It was still a hell of a day, said the Voice.
“It sure was, Buddy,” I said, “and we were looking for a job when we found this one.”
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Unemployment Line