The Lady Or the Tiger
This is a dilemma. I'm sitting here staring at both my bicycles trying to decide which one to load into the back of the SUV tomorrow that will tote my sorry ass back down to Boca Raton. Here are the choices: my 1981 Schwinn Super LeTour, recently converted to single speed and uglied up beyond imagination in a drunken frenzy late one night last month when I was facing real-live homelessness (as in sleeping in my sleeping bag that I didn't have in the woods behind Kmart except the Kmart was run out of business by Walmart and that prevented me from shoplifting a sleeping bag from Kmart to sleep in the woods behind of) or my 1992 Mongoose Alta, which in its day was one bad-ass bicycle and I also converted THAT bicycle to single speed but in a much more dramatic fashion than the Schwinn; the Goose's switch-over involved surgery that required the attention of one of those wandering geniuses that know how to weld aluminum, for yes, the Goose is a child of my previous life before steel, before steel...
But Seriously, Folks
I'm exhausted. As you may have deduced from my recent absence, I am either incarcerated or back at work. It's work, although jail would be far more restful and (except for the food) possibly more rewarding. As I predicted, a couple desperate phone calls resulted in employment and now here am I, typing faster than my pay rate, trying to get the news out before the drugs and alcohol kick in and my forehead crashes into the keyboard, resulting in some kind of cryptography that will bring black helicopters hovering over the Whispering Pines Trailer Park in search of the last straggling extra-terrestrial cyclist from the planet Two-Wheel.
Hey, I said I was exhausted.
So anyway, here am I, wondering which bike to take, although it really isn't a choice: if my ass was on fire and it was either grab Grandma's china or the bicycle (which one?) me and the Schwinn would be pedaling away from the flames and laughing about the fact that we pawned the china grandma never had a long time ago.
I plan to be buried with that bicycle.
The Trailer Park
But the Mongoose ain't bad and she is a hell of a lot of fun to pedal around. Tonight, after a grueling Sunday afternoon spent swilling cheap beer, trying to hustle transportation back South for the beginning of the work week, I returned home to my barn/trailer hoping to find refuge of some kind from this the hard world we live in...but the amazingly obtuse motherfucker in the trailer next door has some kind of inborn need to make lots of noise in the holy period of pre-sundown, the time when we the Naturals begin to tuck in our spirits and get ready for the down-time, the falling of the sun, the quiet time; but not the guy in the trailer next door. Last night at twilight he fired up a big commercial-quality gas powered leaf blower and spent the next fifteen minutes leaf-blowing whatever the hell he could find to blow around in his twelve by fifty foot yard. There ain't any leaves over there, the only thing he was blowing was my fucking cool. Then, tonight, it was a chain saw. A chainsaw.
Twenty years ago I would have gone next door with a baseball bat but tonight, twenty years later, I saddled up the old Mongoose. I poured a subtle blend of Yuengling Black & Tan and Bud Light into my insulated water bottle and then I put some ice in my Goodwill (to all mankind) Messenger Bag and stuck in another can and bottle of each.
We're all cyclists here, so let me remind you of what happened next: I put my foot on the drive-side pedal, hit a stroke and flew away, my soul intact, down the blessed street on which I live and down to the Indian River, the place of my heart and soul and instantly the voracious racket was gone and forgotten and nobody got hurt.
Next thing I knew, I was wading waist deep in the stream that flows both ways (it's a tidal estuary) and watching the August moonrise and glancing like a shy lover at how the falling sun marked the ancient alloy of my goofy little mountain bike turned beer fetcher: she was fetching enough in the peace and serenity of the falling tide and try as I might, I could not remember why my blood had been boiling just moments before.
Just the Facts
Here's what I'm up to: I have been working for the last three weeks in a trade that involves big trucks and lots of bulky heavy gear. I myself have half a thousand pounds of tools stored down there on the job site, in one of those shipping containers. I'm riding my bicycle the ten miles from the motel to the job every day and mooching and hitch-hiking rides from Boca back here to Volusia. I get dropped off anywhere from fifteen to fifty miles from home every Friday, depending on which colleague or cousin gives me a ride; then me and Little Miss Dangerous take over and I become myself again, the Trailer Park Cyclist, Straggling Extra-Terrestrial, Wheelman, Human.
Wader of Streams, Seeker of Understanding, Friend of My Foes: well, you get the picture.
It all starts with that first pedal stroke on the drive side.
Yer pal, tj
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Tidal Estuary
August 18, 2013