When does your mind really wonder? I wonder...
Certain activities are good for the brain. Not in a stimulating, educational way but in a filtering therapeutic sense. Sometimes you need to flood your head with endorphins just to let the garbage settle to the bottom and the cream rise to the top.
I usually commute at a pace somewhere between a leisurely stroll (10 or 12 mph for me) and at an athletic pace (18 to 22mph for me) down the trails and through the streets. When I really need to burn the cobs out, on a day like today for instance, I'll dance down the trail at 16 to 20 mph. It's aggressive, but not reckless.
A good rockin' ride gives you so much to think about that the other clutter fades away. Small, quick, attention deficit disorder like, meaningless thoughts.
Let me tell you about my Monday. I left the house at 6:20 it was a gorgeous morning with a light breeze in my face and a bit of fog lingering over the south side of the city. I felt strong and my bike was quick and nimble. The ride into work was invigorating and too short. I was there at 7:00. I'd have slowed down had I known what I was walking into.
At the office I was greeted with many voice-mails, dozens of emails and three reports that were due in as many hours. It was a constant juggling act between my desk phone, my cell, emails coming in faster than I could read them, texts from home, and the boss poking his head in for quick answers about what went wrong in my area over the weekend.
Then, things got busy, and continued to escalate from there. It's not like I was pink-slipped or got another email about an across the board salary reduction. I'm not saying it was a horrible day. But it was kinda hectic. And by this time next week I probably won't remember anything significant about today's disasters and urgent fires that had to be put out.
I spent nine hours as a liaison between customers, contractors, retailers, my staff, job applicants, management and other departments as well as working my way through my regular duties. My brain was mush and I needed time to think of inconsequential things.
I left at 4:00 to be greeted by a healthy tail wind and it was on! I shot down 56th and the vibrations of the street were working their magic on me like no massage ever could. I inhaled freedom and exhaled stress as I stretched my lungs and got my heart pumping again.
For the next 3/4 of an hour the quick easy thoughts that floated around between my ears were focused on staying balanced on two 1.25 inch wide pieces of rubber as fast as I could while dancing across the city.
My priorities became a matter of making quick decisions that could get me home under my own power while having the time of my life, all the while avoiding injury or death My thoughts darted everywhere from:
Does she see me? Will she make a right on red? Hello! Over here! She sees me, go for it! Wait! She doesn't! She's going to turn, dang! Stop the bike. No, go! She sees me. Wait! Wait? Dang, if she didn't have that phone pasted to her ugly face maybe she'd see me. Stop. Don't trust her to look. She didn't, good thing I waited. Clear now? Yea! Go! Car behind me. Look back. Smile, Ha! Makes em feel bad their stuck in their coffins. Do a bunny hop over the curb just as icing on the cake. Ha! Ha! Bet he wishes he was me!
Runner coming. Ohh, no! No! Come on man. That's nasty. Yea, you need to be out here working out. Kudos for that. But, please!?!? Must you have your shirt off? That's just gross. You'll freak the girls and kids out. Weirdo. What was that you did with your hand? A wave? Ok. Fine. I won't be stuck-up. Nod. Scowl while looking at his harry spare tire. Weirdo. Keep jogging pal. Right to the store. To buy yourself A SHIRT!!!
Choke. Whew! Hold my breath. Longer. Ok. Wow. That trucks exhaust was bad! I need no gas. Ha! ha! Hmm. $2.59 a gallon. My pick-up gets 13 in the city, the drive is a little over 17. Carry the 1. Move the decimal. Geesh, $3.40? Hmm. Yea. $3.40 a day. Times 5... 15. 16. 17 something? $17 a week. Cool! Times 52? Augh. Forget it. Lets just say I deserve a new bike. Yea. A new bike. For me. Yea. A fast one. A nimble one. A cyclecross. That'd be perfect. A cyclecross. Then I'd rock! Then I'd be cool. A carbonfiber fork. Flat bars. Ohh, that'd be perfect. Much better than this old farts comfort series bike. Good bike though. Was never intended for this abuse. More for grandpa to ride around the campground. I could buy a new bike. No I can't. Bills. Braces. Bills. The kids toution. No I can't. I should. I just can't. But a cyclecross. That'd be the bike for me.
Bunny. Bunny? Bunny! No! Wrong way! Breaks! Breaks!! Run! Other way you dummy! Stupid rabbit. Yeah! That's it. Off the trail. Whew.
Bike up. Looks slow, he's mine! Do I? Oh yea! But, it's early... Too early? Yea. Nah. Trails clear... Why not? Ok. Here goes. Grab a gear. Click. Another. Click. Closing in. Closer. Ha! Ha! Say it. Say it. No not yet. How loud? Now. Say it now! "ON YOu'r lefT!" Don't breath. He'll hear you, and know how hard your working to take him. Don't breath. Breath! "Hello!" turn. Smile big. :) Turn back. Pedal. Spinning out. Click. Click. Pedal. Pedal. Don't breath. Don't breath. Turn back and look. Yep. I'm past. Swerve back to the right side. Ok. Breath. "huff, puff, gasp, gasp!" Ha! Ha! I smoked him! Yeah! See you tomorrow buddy. Same time, same place. Gosh, you could set your watch by that guy. Ha! Ha!
Dog! Dog walker. Do they see me? Getting close. Getting close! Hello? Good! They see me. Ha! He yanked his mutt back to their side of the trail. Ha! Ha! Dumb dog! Smile. Nod down. "hi."
Another intersection. My stop. No lights. One way from the left. Look left. Can't see. Stupid construction equipment is still in the way. Look left again. Cars? Cars? Yea? No? No. No! Check right just incase. Clear! Look behind me. Cop? No cop. Finger tips on breaks. Coasting. Closer. Closer. No cars? No cars! Hit it! Augh! Sill in big gears. Shift. Shift. Shift. Better? Pedal. Yea! Rock on! Car coming on left, 2 blocks away. Lean down. Right foot at 1:00. Now!!! Yank up! Mash pedal! Yea! A wheelie! Pedalpedalpedal! Keep it going to the crack in the road! Pedalpedalpedal! Ok. Down. Ha! Ha! Who rocks? I DO! WHOO HOO!
Car back. Go faster. Stay right. Need to turn left. Look back. Stay straight. Yea. Their back there. Look again. Their waiting. One more time. Yep. They are waiting. Signal left. Look back. Ok. Its mine! Go. Go! Wave them thanks. Turn sharp back onto trail. Turn. Turn. Sharper! Too sharp? Quick! Left pedal up! Sharper. If I skid where do I go? Grass then fence. Yea, its going to stick! Yea! Yea! Oh yea! Now that's what I'm talking about!!! Ha! Ha! I'm so skilled! Mentally high-five myself.
Curve. Pedal. Pedal. Pedal. Cut in tight. Wweeee! Yea! This is too much fun for an adult! Hee! Hee!
Huh? What the? Wow! But.. Oh! Mmm. Roller blader. Trail hogs usually. Swerve right. Hmm. Girl. Farther right. Smile. Nod. Wow! Damn!!! Wow!!! Don't look back. Wife. Wife. Wife. Wife. Wife. I love my wife. She's pretty too. Err, ummm. She's prettier than the roller blade girl! Yea! Think of something else... Quick! Anything. Ummm. My bike! My, bike, my, bike... My bike needs... chain lube! I should do that when I get home! Ahh. Clear mind. No guilt. Yea. Chain lube. Where'd I put that? Garage. Yes, in the garage. The chain lube is in the garage. Lube, chains, and the roller blade girl in my garage. Hmmm. No! NononoNO! Bad! Bad. Bad. Bad. Think Wife. Wife. Wife. Ohhh, I need to find a different trail or I'll be getting divorced.
Gosh it's beautiful outside today. How can this line of people sit in their coffins and eat and smoke and fart and stew like they do? Other guys... What do they do after work to unwind? Twist off at a bar? Drop a load at their girlfriends before going home to the wife? These people just don't know what their missing! Ahhh. Deep breath, sun feels good. Breath in... What? What the? No. Augh! Damn! Bug!!! SPIT! Gone? No! Augh! SpitspitspitSPIT!!! There, that's better. Get water. Shwishshwishswish. Ssssppppittt. Ahh, that's better. Yuck. Hate bugs.
Almost home. Already? Time? 4:42. That's good! I'm fast. Walker up. In middle of trail? Give me a break. Look out. Come on. Right. Right. Please you dummy. Get on the right side. Now? Yes "ON Your Left!" hear me? Hello? Headphones? Yes. Dumb headphones. Ok louder now. "ON YOOOUUURRR LLLEEEEFFFTTT" Hear me? Good. Thanks. Faster. Pedalpedalpedal. Turn. Smile. "Hellop!" smile. Pedalpedalpedal. Ha! Suckah! Get a bike buddy!
The house. Ahh home. The kids. The wife. Wife. Wife. Wife. Mmmmm. I love my wife. Roller blade chick. Where'd that thought come from? No! Stop that! Wifewifewifewife. Breaks. Unclip. Up and over. Whew. Stretch. Gggrrrrr! Roooaaaarrr! I'm such an animal! Who rocks? I rock! Whoo hoo!
Park the bike. Needs to be ready for the next ride. Next ride? When? Now? Yea! Can't. Dang. Tomorrow? Yea! :) Hmmm. When? Early. Where? Work. Huh? Work? Yea, work. Oh, yea! Work. I almost forgot about work. Bike to work. Work to bike. The job? Hhmmm. It's a job... you know. The commute? Oh yea! I love my commute!!! I'd tell you about it... But you'd never get it.
Today's miles to work and back = 19.81.