June 8, 2001
Pinch Me


Bicycle Anxiety Dream #1:

I'm riding my bike in extreme slow motion.

Even though I'm pedalling as hard and as steady as I can  --  on a flat surface, in a comfortable gear, with the wind at my back  --  it doesn't seem to be doing a bit of good. In fact, it almost seems as though the faster I pedal, the slower I go.

Plus now my rear tire has begun to make an ominous 'thwump-thwump-thwump' noise.

"Wait a minute!" I shout ahead to David. "I think something's wrong with my bike!" 

But he has zoomed off down the trail: his red Hello Kitty bike helmet is becoming little more than a speck in the distance. He doesn't hear my distress call ... nor does he see me come to a grinding halt in the middle of the bike path.

I look down at Addie's rear tire: it is little more than a puddle of useless rubber, flapping against the pavement.

(Jesus. Maybe that wasn't just an empty pop bottle I ran over, three or four miles ago.)

David still hasn't noticed that I'm in trouble ... and now he's so far ahead of me on the trail that I can't even see his red bike helmet anymore. I kick my flat tire in frustration. It's already 7:30 p.m. on a work night, and I still have a ton of stuff to do ... we're at least two miles from home, and I'm tired, sweaty and ravenous ... our fudking baked potatoes are probably exploding in the oven, even as we speak ...

Hold it.

I'm NOT dreaming ... am I?

Nope. I'm not. I am actually wide awake and standing in the middle of the bike trail in front of the abandoned Navy Base. I check my rear tire, and sure enough: it is flatter than a Home Ec souffle. There are no obvious puncture wounds  --  no nails or shards of glass or four-inch kitchen knives sticking out of the tire  --  but I've clearly done some serious damage here. (I thought I heard a vaguely-disturbing *crunch* sound when I accidentally ran over that pop bottle, but I'd assumed it was OK to run over plastic. Now I'm not so sure.)

Fortunately it only takes David a minute or two to realize that I'm no longer trailing along directly behind him. Soon he has doubled back and is riding towards me with a worried expression. "What's up?" he says.

"I've got a flat tire," I announce grimly ... and unnecessarily.

Ironically, we had been discussing this very eventuality less than an hour earlier, as we were beginning our Wednesday night ride around the Navy Base. David pointed out that we weren't carrying the right kind of tools to remove my tires, should a flat occur. "We're going to have to go the bike shop this weekend," he'd said, "and make sure we get a new repair kit for you."

Fat lot of good that was gonna do us now.

David pokes and prods at Addie's rear tire, even though we both know that it's hopeless. "Guess we're gonna have to hoof it back to the apartment," he says.


Two miles on a bike is one thing. Two miles pushing a bike is quite a different story entirely ... especially when one is already tired and sweaty and ravenous and worried about potatoes exploding in one's oven. But he's right: there really isn't anything else we can do, at this point. And being a poor sport or a crybaby or a princess about the situation isn't going to fix my flat tire. I grab Addie by the handlebars and stoically begin to push her along the bike trail. David gallantly dismounts from his Cannondale and pushes his bike alongside me. We plod along companionably ... the *thwump-thwump-thwump* of my punctured tire maintaining an annoying counterpoint rhythm as we go. It's sorta fun ... in an incredibly inconvenient, sweaty, exhausting way, I mean.

For about two minutes.

Almost immediately, we both begin to realize that this may be a slightly more arduous endeavor than either one of us is in the mood for. At the rate we're moving -- or not moving -- there will be pieces of exploded baked potato and Ugly Pink Stove splattered all over the ceiling by the time we get home.

"You wait here," David says finally. "I'll ride the rest of the way back to the apartment and get the car."

I knew there was a reason I'm marrying this man.

I plunk my weary butt onto a patch of grass next to the road, pulling off my sweaty bike helmet, and I wave as David goes soaring off down the road towards the apartment. As I watch his red bike helmet disappearing into the distance again, I'm thinking There he goes: my very own knight in shining armor. He's going to ride all the way back to the apartment and pick up the car ... and then he's going to turn around and come back and rescue me and my poor little crippled bike ... and then once we're home, he'll drag Addie into the living room and turn her upside down and carefully, expertly patch her ruined tire -- or, if it turns out that she's too badly damaged, he'll go to the bike shop and buy her a brand-new tube -- and he'll expect me to watch over his shoulder as he does the repair work, and he'll explain everything that he's doing, just so I'll know how to do it myself should the need ever arise and he's not there to help me ...

... and he'll do all of this without expending a single solitary *complaint molecule.*

For the second time this evening I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

p.s. the new david duchovny movie, "evolution," comes out in theaters today. i'm not going to rush right out and see it ... because i've ALREADY seen it. and so have you. (*i* saw it at a special pre-screening last night. *you've* seen it if you've ever seen "ghostbusters.")

p.p.s. seeya tomorrow, bev!

one year ago: delayed caffeination

throw a rock