May 3, 2002
A Theme Runs Through It

1998 was The Year of Recovery.

A lot of interesting stuff happened to me that year: I lived in The Tree House for six months ... *FootNotes* was born ... I heard Jill Sobule's "Happy Town" for the first time ... I fell in love with a man from the Baby Boomer Chat Room, packed all of my wordly belongings into a rusty U-Haul and moved to California. 

But it was the struggle with new sobriety that defined 1998 for me.

1999 was The Year of California: learning my way around the Bay Area ... acclimating myself to the culture and the climate ... figuring out where the good radio stations/the good jobs/the good clothes hangers were located. 

2000 -- my second year of Accidental Executive Assitude -- was The Year of The Dwarf Schefflera. (Or as it's more popularly known, The Year of Not-Killing-Franz-Totally-Dead.)

2001, of course, was The Year of the Wedding. I'm sure there are some audience members who feel the less said about that, the better.

The point is that each year, since I started writing *FootNotes,* has had a specific, clearly-identifiable theme running through it. Obviously I'm not talking about world events here: I'm talking about a personal 'background motif' that has defined each of those years in singular and memorable ways. 

Recovery. Relocation. Reinvention. Remarriage.

2002, on the other hand, has been The Year Without A Theme. At least, so far.

This is not for lack of trying. When the year began -- and January is already starting to feel like something that happened a previous lifetime or two ago -- I was convinced that this was going to be a whizbang year of challenge and accomplishment and endless self-aggrandizing photo opportunities. Instead, so far 2002 has been running a lot like my last car: it takes forever to warm up, it starts and stops without warning, it falls apart in places you weren't expecting it to fall apart, and when you're not looking, somebody breaks into it and steals your stuff.

I'm hoping to change that this weekend.

David wants me to buy another Trek 7700 ... a clone of the bike that got stolen. 

"You liked the Trek, didn't you?" he asks me, over and over again, and I tell him yes, the Trek was a fine bike, I loved it, I miss it, I hope the person who stole it develops permanent inoperable bleeding polyps in unspeakable places. What I don't tell him is that riding the Trek scared the poop out of me, most of the time. I don't tell him that I was never wild about the bike's starkly masculine color scheme. (Don't they make a 7700 in *FootNotes* Green and Dusty Rose?) I don't tell him that even if the Trek hadn't been stolen -- even if I'd ridden it for years, instead of weeks, long enough to get comfy with it and give it a name and form an emotional attachment to it, the way I did with Addie -- I STILL may never have gotten used to the hideously uncomfortable seat, the 43,897,621 different gear combinations or the deadly, crotch-unfriendly top tube. (A couple more of those hard-braking stops, Honey, and you can forget about lighting that headboard candle tonight.)

I certainly don't tell David that there were times when riding the Trek felt like an arranged marriage: that I felt obligated to like it, a lot of the time, simply because *he* had picked it out for me. He wouldn't understand that one at all: as a matter of fact, it would probably hurt his feelings.

And hurting his feelings is the last thing in the world I ever want to do.

So instead, I'll simply tell him that I'd like to look around and 'see what else is out there,' bikewise. "If somebody steals your purse," I'll say, "you don't run right out and buy the exact same purse, do you? Don't you shop around a little and see if there might be something you like even better, first?"

He won't understand this one either, of course.  But at least he can write it off as a "girl thing."

I don't know whether we'll actually end up buying the new bike this weekend. I hope we do ... but I just don't know yet. We may simply end up visiting a handful of our favorite groovy bike stores -- in Alameda, in Berkeley, in Walnut Creek and points beyond -- and take a look at what they've got on the showroom floor. We might poke around on the Internet and do a little more research. We might turn around and go back to the bike store on Park Street and custom-order something, built specifically to accomodate my frame and technical abilities and  exasperatingly exacting standards. (They do make vibrating bike saddles ... right?)

On the other hand, we might come home with another Trek 7700. You never know. I'm leaving all possibilities open. The important thing is that we get my butt back on a bike as soon as possible, before I lose my motivation, before I lose my mind ... and before any more of 2002 dribbles away without a theme.

And then we can get on with The Year of the Toe Clips ... already in progress.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

p.s. happy sixteenth birthday, tomorrow, to the world's greatest son. [if you're reading this, boo-boo, and you call me in the NEXT FIFTEEN MINUTES ... i'll buy you a CAR, OK?!]

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