A Theme Runs Through It
was The Year of Recovery.
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.
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
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.)
of course, was The Year of the Wedding. I'm sure there are some
audience members who feel the less said about that,
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
Recovery. Relocation. Reinvention. Remarriage.
on the other hand, has been The Year Without A Theme. At least, so far.
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.
hoping to change that this weekend.
wants me to buy another Trek 7700 ... a clone of the bike that got
"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
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.
hurting his feelings is the last thing in the world I ever want to do.
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?"
won't understand this one either, of course. But
at least he can write it off as a "girl thing."
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?)
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.
then we can get on with The Year of the Toe Clips ... already in
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?!]