Speaking Confidentially: Wednesday, 18 June 1997

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Bicycling and Books

Today I was all happy and ready to ride my bike to work. RDC patched the back tire last night--the culprit was another of those stubby-bottomed, short, lethal thorns along Cherry Creek. Really huge. If I keep picking them up all summer I'll have enough to make a crown.

Or to poke out a lendri's eye. "Frith above, Pipkin!' said Speedwell, sniffing at the thorn where it lay on a pebble. 'You'd better collect a few more like that: then you can make a notice board and frighten Fiver.' You might have poked the lendri's eye out for us, if you'd only known.'
"'Lick the place, Hlao,' said Hazel. 'Lick it until it feels better and then go to sleep.'" Richard Adams, Watership Down.

Anyway so there I am, cruising along Mississippi, ignoring the catcalls of a group of workers waiting for the #11, thinking the front tire it sounds like the treads trapped a pebble. Like that really should annoy me so much. So I dismount, spin the wheel, and spot what looks like a pebble several millimeters square. Aha, the culprit, think I, so clever. I plucked it out. No pebble. Thorn. And I could hear the air bursting out of the puncture. (The "think I" is the Melville influence from Moby-Dick; the "so clever" is from The Hundred Secret Senses. I haven't read Austen in weeks, anyway. And the "no pebble, thorn," is from the punchline of a joke I don't remember, "No soap, radio!")

Last night I had another lesson in bike maintenance, but today I didn't apply it. Spank me, is it so bad I'd rather have someone else do it? I was less than a mile from home with a full if rapidly emptying tube. I rode home, and when I got there the tire was only beginning to get soft. So I didn't kill the rim. I showered and pulled on the clothes I'd packed into my messenger bag and even had time to braid my hair neatly and in front of the mirror, instead of hastily while looking for the next tape of my book. A big improvement.

And I caught the bus. Poop, what a loser.

At work one of the first things I learned is that our Eco-Passes have been approved! At $10 a month deducted from my paycheck, what a good thing that is, especially with the fare increases beginning next month.

RDC called me this morning to tell me the latest wonderful thing Blake has done. He stood on the bar begging, RDC thought to be picked up. So he leaned over so Little Guy could jump on his shoulder, and he did, but instead of staying on the shoulder watching RDC make coffee or oatmeal or a shake or whatever, he crossed RDC's back and started to climb down his other arm toward the forbidden counter. Blake knows very well he's not allowed on the kitchen counter and so usually he sneaks there--jumping onto it from his approved play area is a guaranteed way to get our attention and to be picked up. But RDC spotted on the counter what he really wanted: not to be naughty but to get to my water glass. He was thirsty, and he would have to be parched to trot to his cage, climb in, and drink there when to do so would mean leaving the room one of us is in.

Later we talked and RDC told me Blake was on top of his cage gazing at the ceiling. How he got fixated on the ceiling and fell in love with it I don't know. I don't want to hear any captive-bird Freudian sky ideas, either. Also he had gone with RDC to get the mail. RDC was going to bring him outside for a bit but there were some kids playing ball. Kids frighten Blake, I think because they move faster and less predictably than the adults he is used to, and maybe also because they're such a weird size, and then to add a bouncing ball to their frighteningnesses, it's better for him to stay in.

He yelled last night from the safety of my lap while we worked at the computer. I looked up to see why and saw a family walking by, obviously toward the pool. Damn. It was 8:30. I look forward to my evening swims as kidless swims. I don't dispute their right to the pool but oosh, I swear I was better behaved as a child than many of my neighbors. Well behaved because I feared my parents so, okay, but still. I worked until 9:30 or so and took a few laps of breaststroke before showering and reading The Hundred Secret Senses in bed. I began it at lunch yesterday and I can tell I'll like it. Today at lunch I have to go to the bank and the post office. I love working downtown.

RDC asked when I was going to post my site. I don't know. I've got all this touchy-feely stuff but not anything for activism, libraries, or publishing. A little demonstration of my real priorities, I guess: but do I want to publicize that? Apparently. Checking all the links, though, and spell-checking, and proof-reading. Bleah.

I borrowed "Howards End" from the library last week. From Koelbel, actually, because I was in DTC taking Excel training (better than the Word training because I didn't know it all already). HAO says she wants to pen her sister and me in a ring and let us battle out "A Room with a View" against "Howards End." I'll never say any movie with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson is bad, but I do aver that "Room" is more fun because less guilt-inducing. "The poor are poor, one is sorry for them, and there it ends." No such difficulties when the biggest question in your life is whether you can go for a walk during your engagement party. As far as actual directing, producing, technical aspects, I have no idea. They're both Merchant-Ivory, so the directing and producing are by the same people and there can't be much technical--"More cheesecloth here, Ishmael!"

I have reached the point in Moby-Dick when Ahab has the blacksmith make him new harpoon points out of his razors and asks the heathen harpooners for blood to temper the points in, because water isn't quite right. Yowza. This book has been painful enough with its descriptions of whaling, dismembering, flensing, and rendering and Ishmael's explicit assertion that whales can never be hunted out, as he has known the American Bison to be. Chowderhead (literally). Tempering harpoon points in donated blood, though. Okay, that's not as bad as whale extinction, but I've been waiting for Ahab to demonstrate his monomania more and now it comes. Chapter 116 and side 2 of tape 13 of 15. Time's a-wasting; something's got to happen soon.

RDC and I will meet at the DU gym this afternoon. Three afternoons a week and I hope more frequent bike-ridings to work ought to be good for me this summer. I don't kid myself that doings laps in my abbreviated pool is going to skinnify me. Monday I did 26 of 30' at Level 9 on the Stairmaster and ten minutes at 15% elevation and 4 mph on the treadmill. Today I will do more than 26' at 9. In two weeks I should add hand weights for at least some intervals in my half-hour. I should make up a chart.

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Last modified 20 June 1997

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