Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Proverbial Picture...

...that's worth 1,000 words...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Triumph! (Not like Steve's)

Snow storms are like bad back pains in that, when you're in the thick of them, it seems like there will never be any relief. Such was the case just last week when I could do little more than watch the white crap accumulate on two consecutive snow days off from school. I had a trip out west (Okay, western Pennsylvania, not Dodge City.) planned for only two days later and held my breath with each flake in hoping they'd get the mess off the roads in time, but worse in terms of the long run, I'd feared I'd not get the scooter on the road for a long, long time.

I took this shot only 10 day ago, around 11 PM, using a 2.5 second shutter speed, without a flash. The sky was that surrealistic kind of bright that it is when a thick snow covers the ground. In thinking that I'd be able to pull off the shot using only the ambient light, I was right, but found little use for rejoicing in it because any fleeting joy wouldn't have melted the snow any faster - and I wanted it gone, preferably the day before it started falling.

(And I paused here to go out and buy a new computer keyboard. The one I'd gotten last week to replace old reliable had the DELETE, END, PAGE UP, etc. keys in the "wrong" places and I'd finally had it with going to back space and not being able to without looking down.)

Anyway, the triumph about which I named this post was that I was able to get the BV out and running today!

I didn't do any of that awesome introspection that I'd moaned about not being able to do with the scooter trapped under the deck by the snow. I just rode! And I enjoyed ever turn of the tires like a little kid on some kind of amusement park ride. With a fresh haircut and beard trim earlier in the day I look perfectly dapper perched on the cycle.

Creature of habit who I am, I rode to a place that I haunt frequently in the spring, summer, and fall, though I knew the gates would be drawn and it would be closed. Last year when I rode there at this time of year it was icy. Now, it wasn't so bad with the snow melting in patches.

My grandma's house, when I was growing up, was only a few doors away from here. My house, which once belonged to a friend of hers is similar in style including the alleyway that leads from the front sidewalk to the back yard. My favorite toy back then when I was still of pre-school age was a little, red fire truck - the kind with a set of pedals that would put it into motion with foot power, on a flat surface. Flat surfaces were boring. I preferred to lug the thing up grandma's alley, hop in, and then coast faster than I could pedal with what seemed like a blazing speed down the slope to the back of the house and halfway across the lawn. I rode like that for hours, day after summer day, one summer after the next until my interests turned toward other things - or maybe I just grew too big for my little red truck which I still remember with much fondness.

For all the times I've arrived back here on the BV and ridden it down the alley to park it under the deck, it didn't strike me until today that my ride from the front of the house to the back is a lot like those rides of my childhood. When I realized that I gripped the brakes a little harder and savored the slow roll down the slight slope with a huge grin on my face. It was one of those moments that you can't really share with anybody because its life is so much a part of one's personal self. The best I can wish is for everybody to feel occasionally one of those really neat throwbacks to a time when life was much simpler and joy could be found in the simplest of things. I like life simple - like in a little red fire truck, and a big, gray scooter.

Oh! I forgot to mention the bell on that truck... I don't know how grandma could stand its incessant ringing, but I never remember having heard her complain about it. Maybe there's a definition of love to be found in that...

Love is accepting joyfully and smiling about the things that drive you crazy about somebody you love. Sometimes it's a toy truck with a shrill bell. Sometimes it's an Italian restaurant with crappy cell phone service.  I'm still working on that one.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stinking Groundhog

It would appear that winter will indeed linger for a while before decent riding weather is back with us. Though we missed the huge storm over the weekend we paid the piper sufficiently today. The BV will sit silently once again till all this new stuff melts and evaporates. It does sap the spirit some when one can't hop on the bike and just hit the road when the whim strikes.

I find myself wondering what I did for all those years, before I got my first taste of scootering, when I needed to unwind and introspect as I do when I'm out riding. I can't think of a thing I ever did that gives me the same kind of cerebral and emotional satisfaction as I get when I'm cruising around on the scooter and wrestling with issues and concerns that need pondering, kneading, and juggling. If I'm sitting in a stationary chair it's too easy to be distracted by the computer, the TV, nearby conversation and the like, and once I'm distracted, there goes whatever focus I might have been giving to some idea.

Riding demands concentration and steady alertness. That same hyper vigilance that I'm giving to staying upright and out of contact with other vehicles or the ground seems to be transferred to my thought processes in general. Aw, heck! I just pay better attention to myself when I'm on the scooter. It's not the same when driving the car. Though that needs concentration too, I don't think it's nearly the same kind as when you're as vulnerable as your precious cranium is when you're on two wheels. Ergo, what you get out of your head isn't of the same quality on four wheels. And more than four wheels? Forget it! I think there's an inverse correlation between the number of wheels and mental activity, ability, and quality. (Luckily, the folks whom I might have insulted here won't know what "inverse correlation" means and won't come gunning for me with their rigs.)

So, here I sit unable to get my brain in the right gear 'cause the snow has the scooter grounded. Whatever will I do with all of these thoughts that demand pondering in the mean time? Perhaps I'll assign them numbers based on priority and wait for the thaw to hit. Big, chunky, stinky ones to the front of the line. Feeble little pellets, to the rear. Or is that from the rear?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I heard one of the local newscasters yesterday refer to "Snowmageddon" but I was only listening over my shoulder while I was here at the computer, and only half listening so I couldn't even figure out what the heck he was saying from context.  It wasn't till this morning when I read the invented term on CNN that the light went off in my head and I realized what the guy had said yesterday.

For the first time, to my conscious knowledge, a major snow storm tracked far enough to our south to leave us unscathed.  Two feet of snow in Washington, D.C. and this is what I awoke to yesterday morning...

What I didn't sweep with a broom was melted by noon and we were dry!  The car didn't even need to be brushed off.  The wind was sufficient to clear the light amount of snow that had fallen from its smooth surface.

Another storm is headed this way for Wednesday.  I'll hope for a rerun of this one!