Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surviving the "Heat"

It's been a hellish summer here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but we're not alone in enduring what the sun's been dishing out for the past month or so.  Yes, I've been out on the scooter going nowhere, as I usually am when school is out, but the perceived breeze that comes from moving through the air rather than having it blowing past you doesn't relieve a thing.  In fact, I read some time ago that when it gets above about 95° F the "wind chill" factor actually works backwards, making you feel even hotter than the given temperature.  The heat is on!

This past school year was particularly stressful in being that I was the new kid on the block in being moved to an established school.  From nearly day one I looked forward to this summer and prayed that it would be a lot more relaxing than the past two had been with various major issues that warranted a lot of worry.  Here I am, though, half done with said summer and with a new school year looming on the horizon.  I've gone on two trips, one great and one okay.  Next week I'll take my third of four and when it's over I'm going to need some major butt kicking so as not to get into a bleak depression in being on the other side of the halfway point of this vacation.

It was only five springs ago when I first started scootering and it's hard to believe how much my life has changed since then.  I remember when I first got that little Piaggio Fly 50  and rode it home I didn't have much of a care in the world.  I was still at the school where I'd gone as a child and where I had spent 24 years of my adult life as a teacher.  Mom and dad, and all of us were in fairly decent health.  God was in His heaven,  all was right with the world, and I was infinite degrees of awesome in riding around on a cherry red scooter that looked like a toy under my substantial caboose.  

Scootering had been for me, back then, a perfect escape from a life that was nice and easy to begin with.  I get on the beast now hoping for another taste of that unique freedom that riding once provided, only to find that my worries, and concerns, and anxieties too often come along with me for the rides I take.  It was that freedom for which I longed, especially after Christmas when I found myself on the other end of the school year and was counting down the days, but it's now the far side of July and I haven't found it yet.

Yeah, I know all the usual adages.  Life is what you make it.  Make lemonade.  And all that.  They're darned easier on paper, though, than they are in "real life."

Every now and then when I'm off scootering I'll get a whiff of a lawn that had just been mowed and for a little while, at least, it takes me back to the early scooter days when I was much more carefree.  I'm at an age by which I should have everything that's important all figured out, but I don't think I'm any closer to making sense of it all than I was when I got out of high school and started college as a psychology major.  I'll keep trying, though to survive the heat - literally and figuratively.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back in the Saddle

My license arrived in the mail from Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon, but my suspension didn't technically end till midnight.  I waited, and at about 12:30 AM the following morning I decided that I'd take a short spin on the scooter just to celebrate.  It was a hairy ride!

By the time I got to the end of my street I thought I felt the yoke wobbling a little and it seemed as if the bike was pulling a little to either side and not going quite straight.  At first with wishful thinking I thought I was just out of practice, but in the back of my mind I knew better.  I suspected that the front tire might be flat, but when I stopped and leaned to get a peek, it seemed to be inflated.  I made a right turn slowly, and as I came out of it on the straightaway I felt a definite wobble.  Because of the pattern of one way streets in my neighborhood it would take about a half mile to get back to the house.  I rode slowly and took turns gingerly till I was back under the deck safe and sound, but shaking a little because I wasn't sure that I'd make it.

It wasn't till I dismounted to check the tire pressure that I noticed that it was awfully dark.  Because I'd been worried about getting the scooter and me back in one piece I had not even seen that my headlight bulb was kaput and that I'd done my ride only by the glow of streetlights.  There were only 10 pounds of pressure in the tire.  I fired up the compressor, got the pressure up to the recommended 33 psi and came in the house thankful to be back.

When I got up for church I feared the worst when I went out and checked the pressure again.  Thankfully it held right where I'd raised it to so I rode the scooter the short distance to church and then to get some groceries afterward.  When I dropped off the produce I headed back out and rode for about a hour, but not too far from the house just in case.  The pressure's been holding at 33 since I refilled the tire, but I'm still concerned because a tire shouldn't lose 23 pounds of pressure in two weeks just from sitting.

Tomorrow I'll be heading out to western Pennsylvania for the second of four such trips I've planned for this summer.  I'm playing tuba in their community band and for 30 some years of not having played I'm not displeased with how I'm doing.  It's like riding a bike!  Somehow it all comes back to you.