Tweet from Friday: “Went on 1st bike ride in over a year yesterday, and nothing is sore! My crotch is strong like hammers!”
Last summer, I bought a bike. I bought it new because St. Louis is full of douchebag hipsters riding Frankenbike fixies and it’s impossible to find anything used after February. I was okay with the newness because I figured I’d ride it all the time and even though I was unemployed, I had the money. (I have this weird habit of only buying things I can afford. While some people I know buy a camera and subsist on rice and beans for two weeks, I buy one and am like, “let’s go out to dinner now.” Bragging!)
If we’re talking shopping math, I probably didn’t ride it enough times to pay it off (each ride = $2, or something), but I did ride it enough that I was able to get all the way up the hill behind my house. This was a big deal because that hill is a monster. The first time I attempted it, I had to pull over at the bottom and dry heave against a tree.
But then I got a real job, and working 60+ hours a week meant I had no energy to slog around on a bike in my limited free time. So my bike sat in my living room and taunted me with the Fitness Project That Never Was.
The other day, Graham took my bike to his house for a tune-up. He has more space and lives just down the block from Tower Grove, so we decided it makes more sense to ride from his place (riding alone in my neighborhood requires an utter disregard for personal safety, and I for one prefer to remain un-raped). On Thursday, we went for a ride. As mentioned above, it was my first bike ride in just over a year. I didn’t dry heave and I only had to take a break once. I wasn’t out of breath or anything, but I was starting to shake and Graham said I looked weird because I wasn’t sweating. It’s funny how you don’t feel warm until someone gives you an odd look and says, “It’s like you’re holding all your heat on the inside!” Gee, thanks.
While we were riding, Graham mentioned that it was nice to be able to do this together. I asked why. He said that riding was the most fun thing he did every day, and he liked being able to share it with me. Now, this isn’t something he says on a regular basis. It’s not like he’s mean or anything, we’re just not the sort of couple to make these kinds of observations. So I was only being myself when I said, “Um, okay.”
“Well, what’s your favorite thing you do every day?” he asked.
I thought for a second. “Sleeping,” I answered.
Now that I look back on it, I wish I hadn’t said “sleeping.” I mean, I love sleeping. One of my favorite parts of the day is pulling back my fluffy white down comforter and burying myself in it. I don’t know how some people are afraid of the dark. To me, dark means sleep. But sleeping is only one of my favorite parts of the day. I guess I said it because my actual favorite part of the day isn’t something I can share with Graham, and it felt bad to say so.
My favorite part of my day is writing. When I wake up, I turn on the coffeemaker and head for my laptop. When I get home from work, the first thing I do is eke out a few paragraphs. If I’m really in the mood, I can sit there for hours, barely looking up, not noticing it’s getting dark, totally unaware that The Simpsons is on, people are texting me, and I haven’t gone to the bathroom in like five hours. (This is a seldom occurrence, even I cannot be that nerdy all of the time.)
You’d think that because I write every day, it must be easy. Well hahaha you owe me a drink because you’re wrong. Writing is hard. Writing is exhausting. It’s not just the waiting around for ideas and getting frustrated when they don’t come, it’s forcing yourself to focus until those ideas are harnessed in your head and come out exactly like you want them to. I’m trying my damndest to fit it all in and remember everything I wanted to say. And then comes the editing. I’m a slash-and-burn editor; I mutilate what I’ve just written, razing entire themes and pruning unnecessary words, and spend whole minutes puzzling over how to emphasize a word like “all.” I have no choice. I’m compelled to do this. It’s a psychotic need to empty my head of all the stuff inside and then criticize my own work until I realize I’ve been gritting my teeth for so long that I might have given myself a brain tumor. By the time I’m finished with the whole process, my body and mind are spent. I lean back in my chair practically sputtering. It’s like I just gave birth to something, only my vagina isn’t ruined forever.
Graham works out every day by commuting on a bike. As a result, he’s lean and has awesome leg muscles. I work out by squatting in front of a screen and typing magic keys. We feel the same way afterwards, but only one of us is getting fatter.
There’s a notebook full of scribbled ideas, sentences, and words I love next to me, but I’m glad he fixed my bike.