September 23, 2005
That's How It Happens
My neighbor died last night. A nice, older lady who bought Molly outfits and wore too much perfume, like old people do. For several weeks, she had been despairing over her own mother's funeral and was not her cheerful, friendly self, but she was feeling better. Her stepfather, a stooped character with a giant neck brace, found her, ice cream dribbling off her chin, bowl tipped over in her lap. Just sitting there in her living room.
And that's how it happens. No witty last words, no final dramatic scenes, no heroic sacrifice. Just a life lived, an evening with a snack, then darkness. Someone who loves you finds you, and enter the inevitable numbness, yearning, anger...
In reply to a question about what everybody wants, someone once said, "To be missed." I think, as an evaluation of a life lived, that's the best we can hope for, and, for my neighbor, true.
September 06, 2005
I have a few thoughts about commuting on my bike now that I've been doing it a month. Overall, the experience is pleasant, with most everyone deferential to me at crossings. I ride on the sidewalk, which isn't ideal, but I simply am not comfortable riding in traffic, even though that's legally what I should do. Texas law says bicyclists are vehicles and should be treated as such, but I don't have enough faith in my fellow man to put that law to the test.
It's a huge ego boost to pedal home. I enjoy the look on my colleagues' faces when I tell them I travel ten miles home on a bike. They simply can't believe I do that, and, honestly, I would've thought it crazy myself a year ago. I enjoy the thumbs up several drivers have given me as well as the idea that the tyranny of the gas tank holds less sway over me. Oil=terrorism after all. I'm even contemplating selling the Bug since it stays parked most of the week.
The physical challenge is at my limit, and I don't think I'll have any problems meeting my weight goal of 220 by Christmas. The ride gets easier each day, but ten miles is ten miles, which, according to one chart I've seen, is around 1,000 calories. Whew.
Wish me luck. The cold, wet winter is coming, and I've promised myself to ride rain or shine.