Bikes & Co.

Today was not a great day.

Today, I screamed in my car twice.

I went to the bank three times.

I wished I could have a do-over about 400 times.

Today was supposed to be the day when I went on a run, finished two novels, made my entire apartment shine, read three books, and solved world issues. (This is how informed I am. I say, “world issues.”)

Okay, so I had high expectations, but by noon, I was left with the first four sentence of this blog post.

Maybe today was bad because a lot of emotional, big changes are coming my way. I have a hard time with change. It can be fun and adventurous and what life’s all about, but it is also really, really hard.

Next week, classes are over. In June, I will graduate, and then it’s…

I have no idea.

I could go home to Indiana and do…

I could stay here and…

I could…

I could…

I HAVE NO IDEA!

This is a nerve-wracking time. It can also be depressing. Suddenly, I feel I haven’t learned anything in the past two years/my whole life.

The reality of that thought pounded and beat on me today. I haven’t gotten better. I never get better. I’ll never get better. 

And then, something happened.

My family is into bikes, not in a competitive, spandex way, but in a three-year-olds-without-training-wheels sort of way. Biking was the summer go-to. It was the transportation of choice to ride to the gas station (that often ran out of gas) to buy Bazooka Joe gum. It was the only time our neighbors got angry from kids ruining their yard (which happened to be a short cut on the way to the gas station). It was the most dangerous thing Mom let us do with smallest list of warnings (that still included: wear your helmet, those better not be sandals, stay in the neighborhood, stay with your brothers, stay with your sister, not too fast, don’t be out too long, etc.).

During those summers, I learned how to do quite a few tricks on my bike: the side-saddle, the no-feet, and the classic feet-on-handlebars.

Okay, so I wasn’t doing BMX, but still, I was decent. There was one trick, though. The one I always attempted, but could never do.

Remember that scene in City of Angels where Meg Ryan lifts her arms out while riding her bike (cough and then dies cough)?

bike

Well, I really wanted to do that. The hand thing! (Not the other thing.)

But I never could. Each summer, I would try and try, but I could only ever do the one-handed, which isn’t impressive at all.

Today, when I was riding my bike back from my car (don’t even get me started on that), I thought I should try the no-hands. There was no way it would work. It had never worked before. But I couldn’t stop thinking, just try.

So I lifted a hand and then the other, and then the bike stayed steady. I put my hands in my lap, and the bike stayed steady. I put my hands out to feel the wind, and the bike stayed steady.

And the most lovely thought entered my head.

I am better at something. 

It wasn’t writing or planning or job-having or anything important. It didn’t make my apartment shine, or fix every (or any) problem in my life. But, there it was.

I got better at something.

Today, I thought I was a big failure who couldn’t have a good day, let alone a good life, but tonight, I know that if I keep going, I might just get the hang of some of these impossible tricks.

Tonight, I know that I’m getting better every time I try. Sometimes I forget that.

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my little mobile home

I call this, "View of Dog From Bike"
I call this, “View of Dog From Bike”

The Santa Anas were in full swing the other day, causing my thighs to burn on my bike as I pedaled into the wind to my trailer. This reminds me…

I live in a trailer, and I bike to and from my car. This is the Malibu life, people.  I don’t say this to complain because I love my little apartment, my bike, and my single bathroom sink that functions as face/dish/vegetable washing station. I get to watch palm trees swing in the ocean breeze as I bike to my car, and the place came with my favorite: a deal. My couch/table/kitchen island combo was all mine for the killer price of $150.  I even have a tiny deck and plastic chair with an ocean view (on a clear day). Ahhh, paradise.

The place isn’t without its drawbacks. It doesn’t have a kitchen, but you should see what I can do with a crock-pot and a blender.  And my sweeper (what Hoosiers call a vacuum) sucks up the berber carpet every chance it gets, and I have nightmares about dropping raw egg or meat juice on that carpet.  Knock on wood, it hasn’t happened in real life. I also have zero yard, but my neighbor did invite me into his kid’s tree house within the first five minutes of meeting me. That’s something, right?

Now, I’m 22.  I’m not supposed to be living like a queen, and most of the time, I feel pretty darn lucky to be sipping coffee on my deck as I read The New Yorker.  I feel like I need to come clean; I don’t sip coffee on my deck as I read The New Yorker.  I sip tea.

Really, I do feel lucky typing away on my couch inside and glancing back at my puppy on the deck as she enjoys the ocean view (no New Yorker in sight). I feel lucky experiencing one of the best scent combinations God ever made: ocean and laundry, which can be experienced any time my neighbors wash their clothes (so bi-weekly).  I feel lucky to have a roof over my head and strong water pressure because those are the things that matter in life.

I do love this little quarter of a trailer (oh, did I forget to mention it’s not an entire trailer), and I love that it has become my little home, the first of my own, really.  Not a bad place to begin, I think.