Friday, November 19, 2010


There are few things I like better on a Thursday night in November than entering into a slightly non-ordinary state of consciousness and riding my bicycle around admiring the great out-of-doors in all its chilly autumn splendor; if I can do that with a group of similarly deranged fellow cyclists and augment the pedaling with the quaffing of alcoholic beverages and the standing around an outdoor fire, so much the better. But even if those latter features do not, as philosophers say, “obtain,” it can still be a delightful way to spend a couple of hours, especially if the weather stays dry, the moon remains glowing behind smudged clouds, and I get to take the long way home so I can keep looking at stuff illuminated by the square of light from my bicycle’s headlamp, from scared rats darting across the trail in front of me, to spooky naked tree limbs waving their spindly arms over Lake Washington, to staggering drunk fratboys exiting bars on the Ave, deep in celebration over their alma mater’s victory in its nationally-televised game earlier that evening.

While it would have been what been what humorist S.J. Perelman would have called a “lagniappe” to have run into the .83 ride last night, I still got to enjoy what he would also probably have termed a little “frisson” of pleasure with the half-formed expectation that I might, and even though that didn’t come to pass, I nevertheless was able to experience a kind of simulation of what it might have been like had I joined up with the gang: there was some beer-drinking beforehand with people I know, then the usual pre-ride safety meeting, and then a nice chunk of miles covered on two wheels, including a route I rarely take and familiar paths that looked strange.

And while I miss awakening this AM smelling of wood smoke and topsoil, it’s not so bad to feel relatively chipper on a November Friday morning.


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