Friday, August 19, 2011


At some point in my travels, I found myself pondering the metaphysical question: “What constitutes the ride?” Is it the people? The meet-up spot? The attitude one has while pedaling? And how do you know if you’re really on the ride or not?

Suppose it breaks into two more or less evenly-sized groups: which is the authentic original, and which is just another gang of drunken cyclists out on a Thursday night?

No matter, really, since for much of the evening, the issue didn’t arise; it was obvious what made things what they were: a warm August night, several dozen human beings riding two-wheelers much to the chagrin of neckless fellows in BMWs rushing to get nowhere fast, and an outdoor destination where beer was set on picnic tables and steadily consumed.

In my ongoing effort to never pass up an opportunity to swim outdoors (because really, you just never know when—or if—you might have another chance), I paddled around a bit in the yucky shallows feeling as if the abundant ferns might tangle themselves around my legs and draw me down, but even that was lovely as, at water level, myriad moths circled around my head like stardust and birdies from a cartoon bell-ringing.

And then it was off to the long-coveted white whale for which, in my enthusiasm to finally land Moby Dick, I may have pushed too hard, thereby severing the golden cord connecting us all, although it seems to me that since the birthday boy came north, the necessary condition, at least, for identity was met by the half which followed.

And while the reality fell far short of the dream, the back deck was surprisingly charming, and karaoke Kansas rocked, if I do say so myself.

Express lane aspirations aspired to were not—sadly, but sensibly-ever met, but my solitary surface spin home was nevertheless a sparkling delight and still, I believe, authentically part of the ongoing ride.


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