Sunday, June 5, 2011

an unexpected bike ride (m)

I was raised to put work before pleasure.  Homework, housework, work work.  If I ever took a few minutes to sit in a chair, my mother would say, "You have nothing to do?" which would spring me out of the chair and into action.

Old habits are hard to break.  After my mother passed away, I picked up the ironing of the shirts for my sons and husband which she used to do every weekend.  It takes me about 2-3 hours to get through everything.  My friends tell me I'm insane and they are correct.

At the top of my list to do these days is to clean the garage, the shed and the basement.  Since Sam is home from college and hasn't yet started his full-time job, this week is the perfect window of opportunity to tackle these big projects with him.

Sam and I set aside Friday to do the basement.  I have a large puppet theatre, a mock store-front complete with wooden shelves and faux canned goods, a little blue table and chairs, and a Lego table to give to my friend, Betsy, who has 3 beautiful granddaughters. These items need to be washed down and set aside.  Then there's the closet filled with Christmas ornaments (half of which are broken), my grandmother's china (with George and Martha Washington's faces on the plates and cups), old stereos and LPs, etc.  Ugh.

Sam comes home at noon from his test run of his commute to work on the transit system.  We're good to go.

I look out the window again and see a perfect day. Sunny, low 70's, dry, slightly breezy. The radio is playing "Live Like You Were Dyin'" and I think about my friend who died this week and get a lump in my throat.

Then it hits me.  If I were dying, would I really be using my time to clean a basement?  Or, would I go out on this beautiful day and spend time with my son?

Easy answer.  I ask Sam if he wants to go for a bike ride instead of cleaning the basement.  He looks like he won the lottery.

We get to the garage and my bike is ready as I put air in the tires last week.  My husband's bike is a disaster.  The bike is 23 years old, with thin tires, both of which are completely flat.  The white walls on the tires are cracked and yellow.  Sam tries to put air in them, but the air is gushing out.  "Oh, well, I guess we're going nowhere," he says.

Get in the car.  We're buying a bike.

We drive to International Bicycle and pick out a simple mountain bike.  And helmet.

We get back in the car and I realize I'm in sandals.  I can't ride a bike in sandals.

Sam drives to Modell's Sporting Goods.  I buy sneakers.  Gray, silver and pink. I'm surprised they had size 10, wide.  Sam says they look good and he laces them up for me.  I feel like the kid.

We drive to Cambridge, park the car and venture out.

We ride along the Charles River from Cambridge into Boston and back to Cambridge.  We ride for an hour and a half at a good pace.  Sam is bemused by my bell which I ring to let people ahead of us know we want to pass on the left.  "Stop with the bell!" he shouts from behind.   The only time we stop is to pick up a brochure from the sailing pavilion.  Maybe I'll try sailing this summer.

They say we remember moments, not minutes, in our life.

I will remember this bike ride for the rest of my life and I suspect Sam will also.

Live like you were dying.  Nice concept.  Try it.

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