We’re reading this book for one of my classes right now, Queer Phenomenology by Sara Ahmed, and in it she writes about the lines we follow, the ways certain bodies tend toward other bodies and objects, and the worlds we make together. It’s a dense book, and we’re all reading the whole thing, because it’s college, and that’s what we do. Once I leave the classroom and the close reading, though, what the book has mostly made me think about is why some of us take up the bicycle as an extension of the body, as the tool that enables new lines to be followed, new worlds to be made. What is it that makes me feel like I can ride a bike in traffic with cars, in any neighborhood in Baltimore, at virtually any time of night, and others just say nah? What imaginations are opened and closed when we ride bikes, walk, take buses, drive cars? Same thoughts I’ve been thinking for a long time, but the book offers a different language, and I like languages.
All that to say I’ve been riding my bike almost every day through this springtime, mostly to and from work, with the occasional run up to Druid Hill Park, Hampden, and Roland Park, for appointments and ice cream and zips around the reservoir. Spring is here, and it’s all flower trees and good weather. At first the weather felt like a threat to my continued sadness at the loss of my dad. It just didn’t gel with my feelings, and it felt like a demand to get out there and do something when I still mostly want to stay inside. I reminded myself, though, that I’m the boss of me, not the weather, and now I’m out there when I want to be, and even my gloomy self has to admit it’s good to ride without tights again, air on my legs, sun in my face. I’ll take it.
Monday’s ride took me downtown to pick up my official notary public license–I’m so excited to notarize shit!–and then up and around to Locust Point for a sandwich, a haircut, and a search for discount Easter candy before riding home in the wind. It was such a good day, I think because I felt like myself–alone, on a bike, in multiple neighborhoods, running weird errands I’d made up for myself as an excuse to stretch the bike ride a bit. Perfect. I stopped on my way home to check out the Light City Baltimore displays, though the lights weren’t on yet. How cools is this carnival style by Scott Pennington? Delight, pure delight, enough for me to put aside my bread-and-circus worries and take pleasure in the pleasure this artist and all the rest of them had sneaked into my way home. The bike is an extension, and on Monday I was grateful that it extended back a bit, to me, a reminder that spring will spring, whether I like it or not, art will art in spite of the big money “innovation” in the background, and those are actually very good things.