The sun finally came out out on Wednesday, and after a bunch of hours at home trying to catch up on email, I pulled myself out of bed–my office, when I’m lucky–and hopped on the bike to head down to War Memorial Plaza. I’d read on the internet that Nick Mosby was making an unexpected announcement at 1:00pm, and that would get me out of bed and on my bike, and then I’d be almost at that Chipotle and I still have that coupon they mailed everyone for a free burrito, so, given this tight calculus, I found myself waiting for Mosby to emerge and get all official in front of the cameras.
I was early, as always. I propped my bike up on her kickstand and got out my phone for a selfie with Jessica Kartaglia (who turned out to be Megan McCorkle), one of my favorite newscasters, when she got off what looked like a Very Important Call. “Isn’t a little close to election day to make a big announcement?” she was asking her iPhone. And then she was off, and I got my selfie. A woman asked me if I was with the media. “Nope–I’m just a person,” I said. She nodded–she’s with the Embry campaign, and I felt like telling her I was voting for her candidate just to get her to smile a little. Unless you’re Catherine Pugh it’s all bad news lately. The R. rolled up on his bike: “I’d recognize those calves anywhere!” We talked about bikes, bike tours, why sometimes uphill’s better than downhill, why we ride in traffic even though we’re pretty sure it’s going to kill us, and then Nick came out. He’s out, everyone should vote for Pugh. He looked genuinely sad about it, but them’s the breaks when you’re in a field of 13 and you’re one of the newbies.
He left in a flurry of cameras and meaningful handshakes and hugs, and then I was off to Chipotle, because it was seriously my day. Then I hit the Whole Foods to spend the gift card S., a friend from college, sent me last month. Her dad died, so she knows that what you need is someone, a month or two on, to send you a gift card so you can go be frivolous when you’re still sad, but everybody else has moved on. I wish I’d known so I could have sent her one, but one thing I’ve learned from my dad’s death is that it is absolutely singular, and if it’s not happening to you, it’s not happening to you. And once it happens to you, you get it. I’ll remember that kind gesture and pay it forward, because we’re all going to go through this, or a version of it, sooner or later.
Oh, it felt good to be outside, being myself, zipping here and there, eavesdropping and scheming and catching a glimpse of summer. I made a last stop for coffee and grading and then was heading back up the hill, a perfect Wednesday in the bag. And then I picked up the mail. There was a package from my stepmom that I thought would be probate papers, but nope. It was a book that my dad’s former co-workers put together of stories about him. There’s this picture of my dad on the front, and oh, I know that face. Those were my dad’s eyes just before he’d cry, and I took the book back to bed and crumpled up over it, because sometimes it still feels like that.