I spent this most delightful first fall Sunday working on a big project due on Monday and thinking about the exceedingly lovely weekend I had. Oh, and how much I needed a bike ride. So I finished up a draft of the thing in front of the Ravens game, and then it was time to get on the bike for a ride. I headed down the hill to see if I could luck into an Akimbo performance before going somewhere south and east. A volunteer handed me a map, and I snaked my way around to the park at Federal and Calvert to catch the Effervescent Dance Collective. Their performance was delayed by a sea shanty singing quartet that is probably funny if we’re all friends and we’ve had a few (in which case I have no doubt they are amazing), and I wondered about the location of the dancing. And then they danced, and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about how clever they were, how free and happy they helped us feel–like when Lily matched her breath to the beat of being pulled up from the water, a sly look–oh, it was so good. I thanked them after–“You just made me so happy inside, thank you”–and then it was back on the bike. I passed a tent on the sidewalk across from the city fueling station on Fallsway. I wondered about why the tent owner’s reclaiming of public space will undoubtedly be criminalized, the home torn down, while the dancers will make me feel just so happy inside. Are we worried the tent is privatising our public space? But wouldn’t we want public space to be used by those with the need for it–I want that in case I need it at some point. Or have we gone so far with our love of private property that we can’t imagine a use that wouldn’t in some way declare ownership? I thought about those and other things on the rest of my ride, over to The Shops at Canton Crossing (it’s still just a Target), up through Brewer’s Hill and down through Highlandtown, up and over and up and over through so many neighborhoods with so many people loving this cooler still-sunny weather. Ravens win!
Saturday started with a lovely visit from M. and J. and a steady amble down the hill to Mount Vernon to check out the preparations for Baltimore’s Pride parade before walking back north for brunch and to swap out the walking for the bike. Continue reading
After two whole days off the bicycle–a shockingly rare event in my life in the past three years–I was a little nervous getting back on today. What if I don’t like it anymore? Yeah, that’s what my obsessions look like these days. Anyway, I needn’t have worried; it felt so good to just pedal and pedal and pedal. I headed Uptown to see J. and her sangria, and I spent most of the ride thinking about road conditions and the stickers I want to design that will say, “Don’t park in my bike lane; it’s all I have.” I spent a lovely couple of hours and was back on my bike to meet R. and family for dinner. After an ice cream pit stop, I took the bike, and headed to M.’s for poker night. I took Willow, marvelling at how terrible the asphalt was. I mean, this is paved road in only the most technical of senses. After losing my chips and my patience, I got back on the bike and rode as fast as I could back downtown to lay eyeballs on S. I took only smooth roads on this ride, pushing a hard gear so it felt like flying, until I got to the Quarter, when it was time to put eyes on the road surface. A brief stop here and there and then I was locking up the bike for dancing. I snapped this picture after taking a break to watch other people move their feet. I could say a lot about this place, but mostly tonight I thought about the world that’s going on as we move across surfaces. Takea minute, look down. And then all of a sudden it was time to go home, an easy roll back to the apartment. Yeah, I really needed a bike ride.
I had a lovely day, up early, got some work done at the coffee shoppe, and then got a good bike ride in, first to R.’s place for a little bike lesson and a lot of catching up. It has been moons since our last session, and R. claimed to have forgotten everything she knew. I moved the seat down for her so she could sit and shuffle, pumped up the tires, and away we went. After mere minutes she did three revolutions on her own–she can ride a bike! I left her with my two cardinal bike rules: the faster you go, the easier it is to balance, so just keep pedaling, and second, look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go, which is really a basic life philosophy. She promised to practice and I continued my ride Uptown to meet C. and H. for burritos and cat visitation before speeding back downtown to swap shoes and bag before pedaling back out to meet J. for Dita Von Teese’s burlesque show at the House of Blues. I could go on and on about the show, especially the part where Dirty Martini was there with her twirling tassles…she’s amazing, but you know what? That closing number? The one where Dita is some kind of Orientalist fantasy, from the “opium pipe” down to the hair and the awkward bowing? Yeah, that just kills my buzz. I’m sure I could make a case for it being an interesting mimesis that subverts yadda yadda yadda, but really, come on, can we please get a break from those tired tropes, especially when we’re a bunch of white people? Thanks in advance. After that bout of humorless feminist I was ready to head home, grateful for J.’s offer to drive me and my bike, because it is way past my bedtime.
So I took a picture on my ride home tonight, but it wasn’t in my phone when I got home, so let me describe it for you. It was a picture of row after row of candy bars at the Discount Zone on Magazine and Washington, so many choices. I stopped there on my way home from the show, following a whole lot of dancing with students and friends and a couple of slices of pizza. The ride home was perfect–slow, fresh asphalt on Magazine, cool night air, empty streets. I’ve stopped at the Discount Zone so many times after nights just like this one, and sometimes the vast array of choices is dizzying–even if it is all kind of just the same couple things over and over again in different shapes–but tonight I knew just what I wanted: a Kit Kat. Not the white chocolate one or the dark chocolate one, and not the King Size one either, though I hovered over that one for a a hot minute–just give me a regular old Kit Kat. That’s what I wanted. And next time I forget, please remind me that along with Kit Kats and nighttime bicycle rides, I also want to dance. What a lovely evening.
I woke up early this morning, put on an old prom dress and some eye makeup, tossed my tiara in my bike bag, and headed out to see what New Orleans was doing on a Mardi Gras day. I rode up to St. Charles and took a left and happily swerved between the kids throwing their footballs in the streets and parents pushing strollers and people drinking and dancing and laughing while waiting for the last parade of the season. Continue reading
Here’s the thing. I love riding my bike, but Mardi Gras time is really more walking speed. I see things entirely differently when I’m walking–I’m closer to the ground and moving three times more slowly, so I find myself wandering places I don’t normally notice. And there’s a lot to see during the carnival season. As a guy I was chatting with as we paused at a stop sign on our bikes pointed out yesterday, Mardi Gras is all about fantasies (and the only fantasy we saw around us was the dream of finding a place to put the car–take a bike or walk and expand your fantasy life!). So yes, this is another guest post from a pedestrian. Continue reading