Monday’s ride was a short one, just up to Hampden to drop my sunglasses off for new lenses–they’ve been a prescription behind for over a year and are all scratched up. I can afford to get new lenses in my prescription sunglasses. I wonder how long I’ll have to make this comfortably middle class salary before I’ll just know that to be true and will just go ahead and get the glasses. Anyway, I then headed up through Hampden to pick up some miso paste at the fancy organic foods store (another thing I can afford but have gotten used to affording more quickly). I snapped this picture along 37th Street, I think it was, of a house being held up by stilts. Continue reading
Thursday’s bike ride took me out in the city’s first Code Red Heat Alert day of the summer. Code Red means it’s going to be really, really hot, and you should probably just stay inside in a place with some ac. It also means that if you use less energy you get credits on your utility bill, so I was pretty excited to spend the day in somebody else’s air conditioning while the nickels rolled in at home. Sure, paying you to not use energy when you need it the most is sort of a scam to cover over weak infrastructure, but I’m a sucker.
Wednesday’s ride took me down the hill really early so I could hop the 7am bus out to campus. It was my turn to send Greetings From the Faculty at new student orientation, and when you don’t have a car, that means you’ve got to leave your house at 6:45 am to get there on time. That early it’s still a little bit cool out, and it was a pleasant roll down Guilford with the early bird cars and buses, until I got downtown. There’s just no way around the unpleasantness that is gridlock in a downtown core, but until we agree to move work all over so we don’t all have to pass through here to get where we’re going, we’re stuck with it.
Monday was such a lovely day. I woke up early, banged out some work, and then hopped on my bicycle to head east on 33rd Street for my every-six-months dentist appointment. I’ve had dental insurance for six years now, and everything is different. My appointments are quick and easy, nothing like those long scraping sessions I faced when I went seven years without a cleaning. I now go religiously, making that next appointment as I leave, and going to the dentist is just a part of my life rather than this big scary thing that is going to pick all my pockets. That teeth (and eyes) aren’t included in health care is just baffling to me. Toss in the measly coverage most folks get for mental health and it seems we might just not care about heads.
Today’s bike ride took me on my usual route down the hill and to the right to the bike racks next to the ER at University of Maryland Medical Center. I’ve done this ride at least a hundred times, likely more, but today felt a little different. Yesterday I learned that another cyclist was hit and killed by another car. I saw the post on one of my bicycle groups on Facebook, and commented on the link right away. How tragic, I said, because it’s always tragic. I know what it feels like to get the news that a car has taken someone you love. I know that when someone dies, they are gone forever, and you are forever different. I know this, and I also know how resilient we are in the face of grief, as long as we let ourselves feel it all–or as much of it as we can bear–and as long as we stay open to it, and talk about it. I know that a year and a half after my dad was killed by a car, I am ok. I feel joy again, not as often or easily as before, but it’s already back. And it hasn’t even been two years yet. But I’m different now, and it isn’t a difference I’d wish for anyone. It hurts, badly. So when I saw the news, I knew another group of people would now have to tread this far too well trod road, and I hate that.
Monday was my last day of my first summer school class. This one was an experiment, taught in Baltimore about Baltimore, and I only had a handful of students. Getting UMBC students to travel all the way to Baltimore is going to be a trick, but I’m dedicated to figuring out how to pull it off. This first time around might have been a small group, but it was so much fun that I was reluctant to cancel our last in-person meeting of the minimester, even though campus was officially closed. I’m not one to work on holidays or weekends–too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for me to work on those days–but there I was, holding class, because I wanted to.
I’ve been working and working and working lately, totally overwhelmed by work. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding my bike, but it does mean I’ve largely been riding to work, to meetings, to acupuncture appointments, and to dinner and drinks and play when I can sneak it in. Grades are in for the spring semester, though, and summer school doesn’t start until Wednesday, so by Saturday afternoon I started to feel the loosening of vacation and a glimpse or two of the me that emerges when I have time to get just a little bit bored. And today the rain let up and the winds died down, and I got to take a bike ride just to see what I might see.