I woke up early, worked all day, and then it was time to ride the bike down the hill to Camden Yards, because the O’s are in a pennant race, and it just doesn’t get better than that. Our side gave up a run in the first, but responded with 6, so we just sat back and let it spin itself out, wishing somebody would just finally beat the Yankees. There was the hot dog race, the crab shuffle, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and it was all soothingly predictable, but also a late-season game that mattered. The game was a win and we walked down closer to the field for fireworks spitting out near the bleachers. And then it was get back to the bike and zip past all the people walking the miles back to their cars, a left up the hill to home. Bike, baseball, bike–works for me.
I spent my Fourth of July at home, working on this and reading that and just generally relaxing through the moodiness that accompanies moving and one’s seemingly imminent departure from New Orleans until it was time to get out of the house and on the bike to see how folks were celebrating Independence Day. My first stop was the casino, a guilty pleasure of mine. I like to go in there with $20 for some time with the penny slots and drinks I would never order in real life–today it was a white wine spritzer and white zinfandel, neither of which I’ll be ordering again. I peck away at the penny slots and after just a few minutes there is absolutely nothing in my mind except pressing that button. It is one of the few places where my mind is quiet, odd as that sounds…maybe I should look into meditation. Whatever. Today brought a surprise $100 jackpot, so I took my winnings, got a treat at the frozen yogurt shoppe, and began a self-satisfied pedal Uptown to meet friends at the Fly for a picnic. When I got there the grill was going, there were hungry flies and ants, and a kid and a ball and a collective desire to play catch. I snapped this picture of the river not because the river is “America,” or anything like that (though I could certainly make a case for the pivotal role played by the Mississippi and docks like these in the growth of the nation), but because it was just so pretty there today. We threw and caught the ball, letting the kid set the pace, and my mind was pleasantly empty again–it was lovely. I rode back downtown, grabbed a burrito and a large soda, because Harrah’s was buying, ran into friends at the river, watched fireworks, and then caught up with S. and L., who put their bikes in the spare room and shared their bottle of champagne. Not a bad day, not at all, and easy to do because I travel by bike.
It was a stormy last day of the year today, and I spent much of it inside, reading, reading some more, watching, and thinking about what a lovely 2010 I had. There was so much good stuff in it–books, music, friends, cats, bicycling, festivals, music, learning–I really has a most excellent year. And then it was time to go out. On New Year’s Eve. This is a dangerous night for a biker, especially in a town like this one where drinking and driving is totally normal. (You can get a daiquiri from a drive thru, for pete’s sake.) Continue reading