The Grandest Stage of All

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

The weather this week has been incredibly gorgeous, which means I have been out riding my bike when I am not practicing my sideshow routines.  Meanwhile my car is still a paperweight and if it does not get fixed soon I may just find something new, though I do enjoy being able to ride or walk to most of the places I need to go.  Of course Jon exhibiting his usual amount of kindness and general awesomeness brings happiness into my life when I need it, so I guess things are going fairly well despite not having my own car at the moment.

Which reminds me that he is the one who bought me the bright red mountain bike currently sitting in the backyard.  It is something I had often expressed wanting due to all of the places I could ride it, and he came by the other day when no one else was around with the gift strapped into his trunk.  Then he drove me down to the D&R Canal where we have gone for walks in the past, but cruising along  on a bike took me much further than my legs alone ever did.  Instantly I was struck by the fresh air and natural beauty that I passed by, which is something I was unable to do when living in E-town.  There are an endless amount of trees which I cannot help but stop to check out from time to tome, and that led to the discovery of a concrete foundation nearly buried by the underbrush.  It sat downhill from the trail I was riding, so I had to edge down slowly to get a closer look.  Though in a state of obvious decay, it was still pretty solid with a couple of frames that were recognizable as doors and windows.  On the opposite end was a chimney that I managed to squeeze myself into where I discovered a metal box which said “DO NOT OPEN”, and while my curiosity of what was inside reached a bursting point, the government warning under the bold letters convinced me to put it back.

Climbing back up the hill took more effort than going down did, and for some reason a few other riders who were passing by asked if someone had fallen or if I was in need of help.  Laughing I thanked them for the offer but assured them I had just been checking something out.  After another hour of pedaling I decided to turn around and head back to where  Jon was waiting for me, smoking a blunt and sipping on a flask that was quickly stashed away as I pulled up.  He smiled and inquired how the bike was; I gushed about how much fun I had while walking it back to the Chevy.  We brought it back to the house where I could park it in the yard, and of course thanked him several times even though he insisted it was no big deal and he was just glad I enjoyed myself.

The following evening was another Electric Sideshow performance at the Rail, and though the routines may stay the same on account that is what we are comfortable with, the way they are presented constantly changes, not to mention my hairstyle and color choice of makeup since I like having fun with my appearance.  Then gain, that night we set a State Record for the Most Human Blockheads Performing at Once – six of us stood in a line facing the crowd and simultaneously inserted objects into our nasal portals, which earned a standing ovation from the audience.

On my second day of riding, I spent some time in a park a few miles up Route 1 that was chosen for the fantastic hills which cut through the woods.  Ascending them took quite a bit of effort and that damn asthma has to flare up due to not having been on a bike for several years; still getting used to shifting gears and whatnot as well.  Flying down the hills at full speed, going so fast my eyes were tearing up was worth all that, and I may have even shouted “whee” a few times.

There are quite a few reasons I will go see a movie at the theater, usually due to the fact that the trailer catches my attention, the plot builds up interest and I find myself patiently waiting for the premiere.  Even though I am unfamiliar with the Frank Miller comic, Sin City is definitely one of those films that had me hooked the very first time I saw the trailer.  For some reason I was really struck by the graphic black and white scenes punctuated with bursts of color, the commercials seemingly teasing from the television.  The day after it hit theaters I was riding my bike up the highway to go see it, and there was nothing disappointing about it.  Heroes, villains, corruption, violence, love, death and lessons learned from the brilliant film noir.  The sporadic hints of color was even better on the big screen, particularly the scene with the red and black sky.

Following a soggy weekend, I headed out to another local park to do more riding and was traveling the various trails I found weaved through the woods.  This was about the time I came to realize just how many there were, but I was used to concrete sidewalks and traffic heavy streets in E-town, where the closest park was definitely not a place I would go to by myself.  Living where I do now grants me the opportunity to enjoy beautiful days outdoors, where I can lose myself among shady trees for a few hours and pretend I am the only one there.  Anyway, the majority of the trails led to dead-end streets, as they are used by residents to gain access to the park.  One I chose to ride brought me behind a trailer park where I coasted around for a while before encountering far too much mud to continue forward.

After turning around, I was thinking about how there tends to be strange things among the woods, and in the rear of the park there was a trail that wound past a small concrete foundation.  Having no idea what could have been there, as it seemed to small to be a house, I studied it for a while to make mental notes in case I wanted to discuss it with someone at some future point.  Set further back from the path was what appeared to be a small green dog house, and upon closer inspection it seemed the whole area around it was swept clean.  The whole ride was just such a good time, and I may have sent Jon a few excited messages thanking him again for the lovely gift.

Perhaps not being able to drive is contributing to my rekindled enjoyment of cycling, though being among the trees and fresh air as opposed to the toxic urban landscape of E-town where the atmosphere was constantly polluted by the exhaust from high concentrations of traffic and the noxious odors from places like Exxon is doing me a lot of good.  Whatever it is, I have been feeling much better since I started riding again, and returned to the first park I visited a few days ago.  This time I chose to conquer the wooded trails, but they get the adrenaline going.  Sometimes I still struggle with hills, but determination wins out over defective lungs and when you pick up speed as you go down the hill, the end result is a natural high that keeps you pedaling for more.

Having left the house later than usual, I was able to stop and enjoy the brilliant sunset that peeked through the leafless trees.  Cool air was brushing my face as I headed back, and there is a distinct smell that tells me the evening was approaching.  It was then I noticed my phone was buzzing and I had missed a few calls from Jon; he had actually left a message and hearing his voice at that moment inviting me to join him at a diner not that far away felt like a dream.  We meet up in the parking lot where my bike is stored in his trunk and we slide into the back seat to drag race.  He is already miles ahead of me, rambling about having driven down to West Virginia to check out some car on account he was ready for a change from the Chevy.  My mind was all over the place so it was difficult to pay attention to exact details.

Inside we were huddled in a corner booth downing cups of coffee filled with whiskey and engaging in some rather juvenile antics.  Pouring sugar on others is fun only to those who witness it, as is tossing around creamers…until it hits someone sitting a table over.  Throwing teabags is equally fun…until it’s realized said object has a rip in it, and the tea winds up all over the place.  Our entertainment was cut short by a surly waitress who practically threw the check at us as she gritted through yellowed teeth and asked us to leave.  Jon left a wad of cash on the table and stared her down as he took my hand and led me back out to the parking lot.  There we spent an intimate moment in plain view of dining customers, and then I was cruising down the side of the highway again, pedaling my hardest with traffic speeding by, not having a care in the world.

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