"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Break Up

Break Up

There’s no doubting or denying it any longer: Break up definitely is upon up. The clots of dark red Type O negative on my knees are proof positive.

Break up is a season in Alaska. We have fishing season, hunting season, skiing/dog mushing season, break up season, and take-off-the-studded-tires season. Break up is when everything break ups—the packed snow on the driveway, the ice on the lakes, the asphalt on the highways. And, quite frequently, common sense becomes another victim.

It isn’t my knees that are suffering from break up as much as my driveway. With the thermometer reading above 50 degrees this afternoon for the first time in a gazillion years, I head for the bike in the garage. This is not going to be my first bike ride of the season, but when I pull on the padded bike shorts this time, it isn’t over the thick fleece pants that I’ve been wearing to avoid hypothermia and frost-bitten extremities on previous rides.

Nor do I wear the matching fleece long-sleeved top, but opt instead for only the fluorescent lime green windbreaker that makes me visible from the space station. And just to show how tough I am, I wear only the padded gloves with fingers that end at the first knuckle, leaving behind the winter-weight fleece gloves. I am using the brain bucket, though.

Halfway to the highway, I encounter the thirty-foot long moat that isolates my house from the pavement. Melt water stands five inches deep, and the puddle stretches from one side of the drive to the other, with only a narrow shelf of ice on either side. Those shelves of ice, however, have that look about them—like any weight would send the shelf crashing like a calving glacier. Two foot high berms of rotting snow line the drive, preventing an alternate route.

I try cycling through the puddle and make it almost to the far side before slush impedes my progress. In my attempt to dismount on solid snow, I lose my balance and fall onto my knees in sharp corn snow, hence the multiple openings in the skin that allow the Type O leakage. The knee looks, I am sure, a lot worse than it is. Never one to quit, I go on my ride as the Type O congeals over bright purple kneecaps.

For now the bike will live in the wood shed on the far side of the moat. I can always wear hip boots to get to it. Did I learn anything today? You betcha. Slush is much better suited for Margaritas than for bike riding.


April 20, 2008 Gullible

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