6 hours ago
Saturday, July 31, 2010
A exertional day
Years ago, when I was young (relatively) and fit, I had a roommate who was younger, but significantly less fit. I wanted her to take the occasional bike ride with me, but she never would. She hadn’t ridden since she was little, she said, and then only one of those funny bikes that look like a banana. She was afraid that riding a normal bicycle would be too difficult. I was disappointed, and went on my bike rides alone. One day, I came home and found that she had practiced in a nearby parking lot, and was willing to give it a go. Our first venture was to go to the grocery store – about a mile away. “What if there are hills?” she asked. I reassured her. “It’s flat as a pancake all the way.” To me, it really was flat as a pancake. I guess that “hill” is a relative word. Half way there, she was furious. “You said it was flat! It goes straight uphill. Nearly a 90° incline,” she panted, pink and sweaty. I said that she was mistaken, it was totally flat. By the time we got to the grocery store, she was gasping, beet red, and I feared for her health.
This was brought home to me when, after not being on a bike for a few years, I took my maiden voyage on my new bicycle - to my aunt’s house, which is in the same direction as the grocery store. Suddenly I realized that there actually was a hill there, and that it was very steep. It’s never there when I walk to the store. By the time I reached my destination, I too, was pink and gasping. I thought of my hardness of heart and lack of sympathy with poor Eileen on her first outing up those arduous hills, and I felt guilty.
I must add that Eileen persevered, and we had a lovely vacation cycling around Lopez Island – a nearby cyclists’ paradise. It was made even more thrilling because there was an alleged murderess living there. She was purported to have poisoned her husband's orange juice, chopped him up and hidden the pieces. We were pleasantly thrilled at the thought that we could run into her, but were planning to decline any orange juice she might offer. I now see that she was supposed to have shot him, and then chopped him up, but we thought it was orange juice at the time.
PS Thanks to my blog friend Lorette, the Knitting Doctor, for cluing me in on making the little degree sign on my Mac!