Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Excellent Adventures of My Bicycle

This bicycle wants to be my bicycle. That's the only way to explain it. The week I arrived in Albuquerque I found it at a garage sale for $25. I bought it because I could afford it and it was a perfect fit. I got it some pumped up tires, brakes that functioned, a helmet and a lock. Set!

Me and my bicycle spent a lot of happy time together, learning to bike up hills, going to work, zipping around the unpaved paths by the river both of us praying that all the goat-heads would decide to leave the tires un-punctured (on that topic: praying seems to be an adequate way of avoiding goat-heads. I've had only one tire punctured and I think it was time for that tire to go anyways. I wouldn't recommend the same tactic as birth control). Oh yes, we really enjoyed all of the adventures that Albuquerque could offer.

Bike Portrait No. 1

But since Albuquerque is sort of a wide place, like other towns in America, we would sometimes take the bus together too. It was on one such day when I had my first parental pang of absolute loss. Let me start at the beginning. It was an ordinary day. I'd decided to take the bus to work and bike home later. I perched my bicycle on the rack of the bus and admired it. My bike is a pretty bike. It's hipsterishly slim, blue, and has nice curved handle bars. It's heavier than it looks, but that's all I care about --looks.
"I really like my bike" I thought contentedly, then I got on the bus. On the way I noticed a woman I knew from work sitting near the front, "I should probably talk to her" I thought. I moved nearer to her and we had a nice conversation that continued as we got off the bus at the same stop. About 15 minutes later, while making a photo copy I realized my horrible mistake. I had as much as left my child strapped to the front of an Albuquerque bus!

Horrified I rushed outside, hyperventilating and yammering to the man on the phone at the Albuquerque hot line. He informed me that since I'd just gotten on the bus 15 minutes ago the same bus would be coming by in about 10 minutes. I should wait at the same stop and see if my bike came back around.

"But can't you radio the bus driver and let him know I'm here waiting for the bike, and not to let anyone else take it" I asked desperately.

"Sorry mam, but we can't let our bus driver's risk their lives like that!"
replied the man on the phone.

Either Albuquerque is a million times more dangerous than I thought, or this guy is being kind of snarky.

I called my father and complained about the situation to pass the time. He was sympathetic and powerless. I saw the bus pull up at the stop before mine, a bike was on it, could it be? I saw an old man get off the bus and take the bike. What if that's my bike? Uh oh. There was another bike on the bus so I waited until it came to my stop, nope, not mine.
"Damn!" I yelled into the phone.
"What?" my dad asked.
"I think that old guy took my bike!"
"Maybe it was his bike," suggested my dad.
"I don't know I have a bad feeling about it" I rejoined. I ran up to the other stop and looked around, nothing. I complained to my father some more. He tried to comfort me, saying something about 'it might not have been the right bus,' or, more likely 'easy come easy go,' but by now I was being filled with an enraged assurance that that man had definitely taken my bike. I scanned the parking lot in front of Lowe's.
"Wait! That's the guy!" The slowest bike thief ever, he was foolin' around with a grocery bag. He got on the bike and sort of shakily started peddling away. I couldn't visually verify with certainty that it was mine because he was too far away and the sun was in my eyes, but I was certain emotionally. With motherly rage I said "hold on" into the phone and started running. I wondered briefly as I turned a corner onto a side street if I would end up risking my life to save my bike. Thanks a lot bus driver!

I chased panting after the man as he wobbled along in front of me. When I was within hearing range I yelled "Hey! Excuse me! Sir!" Being so politely addressed he stopped and looked back "Did you just get off of the number 10 bus?" I said, buying time and gaining ground as I walked quickly towards him.
"No," he replied. But by this time I was close enough to see. The man had my bike.
"Well sir," I said, "I left my bike on there sir, and that's my bike" And I pointed. This would be the life-risking portion of the day according to the man at the Albuquerque hot-line. I waited terrified. The old guy attempted to look confused. He sort of shuffled off the bike and said "Oh... okay" and handed it over. I got on and biked away as fast as possible. A way better get away than his. Once I was safely around a series of corners I remembered my dad still on the phone,

My Yellow Handle Bars At Night.

"I got it back!" I said breathlessly
"You did!? That's great!" he replied.

Then I explained the sounds of running and yelling that he'd been a witness to.

"I'm so proud of you! You're very capable. Now I know that you can take care of yourself!"

I was proud of my dad's approval and pleased to have my child back safe and sound. I rode home and made a promise to watch it like a hawk every time I rode the bus.

VOLUME TWO: Promises Broken

Time passed, my bike and I grew closer with each passing day. I put bright yellow tape on her handle bars and covered her ripped seat with flowered oil cloth to protect it from mold. We spent the summer pushing the limits of hills and heat. We experimented with carrying mad amounts of art supplies or groceries creatively, balancing them on our backs and handlebars. We went on mad cap adventures with friends! In short, WE RULED.

Bike Portrait No. 2

All this time I was a lot more careful riding the bus, forever checking to see if my yellow handle bars could be glimpsed bobbing outside the front window. When I got off the bus I would tell the bus driver, "I'm going to grab my bike." I was cautious. But you only have to mess up once.

It happened a few days ago. I was taking the bus to work with several of my co-workers. We were having some interesting conversations and all forgot to pull the string for our stop. We were all in a muddle as we quickly scrambled off and power-walked to work. I didn't even realize my oversight. All day long at work I was happy as a clam, playing with kids, coming up with ideas, and imagining my relaxing bike ride home. "I really need it!" I thought contentedly.

At then end of the day my roommate asked if I was biking home.
"Yes!" I replied enthusiastically,
"Where's your bike?" she asked. I pointed to where I usually put it, saw that I was pointing at nothing and deflated.
"Oh no..."

I had been so sure I had it. My muscle memory of taking my bike off the bus everyday must have filled in the gap. I walked outside with a general blah feeling of too-lateness, I'd left the bike on the bus 8 hours ago. I called the hot-line to file a report. My brother and Stef listened as I described my bike, "It's blue with yellow tape and an oil cloth seat with flowers on it, and it has a sticker that says 'Adam Hooks is dead' and another one that says 'I killed a zombie today at Burning Paradise Video" My brother whispered, "you're a weirdo."

My bike decked out, in the background of the bird pic.

The woman filed the report anyway, and told me they'd call me if they found it. She told me I could also check at the Alvarado Transportation Center Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. Rather hopelessly I quietly accepted the loss of my bike. I didn't let it get me down to much during the weekend, except it stung when I was invited on a bike ride. So I borrowed a bike from a friend and got back to business.

Monday was president's day so the Bus Station was closed. I biked up the hill on my friends bike and found it much easier to use. Maybe I could borrow this bike permanently. I slowed down at a busy street to check for cars. I wasn't seated. There was traffic so I braked quickly and was surprised at how much better the brakes functioned on this bike compared to my own. But I pondered this from the ground because the much better brakes had flipped me over the handle bars into the street. I was lucky. My elbow was a little skinned and one knee hurt. There had been no head to concrete interaction. I got back on the horse and thought ruefully of how dangerous it was to ride a bike that worked so much better than mine!

So today came. Today is Tuesday. I stopped by the Bus Station on the borrowed bike to see if they had my beloved bicycle. If I really believe it maybe they will have it. If they have it I might have to explain to someone why I have two bikes. I arrived at the station and told the two women behind the counter my problem. They consulted a security guard in the back who swaggered out about 5 minutes later. He asked me what kind of bike I'd lost. I described it in detail. "Flowers eh?" he said and disappeared again. He came back about 10 minutes later and asked me for my I.D. This time he left for about 15 minutes and the women started joking about how slow he was.

I wanted to know if he had my bike and was somehow cross referencing my name with crime records, or if he had stolen my bike and my i.d., or if I was going to be accused of stealing a bike that wasn't mine! Finally he returned and slowly drew a line under the photocopy of my i.d. Then he slowly wrote the date next to that. The women at the desk kept making fun of him, and that slowed him down some more. Finally he said, "sign on this line and I'll release your bike to you."

No way. I signed and smiled, he walked away to get my bike. My bike! Complete with stickers, flowers, yellow handle bars, u-lock and bike light! Hell yes!

Bits of Bike, Pre-Stickers

And then, just as a little icing on the cake, the universe deposited a nice man on his day off into my life. I had barely begun the formidable struggle of coaxing both bikes home when this man stopped and asked why I had two bikes. Being prepared for someone to ask I immediately told him the whole story. Kindly, he asked if he could ride one of them somewhere for me. Naturally, I was suspicious but I figured I could probably chase him down if I needed to. So we biked the 14 blocks to my house and I kept him tethered closely to me with friendly conversation. I thanked him profusely and he walked back downtown. Like I said, the icing on the cake.

The long and the short of my bike's many adventures? My bike still wants to be my bike. We can still both try to care for each other, to love each other. And we will try, we'll try our best.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ripping up Space-Time

I'd like to make a dance that describes how I feel. I feel about the world. I feel the world when: I look down six stories. When I look into your eyes it is like looking down six stories. When telling stories I am falling down and listening and looking into your eyes.

There are many levels to my body and if I collapse into it I feel the world better. I feel better in the world when I am collapsing in this manner.
Collapsing is equal to laughing only the first is between your bones and your joints and the second is the second delay between your body and the space in front of it.

I am in front of my body when I am laughing. I am between my bones and joints when I am collapsing. It is all about falling out of your body.

Your body doesn't exist when you are happy. Your body only exists when you are dancing.

Dancing makes me happy. My body is something I am wearing.
I am wearing out my body with all this silly dancing.
When I am laughing I don't care about being tired.
I am tired of caring.
When I am tired I don't care about a lot of things.

Shake spaces inside of you and in front of you. Dance with the space 6 stories below you and 7 feet in front of you.

Feel it between your knee bone and your knee joint.

It's a shaky little spot in front of you.
Everything around you is still and you are a shaky little spot.
You and the world are both shaking. Sometimes you shake together at the same frequency and time-space is threatened, but you do believe in God again. Sometimes the world and you oscillate and white spaces open up around your bones and your eyes. Time space is ripped up all the time because that's what happens when you let god out of your bones and eyes. Your body is not responsible for ripping up time space. It doesn't matter if you're responsible. The point is: You only feel the world when it feels you. You oscillate better when your dancing or laughing, You must oscillate to feel the world. The world must dance and laugh to feel you.

When you feel each other two things happen. You start to collapse, and the space in front of you exists at the same time as the space inside of you. I can look 6 stories below me, seven feet in front of me, and into your eyes at the same time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Communion In February. It's all the rage.

It's happening. It's happening. It's all happening at once.