Fly by the seat of your pants.
Age sixteen promises a road trip with the passing of a driver’s test. At eighteen you can decide which former frat boy will sit a place of power, hopefully, with the least amount of scandal and a decent show of work. The cocktail daze begins at age twenty-one. The thirties transition you into adulthood and raising a family. Age forty through sixty-four hold no milestones unless you count increased cellulite and bunions.
These mid years include what I call the Botox Birthdays. Botox Birthdays can sucker you into doing something stupid like injecting poison in your face if you have the cash. The rest of us find a distraction.
Facing a Botox Birthday, my sister, Sydney, said, “Let’s do something fun before we die.”
“Okay what?” I asked.
Not Botox, if we wanted botulism we could pick a cloudy jar of peaches from Grandma’s shelf.
“Let’s take a couple of weeks vacation and hike the Appalachian Trail.”
Vacation? I don’t have sick days. Calling off two days with the flu generated a company reprimand. Another call off would issue company disciplinary action. My hours would be cut giving me time off when I’m not sick.
My next cold spread phlegm producing critters among my co-workers. We were all disciplined for inhaling germs.
“Who has vacation days? I could quit my job, but then I’d have no money to do anything which isn’t too different than now.” Hmm?
“Then let’s take one day at a time and go biking.” Sydney said.
“Can’t we get together for lunch?”
“Biking is free.”
“So is lunch if you hit sample day at the grocery store.”
Guess who got a bike for her birthday? I received a bike for a birthday. It’s hanging from a hook in the garage.
I have a friend who lives the biker life. Jo and her companions tour their neighborhood streets in capris and cotton blouses. Their bikes have names, Deidre, Sandy, and Jack, baskets and bells.
I come from a family that played tackle Frisbee. Sydney’s form of biking meant trails, miles of trails.
“Don’t be a sissy. We’re not careening around roots and boulders and jumping fences. The trails are mostly flat through forests. Dress for it. You’ll be fine.”
My siblings assume you can do anything if you buy the right clothes and equipment. Our parents’ basement is a garage sale waiting to happen, wet suits, golf clubs, and boots of every kind.
“I suggest you get a bike helmet.” Sydney said.
“I don’t plan to crash.”
“Pat your head and rub your stomach.”
I bought a helmet, spandex bike shorts, and athletic shirt. Lunch would have been cheaper.
We look like dorks. Sydney’s husband wanted her to carry pepper spray or a gun to keep us safe on the trail. We’re middle age women in spandex and helmets who bike because it’s free, a psycho crack head would have the sense to give us a wide berth.
Bikers are a pleasant collection of people, families, couples, and singles. Wildlife was plentiful regardless of shared hellos and chatter.
Sydney yelled, “Hawk!”
Distracted, I careened around a root and hit a boulder.
“Good thing you wore a helmet or you’d have hit your head.” Sydney said.
And if there’d been a barbed wire fence, I’d have hit that too. I scraped my hand and knee for a turkey buzzard. I suspected the buzzard haunted the trail for a reason, carcass ala biker. My sister knows jack about birds except for the kind you flip.
After washing my wounds and accepting Band-Aids from a group of women dressed in capris and cotton blouses on bikes with baskets and bells, we enjoyed the remainder of our ride.
We cooled our feet in a stream, ate our lunch, and watched deer graze on the far bank. Sydney took three-hundred-seventy photos. I composed an ode called Butterfly in a Meadow.
Most people could bike twenty miles in two hours. It took us seven. Back at the trail head I remembered why my bike hung from a hook. Bike seats are made from crushed bricks. Despite added natural padding as one ages, sitting a bike seat causes displacement of fatty deposits, most of which squoosh OVER the seat.
My arse couldn’t have hurt worse unless I was built different as in a man and had other issues to contend with.
The only comfortable bike seat is one that has an unsheared ewe tied to the seat. Since I already look dorky, I could stuff a couple rolls of paper towels down my spandex shorts where my leg and butt meet.
Biking reminds me I’m alive every time I sit or stand for days afterward. If I become biker trash in mid-life so what? Forget Botox. Anyone know where I can buy a little lamb or two?