Let me tell you about last week.
OK, so it’s Tuesday. At least it ain’t Monday, right? I wake up and . . . oh, I can barely open my eyes without wanting to scratch them out of my face. Allergies, how I love you. But that’s pretty par for the course (thank you, springtime), and I have medication for it.
I walk dogs this day, as I do all that week and did the two weeks before that (one reason I found little time to post here) and so I set out on Christina‘s bike, Calexico, which she was kind enough to lend me. It is not the first time I ride Calexico to the puppies, and I find the exercise, fresh air, and lack of four dollar gas needed to get from point A to point B refreshing. And so I pedal my way down Clark St, a busy road that runs much of the length of the entire city. Here I am, cruising down the bike lane, when a man in a parked car on the side of the street flings his door open without a care for anyone who might be biking up beside him.
A choked, “Whoa—” escapes my lips, then Calexico’s handlebars collide with the door and I fly off, land on my back, and thunk the back of my head against the asphalt. Luckily, I am wearing Christina’s helmet. Luckily, there are no cars driving in either direction. Luckily.
So I find myself sprawled on my back in the middle of Clark St. staring at the sky, thinking such Zen thoughts as, “That’s the sky,” when the man scrambles out of his car saying, “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m from New York. I’m sorry. Are you OK? I’m really lost . . .”
Somewhere in there I think to pick myself off the ground and realize with joyous glee that I still can. So I do. My right leg stings, along with my left elbow and my right shoulder, my head doesn’t feel great, but Calexico’s OK and all I can think is, “Well, it could’ve been worse.” Plus, there are cars coming. I seem relatively fine so I tell the guy to be more careful and continue down the street.
In the coming days I will find all manner of happy bruises across my body allowing me to recreate what actually happened. As far as I can tell, the force of the handlebars jerking sharply to the right pulled a muscle near my right shoulder and I think that shoulder hit the door, giving my a huge bruise there. The handlebars hit my right thigh hard enough to give me a big scrape (and bigger bruise) and making it a little difficult to walk. I twisted in flight so I landed on my back, probably whacking my left elbow on the asphalt, along with the back of my helmeted head. That’s what I’ve pieced together. I felt like shit the next morning.
But Tuesday isn’t over. Oh no, no it isn’t. I continue to the first two puppies, explain my tardiness to the owner, and walk the two dogs. I lock Calexico to her gate and when I return to him afterwards, I pull out the lock key, insert into the keyhole and twist . . . only to watch the key snap in half. Glorious. So now my girlfriend’s bike is locked to this woman’s gate and I still have four dogs to walk with no bike or car to get to them. It also hurts to be alive.
I call my boss. I explain what happened, everything that happened, and tell her that I’m stranded in Lincoln Park with no bike or car. She’s very nice. She tells me I can use her bike but I have to take a cab to the office because she’s late for an appointment. The office is on Irving Park, which is . . . I think seventeen blocks north of me. So I get a cab. She gives me her bike and I have to ride her bike all the way back down to Lincoln Park. I’m loving life, I’ll tell you.
My boss’s bike: In some circles, this bike is known as The Most Annoying Fucking Bike in the History of the World. First of all, it is smaller than Christina’s and hurts my back to ride. Second, the chain constantly wants to jump to the neighboring gears, regardless of how carefully you set the gear shift. Third, it has this fucking bell on it that ding-a-lings every time you go over a fucking bump. This is what I rode for the rest of the day.
I ride back down to Lincoln Park, taking Lakeshore this time, a bike/jogging path on which cars are not allowed, even though it adds a few blocks to my journey. I go to my next dog (number three of six—halfway done). She’s excited to see me, jumps up on my aching body, etc. I give her a walk and take her back. My boss had warned me that this dog “gets fussy” when people leave—abandonment issues, I guess—but not to worry because she’s all bark.
Bitch fucking bites me! Clamps right down on my right forearm. Luckily, I’m wearing a coat, and so it just hurts like hell and doesn’t actually break the skin. Luckily, I let go of the doorknob out of shock and the dog, upon seeing this, lets go of me. Gets fussy, does she? All bark, is she? She’ll growl when I try to go? Jump up on me? Fucking bite me?! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!
I beat her back with Christina’s helmet and scurry out. Gahhhhh. It is then that a thought I occasionally have pops back into my head and causes me to pause and ponder the metaphysical nature of our universe. The thought is this:
Maybe there is a god after all, and, in addition to many other things, it is and ever shall be omni-mischievous.
To recap: My eyes are raw from allergies, my body aches from getting thrown off Calexico, Calexico hates me and is locked to a gate in Lincoln Park, my boss’s bike blows, this one dog is a super-bitch, and I’m tired and hungry and all I want to do is cuddle into the fetal position with Christina.
I finish the day out, my body growing ever-achier over the course of the remaining dogs. I make the twenty-seven block bike ride back to my apartment and collapse on my bed, falling into the merciful hands of my subconscious. I wake up a few hours later and take the train to a pizza place called Crust where I meet Christina and my two friends, Anthony and Richard, for dinner. The pizza is good, the drinks, sedatives, and I’m able to vent about the events of the day.
That was Tuesday. Wednesday was a confrontation with the brutally fragile nature of the human body. I ached, I was bruised, the scrape on my leg opened back up. But I didn’t get bit by that dog, so I guess it was a pretty good day. I also drove my car to the dogs. Thursday was much the same. Friday finally saw my body getting some relief. The bruises turned yellow, like someone spilled highlighter all over me, and my shoulder and elbow hurt a little less.
All in all, I’m gonna say it was a pretty good thing I didn’t have access to an uzi.