Saturday, June 20, 2015

I Ride

I Ride

I'm Lance Armstrong.

I swear it's true.

I know, I know. I may not look exactly like the guy in the photo, and I have never taken steroids, but remember ... appearances can be deceiving.

OK, OK, I may have never known Sheryl Crow intimately or won the Tour de France, but I've known a few other birds, and I once beat all the neighbourhood kids in a bike race around the block.

I haven't beat cancer, but if cancer showed up at the front door this afternoon, I'd kick its scrawny butt and send it packing down the road.

Most importantly, I ride.

I ride my creaky, black mountain bike around the neighbourhood with passion and reckless abandon.

I ride up hills and down hills, into the wind and with the wind at my back.

I ride through steamy days of unbearable heat and through the rolling thunder of midnight storms.

I barrel past kids on their red, white, and blue Hot Wheels with lightning speed.

I laugh with demoniac glee as I zoom, zoom, zoom past men pedalling pastel-coloured Schwinns along the sidewalk, their orange turbans unfurling in the wake of my speedy CCM.

I rocket around corners where cranky dogs wait for me, their bored teeth gnashing at my ankles ... all for naught ... all for naught. Even the sharpest canine can't time the speed with which my goatish feet fly in circles past their hopeless jaws attempting to catch some skin. I leave them in my dust. I leave them growling and whining, spinning in frustration, and snapping idiotically at their own tails.

I streak through the crisp air, where the smell of someone burning burgers on a barbecue tempts me to stop, to maybe say "Hey," to maybe share a scoop of sticky potato salad and a sizzling black wiener on a paper plate with the folks visiting from the city.

I scorn Sunday drivers. I dash around dull Toyotas and shiny Cadillacs with an insane zeal, and through their tinted car windows, I can see mouths gape with disbelief as I carve my way through traffic within inches of steel fenders and plastic bumpers. And, yes, it's no surprise when the kids in the back seat squeal with delight and shout, "Daddy, there goes Lance Armstrong. Catch up! Catch up!" But they never do catch up of course. I'm already gone.

Stars fade and blink out in the night sky. The best fall in mindless battles on distant shores. Loved ones disappoint. Children succumb to the worst of our diseases. Families squabble needlessly and talk of breaking apart the very bonds that have sustained them for years. Homeless kids wander aimlessly on city streets, and some take up weapons or drugs or worse. Things fall apart.

Life. Life is a tough scene these days, and yes, you may have every reason to feel lost, alone, and crushed by it all. You may have every reason to wander hopelessly around your rooms, day after day, always waiting for something or someone to save you from this dispiriting world, always waiting, waiting by the phone, waiting in front of the television, waiting and wondering why ... wondering why you ... wondering why your life has become so stagnant, so paralysing, so seemingly purposeless ...

Or you can ride.



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