Friday Bike Love (1/14/11)
When I realized that on Friday evening I was free to do whatever my heart desired, I felt pretty gleeful. Despite the terrible, no-good, very bad week I had, Friday was a very good day at work and the feeling of imminent freedom was even better. I spent the evening shopping, despite my unofficial shopping ban this month, which was an attempt to return to my normal levels of spending after the holiday madness. I decided that some Valentine’s Day spirit was a good reason to break the ban, so I rode my bike to Michael’s to pick a few decorations, which I’ll share with you soon.
There is a Michael’s store just down the road from me, and an easy evening bike ride sounded perfect. It would have been perfect, too, had a drizzly grey storm not settled on top of us. Still, I carried on, riding in the misty rain and happily picking out various be-hearted decorations in shades of red and pink. This will be the year that I claim Valentine’s Day as my own!
I also went to the grocery store to pick out some cauliflower for roasting, along with fresh fruit for eating and peanut butter for spreading. As I was unlocking my bike, a man with two kids started getting into a car parked right next to my bike. The man asked me, “Is that your bike?”
“Yes, I do,” I answered nonsensically, lost as I usually am in my daydreams.
“Well, bless your heart!” he said. “Do you have far to go from here?”
“No,” I said. “I live just a few blocks from here.” My voice was flat, not at all matching his upbeat enthusiasm about my bike.
“Well, have a good night!” he said cheerfully as he got into his car.
“You too,” I answered, suddenly feeling bad that I sounded so grumpy, as I was still nursing my wounds from a bad week at work and here he was, being so friendly and nice about my bike.
That, I suppose, must be one of the worst things about a bad mood: it lingers, despite bike rides and Friday night freedom and fun shopping for Valentine’s Day. I immediately vowed to try to be friendlier to strangers because, after all, this is a small town and it’s not unusual for strangers to be nice to each other. In some ways, I’m still a cold Northerner, suspicious, self-contained, minding my own business. Most days I like being friendly with anyone who crosses my path, but on my hard days, I revert back to my old self-protective ways.
Old habits die hard. But it wouldn’t hurt me to put a little more effort into being a friendly Texan and rather than a cold Northerner. At least I didn’t flip anyone the bird that day!