Saturday, January 15, 2011

“Bless Your Heart!”

Big Cloudy Winter Sky

Bike with Dude and Dog

Tall Socks for a Cold Day

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!

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