Solon would remind me that it’s not yet 2:00, and there’s plenty of time left for the day to go wrong; but I’m not in the mood for that advice.
When I went into Motor Vehicles this morning and saw how crowded it was, my heart sank. Imagine how delighted I was when I was in and out of there in only half an hour. The state employees were both efficient–a miracle!–and courteous, and it took me longer to drive there it did to renew my license: complete with picture that, alas, looks kind of like a mug shot.
I then had time to take my bike to the shop, and was pleasantly surprised again when the guy did the whole job in twenty minutes. The cause of the blowout, he was pretty sure, was a defective tire.
I even had time to make my ride, and enjoy a cigar afterward, before lunch. How about that!
Days like this only come along so often, so enjoy them when they do.
I’ve just come back from my bike ride, having conquered that bad old hill again, and even passed two young men jogging along the sidewalk–usually I lag behind the young woman pushing a baby carriage. Now I’ve got to cool off.
But first, an announcement to my wife.
“Well, I can now ride standing on top of the seat with both feet…”
“What! Are you crazy outta your mind…!”
“Just kidding.” That got a rise out of her. Better be careful what I say, for a little bit.
For several weeks I’ve been trying to pedal up a long, low hill. I have to pedal standing up, which is harder than doing it sitting down, to generate more power. About three-quarters of the way up, my legs fail and it’s all I can do not to fall down.
The other day it seemed much harder than usual, my legs failed sooner, and I almost had a spill. Heading back home, I was almost there when I happened to glance downward, and discovered that my front tire was a wee bit flat. This happens to bikes that are kept outside, as mine is. So I went to the gas station down the block to pump up my tires.
After that, the bike felt downright sprightly, and I could hardly wait to tackle the hill again. The next day–whoosh! Straight up, all the way, with no fail at all.Victory at last!
The moral of the story is, a little more air, the proper amount, made all the difference. It was something which I should have remembered from my boyhood, but had quite simply forgotten because, let’s face it, about fifty years had gone by since I’d last filled bicycle tires.
Success does come a lot easier when you remember those basic preparations for it.
So this is my day, so far.
Went to Home Depot for garden stuff. Then grocery shopping. Sit outside with cigar and whip up my weekly Newswithviews column. Bike ride, huff and puff uphill. Lunch (better hurry, almost suppertime). Quick blog post–this one, in fact. Next, type and submit the column.
I think I’ll wait till after my after-supper nap to take my blood pressure. And watch some Lord Peter Wimsey first. I find that a very relaxing mystery series. I wonder if that’s what its producers intended.
Why am I telling you all this?
I bought my bike in the first place, a few months ago, because my dentist wouldn’t give me a cleaning on account of my high blood pressure. I didn’t want to go on blood pressure medicine, so I got a bike instead and rode it every day. After a month or so of that, my pressure was jim-dandy.
Today in the doctor’s office the nurse checked my pressure again. “It’s going to be high,” I told her. “I’m at the doctor’s and I’m in pain.” And sure enough, it was very high.
But the doctor wasn’t satisfied. After I thought we were done, she said, “You know what? Let me check your pressure again. I think you might have what we call ‘white coat pressure.’ It goes up whenever you face a medical procedure.” But everything else, she added, appeared to be just fine.
So she checked it again, and it was high again. “You’re a Christian,” she said. “Think of something that makes you happy.”
The first thing that popped into my head was a hymn, Revive Us Again, complete with auto-harp and guitar. (You can find that hymn posted elsewhere on this blog.) And after 30 seconds or so, the doctor said, “Aha! Now it’s going down, just like I thought it would. You don’t have true hypertension. You have white coat high blood pressure.”
Well, that was good news.
If you’ve got a blood pressure monitor handy, you might want to try this at home. Or you could just take my word for it.
Okay–we went to Wal-Mart this morning and picked up my brand-new bike. And I pedaled it home. (Forty-eight degrees outside, by the way–I am so glad it wasn’t warmer!)
Big deal, it was a two-mile trip, just a few little hills to contend with–but it’s been some 50 years since I rode a bike regularly, and now my old legs are feeling it. These legs still function well for basketball, but pedaling a bike lifts muscles out of retirement that have been snoozing for half a century. There was also some slight difficulty in maintaining my balance when I let go with one hand to signal turns.
But it is true–you don’t forget how to ride a bicycle.
And along the way I solved two homicides.