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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Frosting on the Cake

I have been losing a fight against cold/flu symptoms for four days, and the last thing on my mind was a bike ride. But about thirty minutes ago, I stepped out to close the garage door and saw my bike begging in the corner, and the bright blue sky and sunshine begging to put my shadow on the bike path that passes our development. It’s a perfect fall evening, about 60 degrees, the autumn colors are just beginning to show. A bike ride would be the icing on the cake--especially since the forecast calls for freezing temperatures and rain starting tonight. So in spite of my cold, I hopped on my bike for a quick ride down to bridge that overlooks Spring Lake.

The road leading to that bridge has been torn up for resurfacing since Labor Day, but the bike path has been open.

So I’m peddling my 27-speed road bike at a leisurely pace (maybe ten miles an hour) like I’ve done a hundred times before. I see road closed signs ahead, the cement truck spinning in the distance, and a dozen workers still pouring even though it’s almost 6:00PM. I’m watching the bike trail ahead and there is no oncoming bikers. A quarter mile and I'm at the bridge.

Suddenly my bike drops about a foot below me and stops cold. My momentum takes my body well over the handlebars but I manage to regain my balance. For some strange reason, my bike is still standing in place below me, not leaning to left or right. I plop back on the seat, look down at my feet, and see that I have ridden about six feet into wet cement eight inches deep. I use my arms to do a pummel-horse dismount over the bike to the grass beside the path and look around to see if anyone has witnessed my brief exposition of cycling skills and acrobatics. Then I look back at my bike still standing perfectly straight in the cement like a small plastic toy pressed into the frosting of a birthday cake.

Behind the bike was a deep tire-groove in the fresh cement going all the way back to the intersection. I leaned over the cement, grasped the bike by the seat and handle bars, and wiggled it back and forth and upward against the suction sound at each wheel.

The light aluminum bike was only slightly heavier with the clumps of cement still clinging to my gears, chain, and tires. I looked around again to see anybody saw my blunder. A pick-up truck pulled up beside me. It was the road crew foreman. “Great!” I thought, “I am in deep…cement.” Yeah…that’s sort of what I thought. Fifty-three years old and I felt like a kid about to get yelled at.

I smiled at the man in the hard hat who to my surprise was overflowing with apologies. They had just paved the path and left to get the signs to block the path so no bikers would do exactly what I had done. I just happened to come along in the minute before they roped it off. He was not upset and seemed more concerned that I would be. True they should have had the wet cement blocked, but hey, it could have been much worse. A little more momentum and I would have been sprawled out face down in the wet cement like a scene in some Three Stooges movie.

"All's well that ends well," I thought to myself, and I peddled back home wincing at the gritty sound in my gears, rinsed off the bike with the garden hose, went back to the couch, and blew my nose. So much for the sunshine. My cold is still winning.

Chapter 32 coming Friday. I think I'll call it "Six Toilets in a Row"


Blogger the walking man said...

I love you Tom but I would have rather seen The Three Stooges version. some good pratfalls are a balm for the cold.

2/10/09 5:18 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It was a close one. I must admit. I wish I had it on video and part of me wishes some trace of the event was permanently stored in the surface of that sidewalk, but I went back and checked it and they smoothed it out perfectly.

2/10/09 6:42 AM  

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