Plus Fritz has just come home from visiting his parents over the weekend - more of that anon (falling, strokes, hospitals, what will we do to help care for them?) - and one thing I have learned over the years with Fritz - even when he is not weighed down and wordless with feelings and fears too complicated for him to feel: reconnections are difficult for him. It is easier with people like those I come from - who are loud with sorrow at parting and verbose about missing each other in the meantime and enthusiastic with welcome. The noise and exaggeration and throwing our arms about one another carries us up and over the threshhold of feeling (if even for a moment) that one had been abandoned and the lingering loss of separation, the irritation of suddenly more noise and more demands. Fritz cannot be carried up and over. Fritz is never carried away. Every step must be deliberated through and every thread of reconnection picked up again and re-attached.
So I am pedaling with an excess of energy.
I've been paying the bills. There are checks I need to deposit at the bank so that I can carry on. And when I head out to the car I remember - CARfree commuting. It is not raining. It is not too hot. I have plenty of time until YoungSon's bus brings him up the hill. There is absolutely no reason not to take the bike.
And it's not until I'm coasting down into traffic near the high school that I remember, Oh yes, there is a reason. The bank doesn't have a bike rack. And they don't let bikers (I mean cyclists because they do allow folks on motorcycles) through their drive-thru. Well, and why not? I am so tired of this - this meaning just everything. I don't want to tie the bike up across the street at the grocery store and trudge up to the corner and over the crosswalk. Besides, I'm still dressed in the clothes I walked hills in this morning so I don't even want to have to go into the lobby.
I think of Julia. Whom I am not. Not nearly so joie-de-vivre. But let's look at what we've got here in this old bag - anything useful?
"Look . . . ," I say, trying to help him out of his difficulties - he is after all working so hard to be courteous - with such obvious effort, ". . . couldn't I just proceed at my own risk?" We both know this silly policy is ridiculous for road-braving bikin' mommas like myself. I smile like the nice, school-volunteering lady that I am.
"I'll have to go ask my manager and see if she will let me," he says and makes a show of locking up his till. I know this is a ploy to change the dynamic - which means I'm getting to him. Except I'm in these clothes that I've now biked hills as well as walked hills in. And the haircut. Oh, carp (like catfish, you know?). I should have done the Cycle Chic thing. Serious disadvantage if I have to face the She-Manager in her jacket and coiffure and me in formless activewear and my bookworm glasses.
A young lady teller comes over and opens up the next till. She gives me a glance of scorn. I smile sweetly at her, Just wait, chickie - you're scheduled for appearance out here someday sooner than you can imagine.
"Hello. May I help you?" she speaks into her microphone.
"Hello. Yes. You mean me?"
She rolls her eyes and looks over my head at the monster truck in the far lane. The van behind me pulls out and gets in line over there, too. We all know it's going to be awhile.