Yellow Bike to the rescue!

My new friend Yellow Bike and I had not one but two accidents today. Accident #1 involved a truck parked on one of the skinny bike paths that snakes through campus by the library, the observatory, and the child development buildings off Nevada. I rode around it, but my tire got caught on the edge of the sidewalk, and I crashed to the ground. The truck guy came running over to make sure I was OK – I said yeah, I’m fine – it’s just hard to ride on the bike path when trucks are parked there.

Accident #2 involved an undergrad who stepped in front of me on the bike path on Wright Street. I was headed north from the library towards school and had already dodged a couple of people in the path when this girl stepped off the sidewalk in front of me without looking in either direction. I yelled “look out!” and swerved, narrowly missing her but crashing into the curb and cutting up my leg on my pedal. She apologized a bunch of times and asked if I was OK – I said yeah, I’m fine – but you need to look where you’re walking because this is a bike path.

In the last year I’ve come to really love biking places. I just spent a bunch of money on a helmet, lights, and a pretty new messenger bag to make a biking-mainly lifestyle safer and more realistic. I obey traffic laws about 95% of the time, which is about the same as when I’m driving. It’s just frustrating that stupid people not paying attention makes it harder to be healthy and environmentally friendly.

I’m sitting out in front of Kopi working on my independent study and drinking hibiscus tea. I’m listening to Devotchka and it’s just started to rain. If it weren’t for the infernal flies dodging the rain by landing on my bare calves, this just might be a perfect morning.

I knew this would happen. Even on that second very hard day on the Camino, I knew it would. I knew that despite the physical pain and the wrenching loneliness, despite the isolation and fear, despite the language barrier and being half a world away from everyone I knew and loved – a day would come when I would miss the Camino and ache to be back there.

SB asked me why I thought this was the case, and I told him that the Camino for me was an experience absolutely as far removed from every day life as I could imagine – entirely removed from things like work and classes and independent studies and bills and Moodles and houses to be sold. I miss it now like I miss old relationships – not that I actually want to be there right now, walking on untrained feet, spending money I don’t have on foods I can only barely recognize – but every so often there’s a twinge of remembrance. Unlike old relationships, however, the Camino is a thing I can have again – that I hope to have again, so that twinge of remembrance is undercut with deep longing, the same longing that drew me there to begin with.

A few months before I left, Neil told me that he thought I would go back. He walked the Camino Frances in 2005, and returned to do part of the Via de la Plata within six months. I’m not as driven by it as he is, but I will be back, and as soon as I can.

lolla-oh

Not going to Lollapalooza after all. We both have work to do, and it’s not going to do itself while we’re saving the environment. I guess we’ll just have to ride bikes and not contribute to global warming instead.