Over a decade ago I thought I was an aspiring writer and attended a writer’s workshop in Toronto where I got to have Roddy Doyle tell me my writing might be publishable – and establish a friendship with a far more promising writer named Stephen. He was one of those super smart people that I gravitate to and had a dry wit to revel any Monty Python skit. His parting line to me was “I hope you’ll remember me taller.”
He was also the first person to introduce me to the concept… “if you start to go crazy, how will you know you are crazy?” A great existential question.
I’m kind of hoping I am NOT crazy but as my ivory top spins around in the washing machine for the second time because of my 3am adventures I’m not as confident as I was yesterday…
Sorry, kids, I know it’s hardly fair in this Fifty Shades of Grey world that my 3am adventures involved me having ALL my clothes on! Just not really the ideal ones… which is where the “am I turning into a crazy person” dilemma comes in.
I was in a bike room at 3am. WHY, you ask? As you should. WHO decides – after an evening out, the right thing to do is head to the bike room all dressed up? Somehow it seemed it would be funnier in heels…
It all started a few days ago when I saw a notice by the elevator that said they were doing construction in the P2 level bike room so the bikes would have to be moved. For most people, that is no big deal. But, irrespective of whether I am now crazy, I am definitely not normal. So this small piece of paper almost induced a panic attack.
I’m not sure how it breaks down in the world but there are definitely parts of it where riding a bike is – at most – something you do when you are a kid. But that is not how things go down in Deutschland. It’s pretty normal to ride a bike. And the bike paths are brilliant. In my adopted hometown of Vancouver, things are much the same – except the bike paths aren’t as brilliant – but we are working on it.
So… when I got married to a German guy and he thought I should have a bike so we could go for bike rides on the weekend, it seemed an all-round good idea. Of course, at that stage, I spoke practically no German and shopping adventures involved a lot more adventure than I like in my shopping. I would normally be interested in the specs and the comparisons between bikes. But this was mostly how fast can I purchase this damn bike and get it out of the store so I can avoid all the disapproving looks that I apparently live in Germany but do not speak the lingo.
Back in 2002 I returned to Vancouver alone. But I brought the bike – cause, hey, I live a few steps from the seawall and everyone bikes in Vancouver. Of course most people have a lot more recreational time than I do so the bike got moved from my rental apartment to the P2 bike room in the apartment building in which I purchased – and became a kind of urban legend…
I live in the kind of town where people would ask, “do you have a bike?” Normal people would simply say “yes” or “no”. I would say… “theoretically yes. And I could likely ride it. But it’s in a bike room somewhere in my building and I can’t remember what it looks like. But I did lock it and put the key in an envelope… so, again theoretically, if I actually went to the bike room (I think it’s P2, not P1) with the key I might be able to find my bike…”
But, of course, what is the point of going to the bike room to LOOK at your bike? And the elusive “free time” I have been seeking for a few years now has never materialized. But it IS a bike. And, while I have no idea of its specs or virtue, I think it’s likely a decent bike. It seemed wrong to just leave it to die in the bike room. And since I locked it, no one could easily walk away with it.
So, this is how we get to the sanity assessment.
Last night I was out with my friend Dora to see some theatre and then drink a great bottle of Chardonnay. Dora is definitely not crazy! And very delightful 🙂 And she owns a bike – and rides it! Like normal, sane people.
I’m not quite sure how the topic of my German bike languishing somewhere in the bowels of my apartment building came up… but I told her about the notice that I had seen… and that maybe that was the sign I should FIND the bike. God forbid, maybe I should even ride it???
Dora has a great sense of humour so she was amused by my bike story… and understood my thoughts that it would be kind of weird walking around in a bike room with a key trying to see if any of the bike locks worked… maybe it worked for Prince Charming and the glass slipper… but I was a little worried people might think I was some kind of high tech criminal… or at least a crazy person 🙂
Maybe it was the Chardonnay 🙂 Anyway, we decided I should go and look for my bike when I got home… cause it was at least 2am so unlikely anyone would see me in the bike room trying my key on all the bike locks… and somehow it just seemed far more entertaining that I would be doing such a ridiculous task all dressed up in 4 inch heels!
Back in the days when I rode a bike every day I lived on a farm so there was no need for locks or bike rooms. They are really dirty, people! And apparently I am not the only one with a dusty bike 🙂
The whole thing was a Monty Python sketch. First I had trouble even getting into the bike room cause it’s surrounded by mesh so the lock is really complicated. A good sobriety test for sure! But I had my envelope that said “bike key” and I got the first door open and stared at all the bikes. I had no idea where to begin…
I realize that to people who ride their bikes – and spent time choosing them – the concept of having no idea what my bike looked like would seem foreign. I am pretty sure it is the one object I have purchased where I was just trying to get out of the store and totally didn’t care. All I knew was that it was a road bike, not a mountain bike.
I guess if I lived somewhere else where bike riding was confined to children, it would have been a lot easier. But this was a full bike room with all sorts of options. After I had tried my key in a few random bike locks, I had the eureka moment that I should look for a dusty bike!
That only got me so far though. It was getting really late and I was wandering around a bike room in heels ready to give up. But the analytical skills kicked in. A lot of bikes were locked together so it was unlikely to be one of them – unless it had started having an intimate relationship in the bike room I wasn’t aware of… possible but not likely… and I had some info on the bike lock in my envelope. It was Kryptonite.
A little deduction went a long way. I quit just randomly trying locks with my key hoping to win the lottery and spotted a dusty looking bike in the far corner. No other bikes tethered to it. Kryptonite lock. Dark maroon, purplish shade. Giant brand… a vague memory… I think this might be my bike… and the key fit!
Of course, the tires were so flat I had to basically carry it all the way to my apartment… Once I had propped it up in the living room I looked at my clothes. Seriously, what kind of moron stumbles around in a bike room at 3am, touching all sorts of bikes as they see if they will magically unlock, and then practically CARRIES a dusty, dirty bike out of the bike room and up the elevator in an ivory shirt and heels???
Which is why I woke up this morning wondering if I had become insane and was just too crazy to realize? The second round of laundry finished as I was typing this… and, thanks to Oxi-Clean and the good laundry skills I learned from my mother on the prairie… no one will ever know which top I was wearing when I started to go senile… 🙂