I decided that it was time for me to finally ride my bike.
As all three of you who read my blog are aware, I recently moved to South Carolina, where the sun shines brightly every day, except on days when there’s a hurricane.
Free of gale force winds this day, it was the perfect opportunity to hit the road. This was around 11 a.m., right after I finished my part-time job. (Yes, I’m retired and thought I was done with work, until the person who insists she loves me said, “Wanna ever take a vacation? Go back to work.”)
Anyway, at 11:01 I put on my bike shoes, my helmet and went outside to the garage, where I removed my bike from the standing rack and proceeded to try and put air in the tires, which were flat because I haven’t ridden in three, maybe four years.
The air and the tires refused to cooperate. I have skinny tires. They usually take one look at me and go, “No, nope. Not gonna happen,” and refuse to accept any life giving nitrogen, oxygen and argon, otherwise known as air to you non-scientific types.
Now, in a garage, at the start of summer, in South Carolina, is like crawling inside an oven and closing the door. Within seconds, I was sweating. Seconds later, I was swearing. Seconds later, I was sweating and swearing at the same time.
But, I refused to give up and two hours later, the skinny tires had enough air to carry my considerable bulk and I headed out. I’d gone about three feet when I realized it was hot. I stopped and asked Siri how hot it was. Siri knows everything. Even how hot it is.
“It’s freakin’ hot is what it is,” Siri said.
“Yeah, but how hot?” I asked.
“Six thousand, three hundred, eighty-six degrees,” Siri said.
Siri is never wrong.
“Wow,” I said, “that’s hot.”
“Go back inside, you idiot,” Siri said.
I’m not one to let my iPhone assistant push me around, however, and I again set out. I rode, and rode, and rode until I decided it was time to turn back. I stopped. Reached for my water bottle. Came up with nothing but a clenched fist.
Oh, I thought. My water bottle is back home. On the kitchen island. With a post-it note saying, “REMEMBER TO TAKE WATER!!!!!” with 5 exclamation points!!!!!
Hmm, this is bad, I thought. It’s 6,383 degrees and I have no water. I’m going to die out here in the desert.
Then I saw a piece of cardboard. “Gadzooks! Eureka! Forsooth, a solution!” Yes, I said, “Gadzooks” and “Eureka” and “Forsooth” because I am a cultured man, even when I am dying of thirst.
With the cardboard, I thought, I can wet my finger, rub it in the dirt, and make a little mud and write, “Left my water at home Water bottle on the kitchen island along with a reminder note!!!!! Need agua!!!!! Please help a dying man!!!!!” with 5 exclamation points!!!!!
Excited, I put my finger in my mouth, but my mouth was dry as sand. As dust. As a bone. As … you get the idea. Had no spit. Not a single drop.
This is bad, I said.
“You’re darn right,” Siri said.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” I said.
“Well, I’m giving to you anyway, you big dummy.”
Grim faced, I climbed back on my bike and started back home. A couple of hundred yards in, a turkey vulture flew over my head. It looked down, saw my distress and obviously thought, “Lunch!!!!!” with five exclamation points.
It kept circling, lower and lower until I thought I could hear it say, “Die already you flabby sonavagun. I could feed the whole family for an entire year on your carcass!!!!!”
I took my phone out again and asked, “Siri, how much farther?”
“Too far,” Siri said. “You’re going to expire any minute now. We should have gone back inside.”
Determined not to let Siri or the turkey vulture win, I pushed on until, Gadzooks, Eureka, Forsooth, I made it home.
Where I promptly collapsed on the front lawn. I came to when felt the turkey vulture nibbling my earlobe.
I crawled inside. Reached the kitchen island. With great effort I rose up and grabbed my water bottle. It was empty. Fluttering down to the floor was another post-it note.
“BEFORE YOU GO, FILL YOUR WATER BOTTLE!!!!!”
With 5 exclamation points.