Build-Up, With Soap
Only four more days until I hop on a plane, my little suitcase loaded with hard-to-duplicate delicacies such as homemade olives and umeboshi paste and lemon ‘crud’…never leave home w/out ’em… and a banjo banging on my back (the special Adam HUNT banjo w/resonator, an’ green vinyl soft case) and make for New York, (u nork).
Can hardly stand it.
Already, I’ve decided any road cycling is too risky without body guards these last few days. I’ve got catastro-phobia bad ( in direct proportion to the enormity of the project I’m facing).
This is always the case. Before flying to teach Wombat Camp in Anchorage, I concentrated, while trying not to hold on too tightly to the bars the last couple of hard dirt rides prior to flying…for fear I’d harm myself and be ink-ipacitated.
Sorry, that’s when you can’t WRITE cuz you broke yr hand.
Afraid I’d get Ankle-izing Sponsorosis: this is when you get a great new sponsor (as I have, even though this is no race)…an expectation is placed upon me. A bit of pressure. And many many of my racing bretheren (Casey Kunselman comes to mind) would, contract in hand, go out and train extra hard to emprouden (I know that’s not a word) the new boss…and wham! Broken bone.
It just occurred to me that, for racers, this is potentiated by the obligatory usage of a new, untried bicycle. Very bad recipe: new machine, big expectations, new sponsor. I always got to ride my same ol’ , same-ol': an incalculable advantage as I got older and tireder.
Did I mention I’d be riding a 1974 custom Merz? Courtesy of Noah? That I’ve never ridden? THANK GOD I’m not racing (and thank god I don’t care to impress anyone. No, really. ) And as Noah reminded me, it would be getting a new coat of paint since it was improperly repainted by the previous owner…
It is my custom not to batten down niggling details like “transpo” and “lodging”. Gellner, a 34 year old rabid Cunningham collector essentially CC’s and my ‘pretend kid’ (we tragically barren ladies attract Youth In Need Of A Suitably Offbeat Parent or Two)…is putting on a ‘do’ (that’s a pretend party: “four people walk into a bar…”) Monday night. He asked me this morning “ JP, where are you staying afterward……you know our place is one room, don’t you?”
“I just figured I’d wing it…” I said with the confidence of a person who has finagled couch space from a stranger on a plane a time or two.
“You’d better clinch something” he sighed.
I called Talia, Christy, Nicole, biker pals all. All fully booked, in THEIR one-room apartments.
Maybe Noah’s right about NYC being inhospitable to “wingers”.
I got out the heavy machinery (my battered phone book). I dug up the number of a very cherished mentor of mine I hadn’t seen in an inexplicably long time. Her kid is a NYC crime reporter. He rides a bike. I draggged him up Tam once.
He was the perfect person to call out of the blue.
“Chez Graham is at your disposal” he said to me via e-mail.
Suddenly the urge to take a risky ride hits me now, at one-a.m. A gust of “perceived security” stabilizes my world, an’I want to re-derange it (note to reader: this is why I ride a bicycle everywhere).
I beat this urge down, and readied a bucket of soapy water to tackle the filthy, oozing ‘food ghetto’– my half–of the refrigerator.
Make CC happy before I go.
Prove that I can organize something.