Putting Me in My Place

This post is going to progress a little like this: I will begin by tooting my own horn, like the robust french horn, then I will proceed to explain how someone, who will remain nameless for the moment, stuffed a plug, a tennis ball would probably be sufficient, into the end of my horn and quickly put me in my place.

As many of you know, but of course it is my duty to constantly remind you, I have laboriously pedaled my heavily loaded bicycle 3,500 miles. It began on a dirt road which I shared with heavy truck traffic and was often rutted, muddy, gravely or bumpy, but rarely smooth and easy. The loaded panniers that carry my life necessities, like a pillow, act as sails in the wind, which for the most part has always blown into my face. The hills continued to erupt in front of me, but I always managed to reach the top and enjoy the thrill of the decent. I have frightened away bears with the girth and strength of my legs. In my mind, my leg muscles are so big that I have begun to walk like a lifelong horseback rider, with a swaying bow-legged gait.

I have spent my weeks in Seattle taking some, in my opinion, much deserved rest, while the whirlwind of activities continues around me. Between Sara, Tucker, and Max there is enough running taking place out of this quiet little home to make an antelope look lazy, not to mention anything of myself. The next hurricane needs to be named Hurricane Stevens. Their day of exercise is not viewed as successful unless it has involved more than one sport, or in Sara’s words, “9 activities per week.” Of course, I have sat by and watched this with some superior amusement. I am an elite and tested endurance athlete, leaping hills in a single bound, perfecting warrior 1 with my hands behind my back.

Sunday past was a typical Seattle fall day: morning light exposed a cool gray misty atmosphere that will hang around all day like a lost friend on a great bike trip that has made himself at home in your house for way to long. Tucker, in his compassionate interest to keep me happy, had offered to go for a nice long bike ride. There really was no debating the matter, it was wet and dreary outside, so we decided to go for a quick jog. I have staunchly avoided joining them on runs for two reasons. First, I did not want to damage their pride and ego when they lay witness to the grace and speed of my cowboy stride; second, and to a much lesser degree, I was afraid of aggravating my joints and causing injury. In borrowed shoes I ran the 4 mile loop around Green Lake with Tucker. Nothing exciting or traumatic to share from the run aside from my occasional heavy gasping, due I think to the high humidity in the air, which made it challenging to carry a conversation.

That brings us to today, and this is the scenario. I may never know if Tucker lured my into this trap to teach me a lesson or put me in my place, but I do know that I can barely walk. What makes it worse is that I can not, without great groans and terrible pains in my quads, sit down or stand up. My legs have seized, locked-up, shut down. I would rather crawl down stairs than face them like a man, or even an adolescent, cracky-voiced, teen. The nylon fabric of my lightweight travel pants exerts enough pressure on my bruised legs that I have decided to go without clothes until I recover (not true, but exaggeration is the name of the game). My inability to move has provided me with the time to carve the most delicate walking-staff. On the top is an accurate model of the globe with an over-sized biker carved astride the planet, like the Lance Armstrong commercial where he pedals so fast the planet’s rotation changes. With the staff, I take long slow walks with the dog, and dream of the end of the week when I will be back on the comfort of my bike. Back on the comfort of my bike and into the wet, cold, windy northwest fall with legs that work, know what to do and how to do it well.

The ball is still firmly lodged in the bell-end of my horn and I have no idea how to extricate it. So far my attempt to just blow harder on my horn has not had the intended results. I think I will go eat some ice-cream and ponder new approaches to the dilemma.

2 Responses to “Putting Me in My Place”

  1. Martha says:

    Funny, sassy, self-deprecating; one of your most enjoyable posts yet. Kudos to the Stevens clan for staying active (although I’m afraid to ever visit them), and to you for your fabulous attitude and delightful prose.

  2. Caitlyn says:

    Your post made me laugh out loud.

    I have always been intimidated by your swaying gait. And there is nothing like exercise that your body is not accustomed to to incite a little humility. You still have thighs of steel; they just are not used to running is all. And I’m sure your warrior one is perfect.

    Maybe you can use some ice cream to lubricate the horn near the tennis ball site….jk. Toot away! You are a fierce bicycling beast.

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