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TWO THIN SLICES OF MY LIFE

climate, biking, 21st century life, walking

What fascinates me nonstop? The quirks and mysteries of everyday living. Sometimes the silly little things. Like now. I’m shopping at Whole Foods. It’s lunchtime. Hungry, I scoop some crystallized ginger into a bag, flame raisins into another, mixed nuts into another, so I can sit at the counter and write and nibble. The checker weighs my bulk purchases, first the ginger at $6.99 a pound comes to $1.05. Then the nuts at $6.99 a pound, they’re also $1.05! Then the raisins at $3.39 a pound, they’re $1.05!! How’d that happen? What are the odds? Am I just a consistent scooper?? I want to laugh out loud.

There are the not-so-silly things too. As I walk, bus, or bike I’m more aware of where I am than I would be if I whizzed through. I notice people caught in their heads in their personal vehicles, people almost not here. Many babble on cellphones or text as they cruise round the corner at Capitol and Oakland. Do they think about the fact that they’re riding deadly weapons that could erase any of us passersby at the slip of an eye? Yes, it’s what people are thinking that mystifies me.

I walk. In windows I glimpse worlds I can’t possibly imagine, any more than you can imagine mine! Well, we can all imagine, but it’s only imagination! Man in front of TV, child at computer, mother reaching into kitchen cabinet, dog looks out and barks at me. I pass a shuffler, chatting teenagers. Cell-phoned bikers pass me. All these brain waves emanate, I guess. Undetected by me, they permeate the atmosphere. Or maybe they don’t. I’m walking through a maelstrom of light waves, sound waves, particles of dust, smoke, pesticide, perfume, endless vibrations in the air. And I’m contributing my trail. And no one knows what I’m thinking.

So here’s what I was thinking, what I wrote (in my head) on November 10 as I . . .

November 10, 8:55 AM, 32 degrees and snowing, I rush out the door. Is my garden finally ready for the compost heap? No time to check right now. I unlock my bike, snow’s very wet, run back inside, grab my yellow plastic poncho, looks like a giant plastic bag, at least it’ll keep my seat dry, haven’t I learned my lesson yet, no biking in winter, but I’ll be late if I take a bus, I have 20 minutes for 3 miles on my single speed, wonder if I’ll make it there and back, I always wonder that. Anyway it’s not winter, it’s fall. I pedal, are my arugula, collards, and broccoli limp from last night’s chill. I’m worried about fall, falling, fallen leaves are slippery when wet, one of those things I can’t afford to forget. Like black ice 12 years ago that cost me half of a tooth. At the foot of our driveway. The scenario runs through my mind, swollen lip, 6 stitches, half-missing front tooth, Adolph telling me I look too awful to go to Gregory Mouloudji’s concert at the Alliance Francaise. My resolution to never again bike when ice could be present.

Leaves not too bad, suddenly the sun, I’m cruising, I’m glad, glad I took the chance, sun shines through giant snowflakes, I’m dressed warmly, I get to the chiropractor on time, things have worked out for a few minutes, Biking through sunny snowflakes is invigorating, it’s worth it, worth it to live for the minute, to chat with friends while I wait, I’m on time, chiropractor running late. And when I get home, I find my garden has lasted.

And now it’s 12 days later, November 22, garden still here, and so am I, about to hop onto my bike and pedal home from Whole Foods.
 

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