After three weeks of living alone, the kids are back. I had to go shopping and ended up with a car full of groceries. The house doesn’t feel the same; it’s filled with the noises of bodies moving around. As I settle back in, I have to pick and choose which parts of the solitude I can keep. Can I really cook for three (and soon four and six as my wife returns and guests descend) without packing back on the six pounds I’ve let go? Will I still ride in the mornings and then spend the afternoons at the gym? (Of course not — work and family matter more).
In search of balance, I pulled my simplest ride out of the garage but it didn’t feel right. Wiggly in a subtle way. Front brake and wheel: check. Rear setup: no good. Loose bearings. The relaxing ride turned into an equally relaxing maintenance session that stretched long. Clouds rolled in, turning the blazing sun into soothing low-contrast ambient light. I refilled my coffee mug and came back out to try to finesse the delicate balance between the bearings in which they start out too tight. As each bearing is tightened against the nut, the space opens up slightly into buttery smoothness. Cone wrenches in hand, eyes in the middle distance, I enjoyed the feel of feathery touches of mist as the lightest of drizzles washed across my skin.
I’m sure the mechanic in town, Bob Flint, could finish this task in seconds (perfectly), while chatting with me in the shop. I was on the third try when the skies opened up with a crash and rain poured like a torrent across my little mechanical meditation. It rain into my eyes and down inside mouth. It turned the grease in my hands to slime and pulled down my socks. I staggered away from the table, abandoning the wheel and my coffee. I saved the cone wrenches, but probably only because my hands forgot to put them down. Bad mechanic.
This is the photo of my transcendental buttery bearing space post apocalypse. I took it standing under the sun umbrella on the porch (irony intended). There’s good news. The rain stopped. There’s also bad news. Buttery smoothness was not achieved. We all know there’s water mixed in there somewhere and the transcendental state is waiting in another place for another day. On the other hand, I’m not really a perfectionist and I think I should take bike out for a “test” ride now that the clouds have moved away. . . .