Colleague: “So what plans for the weekend?”
Me: “Well I bought a bike yesterday, so…”
Colleague: “Wow! That’s so great! Congratulations!!”
Me: “umm… bicycle”
Colleague: “Huh. Okay…”
Me: “But when they say ‘bike’ here in the US, they usually mean bicycle. Only in India we generally say that for motorcycles”
Colleague: “Well you see I’m not an American. So I’ll just call it like they do in India”
In case you were wondering, the weekend plan was to go biking… uh, cycling with the missus around a lovely park next to the airport. It sits on the river at one end of the runway, so it’s a great spot to watch planes land and take-off right over people’s heads. And best of all, it’s within biking cycling distance from all the DC monuments. Oh, think of all the fun we’ll have!
It took me at least ten minutes to figure it out how to ride a geared bicycle. Ten LONG minutes of looking like a Bugs Bunny cartoon: pedaling like crazy but going nowhere. And by the way, who’s the genius who thought it would be a great idea to put hard seats on bikes? With every push of the pedals I could almost hear my butt go “Ow! Ow! Ow!” When it looked like I finally got the hang of the gear thingies, the wife asks if I’m ready to go. It took every ounce of willpower to stop myself from suggesting a half-hour break.
She sped off like a marathon champ on her squeaky, rusty, ancient bike. And here I was, tagging along a couple of light years behind her, wheezing, gasping and pedaling for dear life. They say the brain has two halves.
I like the second half.
A million years and a billion absolutely clueless gearshifts later, the missus comes to a stop at a fork in the biking trail. “Which way do you want to go?” she asks as I pull up next to her. I want to decide but somehow I have lost the ability to think!
This sudden stop after the vigorous workout has completely messed up my insides. Slight nausea from all the panting, which reminds me of all those godforsaken attempts to go to the gym. What memories! Now the nausea is worse. A weird silence fills my ears, drowning out all the noise – the traffic, planes, my darling wife’s blah-blah-blah about the biking trail, etc. etc.
“Okay, so that’s where all my blood has been. Why is the earth spinning in the opposite direction? Is this how someone passes out? Shit, this feels AWESOME! Somebody should make a movie about this. Hey! WHOA! Don’t do it, man! Don’t throw up in public. They’ll ask you to pick it up like dog poop. All those tourists are staring. You’ll become the poster-boy of losers all over the world. Shake it off! Shake it off! NO WAIT! Bad idea…”
You know how they distort audio and video in movies to show the point-of-view of a person on the edge of consciousness? Well, I did see my wife say something but all I heard was “Aaaaaaarrr Yoooooouuuuu Oooookaaayyyyyy?”
“Me? I’m fine! Cool! Relax, don’t worry” And then… letting go of the bike. Staggering onto the grass wearing a stupid grin, pretending to admire the surroundings. Sitting down slowly… ah, forget it! Lying on my back, arms folded behind my head and tapping my feet on the grass. Trying to look like I stopped to admire the stars. These stars. You can’t see these stars? Oh, they’re great. Spinning and everything!
“See, THIS IS WHY I tell you to exercise daily! We have barely biked for 2 miles and you look like you’re ready to drop dead!” There’s no situation so bad that you can’t make it worse by adding a little guilt. Words of wisdom spoken by a true… WHAT? TWO MILES?? THAT’S ALL???
That’s when I realized: I am going to die here. Either that or the missus is going to lend a helping hand in speeding up the process. Lord, why didn’t I marry a girl my parents chose for me? IDIOT! MORON!!
A few less dramatic rest stops later Mrs. Champ asks, “Do you want to keep going all the way to Rosslyn?”
“Hmm… you know what? I have my sunglasses on and it’s going to be dark soon. What do you say, we go back to the park?”
Great. Now I’m going up on the Pathetic Excuses Wall of Fame.
Later that night in the comfort of the indoors (and a soft pillow under me) I hear the wife talking to her mom. You know, the usual stuff – “Today I cooked A, B, C and we did X, Y, Z… blah, blah, blah…”
Mother-in-law: “You cycled for SIX MILES? That’s almost TEN KILOMETERS! Are you both fine? Weren’t you exhausted?”
Me: (Please don’t tell her. Please don’t tell her)
Wife: “I’m fine, Ma. I exercise every day. But you should’ve seen…”
Me: (Kill me. Kill me now)
Before we go to bed she says, “Your legs are going to hurt really bad in the morning”
Me (reaching for the extra pillow): “Ever heard of pain relocation therapy?”
Wife: “No. And why two pillows?”
Me: “Let’s just say my legs are the last thing I’m worried about”