I've spent most of the day at yard work. While behind the mower I remember thinking each breath is sixty parts warm water with the flavor of mildewed river mud.
Yesterday my lovely wife approached and asked if I'd inflate the tires of her bicycle. Why, I asked. She doesn't ride.
She owns a Schwinn. A cruiser. Nice bike, blue. I purchased it as a gift for her birthday. Twenty-five years ago. When I wheeled the ride into our living room she jumped up and down, gave little squeals of delight and in the process I received nice warm kisses. Pushed out my chest in pride as if I'd planned her gift with great thought when in fact I'd just spun the 'ole wheel of chance.
She rode it, once. One time. Down the street, flipped around and back, climbed from the seat and said, "My butt hurts."
I parked the bike in my workshop and there it sat for years. We relocated to our present home and the Schwinn was hung from a hook in our garage. Dust settled and cobwebs formed.
"The tires are dry rotted and I'm sure the tubes won't hold air." She pouts. So, I sigh and we enter the garage and I take down the dusty relic (which wasn't easy) and with the help of my compressor fill the tires. They held. I had her bend and traced the dry rot, little lines of separation in the rubber.
We both own bicycles. I'm just as guilty as my wife when it comes to riding. Way back, years ago, I biked daily to work. I'd park my bike outside the back of the shop and pride myself on the exercise it gave. Until one fateful rainy morning when I hit a pothole and flew over the handlebars and broke my wrist and cut a fine deep hole in my forehead. I parked the bike with the excuse it was just too dangerous. She asked why I didn't sell it. Said, well, you know, maybe some day it'll come in handy when the zombies attack and I'll peddle us to safety. Yeah, right.
When she understood the damage time had inflicted upon her bike tires she said, "Well, then lets put new ones on it." I mentioned the cost and tired to tactfully suggest she'd probably not spend more than ten minutes on the road before she parked it, again, for another twenty five years.
She eased close and said, "Please." I loaded the bike in my truck.
At the local bicycle dealer, I roll the Schwinn inside and the young man at the counter came around and said, "Oh my God. A real Schwinn. Hey, Louie, come take a look at this old beauty."
I think they were all of ten years old. Sweet Wife beamed in their glory. Counter Guy says, "Hey, the paint is metal flake. Check this out, pre-buyout...made in Hungary. Hey, Dude, this is cool."
I stand back and watch the boys caress Sweet Wife's bike, and before long they've selected new rubber and tubes, lube the old girl and installed a new water bottle holder. Sweet Wife shops. She selects a new gel-padded seat cover and was just about to the clothing department before I pulled back the reins. Cha-ching...stuffs expensive.
I paid the tab and we leave and I glance over and notice Sweet Wife is all smiles. I'm sure she dreamed of the July tour in France, riding high alongside the boys as they cross the finish line in Paris.
Back home. "Honey."
I have her Schwinn's kickstand in place as she mounts. "Yes?"
"Get your bike ready." Ah, man....
She takes the new rubber out for a test ride. I can hear her giggles from a block away. What the heck. I walk to a back bedroom of our house and gently roll my old Schwinn Black Phantom into the garage and fill her tires. She stills shines.
Recently a friend suggested I watch a series of movies, shows, titled 'Games of Thrones.' Well, should I?