I sit in the backyard, chair turned toward the sun, with a new book.
The sun is warm and good. I need this. Our house was built in 1992. Brand new by east coast standards. Ancient history in the ever expanding, southwestern metropolis of Phoenix. The lawn is manicured, irrigated, overseeded, fertilized. I am reading about a man who uses a bicycle for his main source of transportation as I sit in the midst of an unsustainable desert oasis. This lawn, the impossibility of it all.
It is a Christmas present from my wife, David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries. I had, of course, heard of Mr. Byrne. Who hasn’t? He has been making music forever. A few of his tracks are among my all time favorites. I knew he wrote, and I had heard of his book at some time or another. But, I really knew nothing about it other than it had something to do with the bike.
This pill party web experience we call drunkcyclist also has something to do with the bike. And, even I, the chief idiot in charge of this train wreck, cannot really say what that something is. I wondered where the text could lead me. Just about anywhere, really. Just about anywhere.
It was two days unwrapped, but I had not been able to dig in. Once I had, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, it was better than I anticipated.
I should temper that last statement, I suppose, by saying I really don’t expect much from anything these days. That was no crack at Mr. Byrne. Rather, law school has done this to me. Constantly spending every waking moment trolling through yet more utterly cumbersome verbiage in an attempt to parse out nuggets of wisdom does change one’s approach to the written word. And, one’s enjoyment of the same. I find myself knocking everything down to an outline, and in turn, boiling that to an essence that can fit on a 3 x 5 card.
You’d think all that would make one a better writer. Oddly enough, I still churn out the some drivel. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? Or, perhaps, it is still easy to type away as this fellow I’ve named “big jonny” and just call it good enough.
This is no book review. I’m really not much good at that type of thing. I’ve tried before, a few times, in the past. Mixed results mostly. If I like it, I’ll tell ya. Simple enough.
I like this book.
Later that night, we go to an Irish Bar for dinner. Seemed like the thing to do. Me, my father, and father in law at one end of the table, drinking pints of Guinness. Cracking jokes. Enjoying one another’s company.
One asked me, not sure which, how may bikes I have. I couldn’t answer.
Mine alone, or the kid’s bikes too, I asked?
What’s the difference, they said, laughing.
The kids have three. No, four.
They laughed some more.
My wife has four. At least. Maybe five.
They continued laughing.
I asked to borrow a pen. My father often (always) has one in his shirt pocket. I’ve no idea why, really. But, I benefit from his preparedness just the same.
I started making a list on a cocktail napkin.
When I got back home, I went out to the garage and counted. I had forgotten one.
An orange Kona Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Sorry, sweetheart. No offense meant. And, no, Pineapple, you can’t buy her. Not yet, anyways.
We (I) have twenty six bicycles.
And so it goes…by