Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ride

Your heart pounds so hard you feel it thumping against your ribcage. Your breath comes in short gasps and your throat starts to feel like sandpaper as moisture leaves your body with every meter traveled.  Your pulse races and muscles scream in exasperation as you will your body to move. Pain comes in bursts and despite what you want yourself to do, the explosion of agony overwhelms the desire to move on.

...


This is part of my bucket list. When I wrote it down, I thought that I would be fulfilling it in the twilight of my years. It’s one of those things you do when you have all the time in the world (which translated means well, old and retired). But as it turns out, it’s one of those things that I found myself doing in the present, way ahead of its planned timeframe. 


It started out as a yearning, if you will. I have ballooned out in college. I don’t know the exact time in my life I started living a sedentary life but I suddenly found myself tipping the scales to the tune of 90 kgs. My midsection expanded with the years and the sensation of carrying the extra poundage got to me as time moved on.

I am not a glutton but I do have a healthy appetite when I have the drive to do so. My weight problem is primarily brought about by my lifestyle choice: I rarely exert myself physically, preferring instead to lounge around doing as few physical tasks as I can get away with. And it also is bolstered by the fact that my hobbies and interests required few movements. I write so I’m chairbound. I read which requires a static position and I have only acquired the photography bug just lately.


It is time, I think to reverse the effect of all of those years, which is easier said than done, if you get my drift.


So after reflecting on the many things related to this end I've realized that the window to really do something about it is shrinking and it was time to start doing something about it.


So I dragged my ass off to Chinook, well not literally or that dramatic, haha. LOL. I embarked with a single-mindedness coupled with a side intention, of course (which I’ll keep to myself). And as always, I got myself disoriented after I embarked from the train. (It always happens in Chinook, which I’ve come to realize now. Something about the place destroys my sense of direction.) Even my trusty Google map app was no help. I always go in circles.


It amazes me, you know, to realize that I have really, really made the transition to this new life. Walking along the avenue thoroughfares, choosing the walkway over the pedestrian lane, the hints of winters grasp in bare patches of soil, the wonder of fast growing grass lining pathways and oh yeah, Victoria’s Secret billboards. You count the small blessings and give thanks for the chance to make something of your life.


To be honest, I was still having second doubts about my purpose. I lingered on the foyer of the Cineplex theatre and debated the merits of watching the Thor movie or Hannah. And this, I guess is the downside of being a bachelor: there comes a moment in your life when you realize that you can no longer enter a movie house alone. It is as funny as it is sobering. 


So one enters Starbucks and suffer through the ultra sweet frapuccino because there are no Tim Hortons around to sate one's coffee craving, lingering through the bookstore and denying the itch to buy a new paperback; but giving in to that same desire in the digital shop next door. I guess the gamer won over the reader this time around. And this is where being a bachelor outshines its opposite: there are no guilty emotions associated with that kind of indulgence. Sacrifice some things for other things. It’s life. But I am veering off topic.


So after a brief stroll across the mall, I found myself gravitating towards the sporting section of the Zellers chain. 


“It calls out to you doesn’t it?” I looked at the object of my affection with a bit of doubt. One thing you get to realize when you’ve lived as long as I is that there are certain things that you cannot just grab just because you fancy it. Everything is flawed and there is often a price to be paid when you prematurely give in to those impulses. 


You know something? You go into a store with something in mind and is presented with a confusing array of options you’ve never known was possible. I mean, there are many technical aspects that shatters your preconceptions for even the most mundane of objects. In the end though, you are always left with the choice.


Sleek handlebars, chrome plating, gearshifts, suspensions, cool etchings and yeah, the most important thing: cool discounted price. Hehe, always pays to have a discount.


After circling the rack where she rested for a few times and looking at her sisters similarly arrayed, I found myself back to her. I guess it does call to me. I nodded to Todd, the salesman who had a smug smile on his face as he affirmed his own judgment.


To be honest, my heart was racing when I wheeled her out. It is partly due to the sensation of acquiring something and partly due to the doubts of whether I can ride her. I have to say that it was more than ten years ago since I last rode one of her ilk and I worried about whether I could recall the skill. Kinda like life again, if you get the gist.


As a matter of fact, the moment I went outside and tried to ride, I fell. The sensation of finding out that one cannot maintain balance and to feel her wobble beneath you causes a cold sensation that douses your initial enthusiasm. For one, there is the sinking feeling of having wasted more than a hundred bucks and the humiliation of not being able to ride. It is a sobering and scary predicament.


So, swatting those sensations outside and thinking of the likely alibi as to why I wouldn’t ride her (flat tire) to anyone who might ask, I had to drag her along Macleod all the while wondering whether I can regain back the skill I had many years ago.


The thing about life is that it doesn’t cease to surprise you. A hundred meters from the place I call home here and a stray thought comes to my mind urging me to give it another go. So I place my foot on the pedal and push off. I teetered and for a moment, I doubted myself but then I found that sweet spot and then I was awash with this 'eureka' sensation that you’ve regained the skill and you are now riding into the sunset. That feeling of elation is pure bliss – poetry.


And I guess, it’s a metaphor to life and I’d be a fool not to recognize it as such.

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