The bicycle is my home.
Today, I met a lady who carries around a bubble sword. Everyday, she takes it everywhere she goes. It is a huge brightly colored child’s toy that makes giant bubbles, sheathed neatly within the nylon waistband of her fanny pack. I asked her why she always carried it around, and she said it was her therapy. “I’ve had a lot of deaths,” she said. Like a cat? How many? How many did she have left? I began to include the possibility that she was out of her damn mind. Rather, she explained, that after tragically losing her father, then her husband, and then her son, she would find herself anxious and consumed by the past, oftentimes so afraid of the unknown future and it’s potential losses that she wouldn’t do anything, go anywhere; she would just wallow in the pain of her own memories, her own self pity, and suffocate. She makes bubbles, she says, to remind her to be in the present. “They only last a few seconds, or a minute if you’re lucky, but you have to be in the present - y’know, here - to witness how pretty they are.” She didn’t think about the bubbles she made before, or would make, only what she could float across Halsted Street, whatever was happening that moment. She made some really great ones before she left, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had met her before.
It was such a poignant caricature of a stranger, and a penetrating reminder that life is both sad and beautiful. Always give the crazy one with the bubble sword the time of day; there’s a good chance they’ve got an interesting story to tell.
but I’ve decided my real career choice is to have a full life. Full of what, however, remains to be seen. Full of my own imposed or thoroughly researched meaning? Full of as much happiness I can personally cultivate for myself? Full of study into who I am and why I am that person? Yes. I’ve decided this is my life’s work. Collecting hobbies and developing talents that refine me and continuously celebrating relationships takes up all my free time these days, with little investment beyond what makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anybody else. I don’t care about having nice things, more about being a proper human, and having good tools, too. I’m fucked if the zombies ever come, I guess.
…as a weekly service to myself and others; a ritual function of, by, and for my community, as an exercise that fosters providence, health, strength, and benevolence, and the impetus for temperance and willful restraint of my vices so as to maintain my constant vigilance at that carbon and alloy altar that clears my heart and mind of all but good-will. The bidon is my challace, the gel my votive feast, my sweat and suffering my sacred duty. My saints and martyrs line the pages of different books, with foreign names and more foreign homes, all deserving of pilgrimage. My psalms and hymns are the evidential grunts and wimpers of my toil and exertion, and the completion and subsequent liberation from which is cause for joyous celebration. Today, however, I skipped church to hang out with Carl Sagan and NWA, whom provided similar purgation.