Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bike to Work


I biked to work despite my rusty chain, inspired by Chummy, my favorite character in the amazing TV series Call the Midwife.  It's a BBC production but in the states it airs on PBS.

We don't have cable or a digital converter box on our TVs, so we can only watch DVDs and VHS tapes on the four sets that were given to us by friends and family.  No worries.  I checked out Call the Midwife series one on DVD from my public library, and series two is on order, so I got in line for it.  Instead of waiting for the library's DVD set to arrive, though, I'll probably watch series two online.  It's available to stream for free until June 18, 2013 on the PBS website.

If you can't find it for free at your public library, you can watch series one on Netflix, if you're not a total tightwad like me who doesn't like to pay for what I can get for free.  Although it's good to support PBS, so maybe I should buy it from them.  The show is so good, the kind of thing I'd like to watch over and over, that I might end up asking for the DVD set for--dang it, I missed Mother's Day.  What's the next occasion where I can ungreedily ask for a present?  I know: our anniversary.  If I'm still as obsessed with the show in October as I am now, I'll ask my hubby to buy the complete series for my anniversary gift.  To some girls, diamonds are a best friend.  I prefer Chummy.

Or maybe we should save our money so I can fix up my old, rusty bike:



My old, rusty bike is pathetic, but at least I have the luxury of riding it on solid pavement on a quiet street.  It's just under one mile from my house to my job, and I can take side-streets all the way.  At least I'm not dodging cameras and lighting as I ride my bike on cobblestone like the actors have to do in Call the Midwife:



When I first got my bike, when it was not old and rusty but shiny and new, Will installed the basket in the front so I could haul my books back and forth to work at the library.  I was up early, not knowing how long it would take to ride it to work.  I'm not normally a morning person, but on this day I was fresh as a daisy.  Excited to contribute in my small way toward saving the planet by expending my own energy to get to work rather than by burning fossil fuel in my car.

I took off down the road. It's true what they say about how you never forget how to ride a bike. It felt like I was flying. Free. With the sun shining on my smiling face. It never occurred to me that, as a frumpy, middle-aged woman, I might look like a total dork to some.

A couple of blocks into my route, I approached two tweens walking to school. I'd seen these girls in the neighborhood before, but I don't know them. Still, without thinking, I waved to them and called out a chummy "hey".

They did not wave back. The two girls looked at each other, looked at me, and then looked back at each other, bursting into a fit of laughter. 

As I rode past them, at first I just kept smiling, not quite getting the joke. Then I realized they were laughing at me. A frumpy, middle-aged woman on a dorky bike that has brakes on the pedals and one gear.

But you know what? I didn't let those mean girls stop me. I certainly don't bike to work every day. I've got a compulsive lateness problem so I'm usually in too much of a rush to get to work on time to bother with airing up my tires, finding my bicycle lock, and huffing away to work. It's faster to get in my car and go. But I ride my bike to work when I find the time, or when I'm inspired to, like when I saw the wonderfully awkward Chummy learn how to ride a bike in Call the Midwife, not letting the mean neighborhood children taunt her into giving up.

Kids, get out of the way. Chummy and I have important work to do.