Post 504: ‘Go outside’

I called Nick because I’d had a frustrating afternoon.

The morning started out fine – I decided to work from home when I noticed I didn’t have any in-person meetings. I chugged along, answering emails, swapping the laundry and folding mounds of clothing. 

He spent the morning washing his bikes, checking his email, and stretching before going in for a later shift. 

After a quick visit to the local bike shop together in the name of work/life balance, I returned to my email. Because that’s sometimes all I do: answer email. 

I never made it up to my spare-bedroom office after folding all the laundry and stacking it in neat piles around the living room. I sat, holed up on the couch, scrunched, answering email. And, to be honest, I got totally lost in it. Absorbed, even. Touched by the urgency of each notification, I barely ate, drank water, or looked away from the screen. 

I fired off responses one by one, accepting some new assignments as they came in and skirting around others in politically savvy ways. 

Then there was one that made me want to throw my computer across the room. Then, shortly afterward, another. 

I often receive compliments on my work/life balance philosophy and the way I approach high-pressure situations. So it’s a good thing nobody could see my face beam like a stoplight and feel my pulse quicken, knuckles cracking in-between audible expletives. 

I called Nick because I’d had a frustrating afternoon.

He listened patiently and said the two words I needed to hear: “go outside.”

“Get on your bike,” he said, “and go for a ride, even if it’s just around town. You’ve been scrunched up on the couch all day and need to get away.”

I knew he was right. 

I shut my computer down at around 5:45 and prepped my gravel bike, Winifred, for a quick adventure. 

Down the hill and up another, the seasonal gravel road I chose for a 2.5-mile climb enveloped me in its tree-lined magical healing powers. I traversed puddle-ridden pathways and areas with more stream than road. I stopped thinking about work with each pedal rotation, splashing through puddles and picking lines to avoid large rocks.

After the first climb, I faced another – this one more daunting at 12.7% grade than I remember it being last year. 

But I did it. And I forgot about everything I was pissed about by the time I reached the epic downhill back to town.

My brain had switched channels to far more important things, like ice cream and what I wanted for dinner, instead.

There’s a massive hill hiding behind those trees, I swear.

Back to pre-teen summer days

Did I mention that I’m falling in love with the area?

I can’t wait to buy a knapsack, fill it with my camera(s), phone, poetry journal and a book or two and spend the day on my bike.

It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been able to set out on my bike and actually get somewhere. The “booming” downtown area is about three miles away from where I grew up and my Huffy and I didn’t always want to brave the hills. Heading downtown is easy; it’s coming back up the hill near the prison that burns.

I opted for the local library, instead. With my little black knapsack on my back, I used to cruise down Richardson Hill, ride up Ames Hill and latch my bike onto the rack in front of the local library. Then, laden with books, I’d cruise down Ames and inch up Richardson, little by little. While I’d be breathless at the top, at least I had the day’s catch on my back, ready to be devoured.

Exploring this area reminds me of those carefree, independent summer days during my pre-teens. I seem to have broken the need to constantly require companionship. Sometimes I’d just rather be alone and have adventures on my own.

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Stinky Cheese

My boyfriend provided the title for this post, and now I finally came up with something to write underneath the mysterious title. No, this post is not about stinky cheese. Rather, this is about all of the annoyances in life. Is stinky cheese not an annoyance?

The first annoyance that I would like to address is one that I know everyone has endured countless times: getting soap in the ol’ eyes. This is just a matter of opening your eyes at the worst possible moment. In comes the soap, and here comes the pain. I know that I have never screamed out loud when this has happened to me, but it sure is painful enough to want to.

Everyday, my mother and I bitch and moan about everything you can ever imagine. One concept we just cannot seem to grasp is the following: how can people not know which side of the road to walk on? When she and I are out in our Buick Rendezvous (usually heading to the mall or some store with cheap books) we always see a few walkers, and they are more often than not on the wrong side of the road. When walking on the side of the road, walk against traffic, pweeze. Thank you very much. Now, ride your bike with traffic. It really isn’t all that difficult, folks.

Cellular phones are an annoyance in many ways. The most annoying way? My mother and I agree that it is when a person is talking on their cell phone aggravatingly loud in a store. Today, while in the paint aisle, she and I overheard (it’s impossible to eavesdrop when it is so loud) a woman’s conversation about how she does all these nice things for people, and they are never nice to her in return. Okay, lady, obviously the people that you are nice to think that you are annoying, just like you are annoying when you talk about how they don’t appreciate you, in public for all to hear.

Ever crave a big bowl of cereal? Did you then go to the refrigerator, grab the carton of milk, and then tip it over into the bowl whilst licking your lips? Ever have only a few drops come out? Yeah, that would be annoyance Numero Cuatro. My oldest brother always leaves a teeny bit of milk at the bottom, and then when I crave that nice, big bowl of cereal, I have to make two trips to the fridge instead of one. Sure, the extra walk is a little more exercise (though I do not think that I need it), but it is simply unnecessary and can easily be avoided. Next time he comes home, I am hiding the milk.

My mother provided an annoyance for me. She finds it annoying that nice guys almost always finish last. I guess that I will have to ask her to delve into this further so I can find out exactly what she means.

One day in my eighth grade year, my friend (let’s call her Marie) showed up to school in a black hoodie, and brown knee-length shorts. My other friend (let’s call her Jenny) went absolutely ballistic on Marie when she saw what she was wearing. Now, you must understand that Jenny is the “fashion police” and needs to address absolutely every “error” someone has made on their outfit. Marie and Jenny were in a huge fight that whole entire day just because Marie wore brown and black together, and supposedly they “just don’t go!” Please, Jenny, get a life and stop trying to control everyone else’s. And to all others out there who believe that brown and black do not go together: everything goes with black! Fashion police are an everyday annoyance.

I do a lot of the laundry in my house – and it does not include my brother’s. Maybe I should start including his with mine and my parents’ because he always takes my clothes out of the dryer when he needs it and just puts them on the counter without ever folding them. Then, I come by to pick up my warm and dry clothes to fold them, but they are in a wrinkled pile on the counter. In retaliation, I take his out of the dryer and throw them on the floor, putting mine back inside. This goes on and on, and he definitely needs to learn how to fold clothes – or how to be patient and wait for his turn with the dryer. Ahhh…boys…

Yes, it seems as though I am ranting on, but understand that I am addressing everyday annoyances. These are stories of my pain and suffering everyday of my life. (And yes, I know that I am being insanely dramatic.) It seems as though I cannot go a day without seeing the cast of High School Musical (and its damn sequel and sequel-to-be) smiling back at me from some corny poster or cheap little plastic backpack. Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana grrr) also smiles back at me all the time, and I just wish I could punch her and wipe that stupid smile off her face. Disney Channel is a common annoyance.

To wrap this all up, my stinky cheeses also include getting slivers in my feet from our wooden deck, ch4t$p3@k, fingerprints and smudges on my glasses, and my dogs always whining to go outside when I am busy on the computer. My brothers come home from a baseball game that they just played in, and then tune the TV to channel 770 to watch even more baseball on the Yankee Entertainment Station. Haven’t we seen enough? Okay, almost done. BUT WAIT! Keep reading and you just might see my rant about infomercials and their annoying tactics and techniques. Keep reading my blog for the rest of your days and you will receive a thankful email via me. Everybody has stinky cheeses in their lives (swiss for me!) but I guess that we just have to roll with the punches. I have now reached over 1,000 words in this one “article.” Until I find out more things that irritate me greatly, this is it for now. Over and out.