Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way...

This morning on my way to drop my daughter off at the bus, I noticed that the cleat on the bottom of my bike shoe was askew. I straightened it out and kept walking my bike.

After being dismissed, albeit gently, at the middle school bus stop, I got on my bike and rode two miles down the hill to my own bus connection.

But when I got to the bike rack by the Montlake Flyer stops, I couldn't unclip my shoe from the pedal. I twisted and twisted.

Nothing happened.

I thought, "Maybe if I take the shoe off, I can get a better angle." Then I was standing in the long, damp grass on one foot, with the other foot daintily clad in a sock with blue flowers, and bending over my bicycle twisting the stuck shoe.

Nothing happened.

I kept hoping that someone would say, "Do you need some help?" But no one came along—or if they did, they thought that I knew what I was doing.


My options:

  1. I could put my shoe back on (and hope not to fall over in the process) and bike back home, put the bike in the shed, and forget all about it.

  2. I could ride over to the bike store and wait for them to open (but it might be two hours).

  3. I could actively solicit help.

Gingerly I rolled my bike to the sidewalk, carried it down the stairs to the highway, watched streams of people boarding my bus, and asked the much-more-together cyclists at the stop if they could help.

"Hmmm," said one of the cyclists. "You need tools."

Before I could say much of anything, he had his tools out of the bag, and then he had my shoe off the pedal.

On the way home from work, I stopped off at the bike store for a new shoe screw and some tools. Now in my bag I have bike tools (a lovely collection of hex wrenches) and poetry tools (pen, index cards, stamps, and whatever I'm currently reading).

But what does this have to do with poetry really?

I had planned to try the long ride again tomorrow—especially now that I have tools and by this afternoon my knees didn't creak quite so much. I was also trying to find good excuses to blow it off and just ride the bus. But I'm still trying to find the perfect route, and I've been turned on to a few good ideas. I want to try them out. I want to explore.

I realize that often I explore less when I'm writing. I have my "voice" most of the time, and it's comfortable. It's me. What if I could avoid that temptation? How can I explore? Really?

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