you’d forgotten what it felt like to be back on the bike in city traffic

you’d forgotten what it felt like to be back on the bike in city traffic, wearing a sleeveless shirt in the autumn air. it was two years ago this week you wrecked your bike flying on the downhill run to the trail, living in the downhill run of the great campaign. a young mother up from san antonio crossed in front of you, blind in the clear blue sunny morning to the notion that people ride bicycles to work. fortunately, for you, she drove a minivan instead of an suv, so you went flying over the hood, rather than smashing completely into the vehicle to be perhaps dragged by it as your leg or arm got snarled in the wheel.

you’d forgotten about that day for the most part, where you called the second russian up to let her know you wouldn’t be in, but would be headed to the emergency room. you’d forgotten about it until you found yourself on a downhill run in east austin a day following an ahmis reunion of sorts with the second russian being there, being hot–no, actually showing some warmth instead of that complete ice cold which makes a cool austin autumn morning seem like your average angry-sun’s summer day.

you’d forgotten how you can feel so invincible on a bicycle, because you are actually completely vulnerable, but brave enough to mingle with people operating three ton weapons. it’s a beautiful kind of bravery until you believe in yourself too damn much. the same, of course, can be said for getting mixed up in human affairs like politics or relationships–the way people love you when you are newly possessed of self confidence and it is surging like an army sitting atop unflinching steel. you are invincible until you think your ground forces can simply grow wings.

you’d forgotten how every good climax seems to take place at the bottom of the hill, not the top. whether it was hitting rock bottom at the end of ’01 from your downhill run with booze and crews of ahmis cronies, or saying goodbye to lucy at the end of the seemingly endless downhill run of that relationship. they say this is what’s known as the anti-climactic, but there never is anything about life that i would call the denouement, just the joy of the high, the bliss, the orgasm, and then the soul-wrecking excursion spent chasing it, trying to climb even higher, and chasing it all the way down the hill.

but, on a bike, unless some lady is passing in front of you and oblivious to you, the bliss is always at the bottom of the hill. the story is its sweetest at the bottom after leaving the workplace and pausing at the trail from the downhill run. perhaps in life it would be this way as well if for just a day you could stop imagining yourself running up a hill you are rapidly racing down. but, of course, the fear is always one of the body ending up at complete rest, in complete ennui, finding its bliss only as a dead man.

do you walk through the world inside a box, inadvertently exposing inappropriate parts of yourself to others in miscalculated attempts to extricate yourself from the box? do you sometimes wonder if a moment of indigestion that made your face darken ended up getting interpreted as a scowl of disapproval by the woman standing in front of you? or, perhaps you wonder if your face doesn’t even really exist at all unless a woman chooses to actually interact with it.

i promise you there is going to be a great novel at the end of all of this, the ten year austin saga. it will be a tortured and a textured work, comprised of multiple layers of intricately woven plots and subplots and subtexts and hidden mysteries–great secrets to be gleaned from multiple readings. scholars will debate for years about the type of man i was, or whether i was a man at all, or whether i was really many individuals coming together as one incoherent voice.

you’ll learn about how i pretty much had you figured out from the get-go, and you, and you, and you. but, how i never figured myself out enough to get past existing and get into living.

i went to an ahmis happy hour, of all things. my roommate dennis decided to up and quit without a new job lined up, so ahmis had a going away happy hour for him. lucy, who still works at ahmis, wasn’t there at the happy hour, thank god. ekaterina, the second russian who’d left right before i did, recently came back to ahmis, and she was there.

interesting to learn a lot about myself, getting perspective on who i was, and how i cared enough once upon a time to get so caught up in the ahmis bs. seeing daisy delgado offer her usual litany of bitching made me really understand and remember that i am very blessed now to be away from there.

i decided upon leaving that i will never settle for a woman that is any less beautiful than ekaterina. i was totally smitten with her once, and tonight, with her hair darker and shorter, and her english ten times better, things really weren’t much different. she is the gold standard of women. she is the most beautiful woman i have ever seen. there are cute women, pretty women, beautiful women, gorgeous women, and smoking hot women, and then there is ekaterina.

if i could carry what i learned about myself tonight forward with me to every new situation and every new lady that could potentially become my next crazy secret crush, i would cease to ever participate in that which is pusillanimous. i would stop thinking that any given situation in life is worth getting caught up in, and any given single available lady is as good as the next.

every year i try to fight the onset of the black fall and winter mornings and evenings. every year, i get a little better at it, but i’m not quite at a point where i am good at it yet. i sleep for nine hours instead of six, and i still feel as if i haven’t gotten enough sleep. i move slower in the morning, require more coffee, get to work later, work less, get home in darkness, and drag myself about the apt until i can resist the bed no more. years past might have seen me simply drinking myself into oblivion, so that i at least had the illusion of being the one who directed my fugue.

this year, i simply wish to remain sane, grounded, and non-whiny–all matter-of-fact in my thinking and reporting of what’s inside my head and my day.

i kept trying to pin the blame on you, my friends, for years and years. it was easier to pretend that you controlled my life, then to begin to understand who i am and become the man i secretly longed to be. you never held me back, no matter what you read here in the archives of my tattered brain. remember, too, that those are snapshots taken of my mind, often in its worst states, because in its best states, i simply do and be, and do not write. i never traveled anywhere, not because of your words of caution about travel and overspending my money, but because i drank too much, and in a year, each year while here, i drank away two weeks’ time in europe, asia, or roundabout north america in a rented suv. i certainly don’t blame the president for my own economic situation. i had a million opportunities to go back to school, and i didn’t, because i swore i was good enough not to need no more formal education. never again will i blame my parents for anything i didn’t become–it’s been years and years since they could’ve actively kept me from joining the military or buying a motorcycle or going out west to fight fires. if anything, i am self sufficient with a steady, full-time professional occupation only because my parents invested time and money in me, even when i fought them the hardest.

in fact, i am really close to 100% responsible for all of the bad that’s ever allegedly happened to me, at least the little bad things that cut away at me. the good? most of that is God’s own mercy, with a little bit of bad faith of others invested in me before they realized who and how i was.

if i can’t live out more than six months with this kind of awareness before lapsing back into the game of blaming others, then i will likely never become anything at all.

you have the loner dreaming wistfully of being the leader of the gang and loved by everyone, then you have the loner pushing endlessly through the black night undeterred by the fact that nobody rings his cell anymore. the switch gets made when some helpful temporary friend steps in and shows him just how he looks in someone else’s eyes. just a tic of his face raises the red flags for most who guard the tribal fire.