“I’ve a present for you,” he bellowed cheerfully from the door. A present! Perhaps a pet hippo or monkey, heaven knows I’ve been asking for these.
He stood in the doorway, a huge smile on his face and with a wave or his arm he “showed” my new present…a bicycle. It was not what I expected. Not in the least.
“Now you can go about without worrying about parking and all,” he beamed at me as he tapped the bike with his hand. He was right if course, getting around his hometown would be so much easier on a bike, but it wasn’t exactly what I expected.
A professor on a bike? With books? And juggling a purse and where would my morning coffee go? A bike with heels? What was this man thinking?
“You don’t like it,” he asked. He looked a little crestfallen, but not one to give up he rallied quickly with, “but it’s practical and lots of professors have one.”
“I, um, I just, well thank you,” I managed. Back home you just don’t see that many adults riding bikes to work, certainly not professional adults. Oh no, North America is a world of cars and drive-thru coffee places and impossibly small parking stalls for huge vehicles. My American fiends would giggle at the thought of me on a bike. I’d be giggling too if I wasn’t wondering if riding a bike, was well, exactly like riding a bike.
“Are you conjuring up ways to make it fly or something,” he asked. A joke, about my field of study. A joke to hide his unease.
“Not conjure, cast a spell perhaps and turn something or another into gold at the same time. I mean why not? It is lovely of you to have gotten me a bike, I just never gave it much thought.”
I could see it now. He would explain to his family how we have bikes, but I can’t/won’t ride mine because, well it’s just not my thing. Another strike against the strange North American no doubt.
It wasn’t my first, not by far. That had happened when he proposed, and I refused, politely. It isn’t that I didn’t want to spend my life with him, but I didn’t unwed a piece of paper for that. He was puzzled by this, just as his family was confused to learn I had never planned or dreamed of my wedding as a girl. No idea about cakes or flowers. I mean marriage is just a legal state right? Love is what keeps the relationship together, not some piece of paper.
And then there was the time I manage to make him traipse all over the historic sites of his country so I could see the places where the folklore came from.
And then trips into the pubs to learn from the locals. Oh my, the strikes against me, and now the bicycle! It was practical of course, just not ideal for a place that has a lot of rain, when a girl isn’t a fan of getting wet. Unless it’s the confines of a nice hot shower.
Ah but I digress. My mothers didn’t raise me with bad manners, so I went to my bike, hopped on it and started to ride it. Surprisingly riding a bike, is just that,it’s like rising a bike. You have to re-acquaint yourself with balance, but that’s about it.
And yes professors do ride bikes with hooks and a purse, thanks to a thing called a bag. As far as morning coffee goes, haven’t figured that one out yet. Best of all, beloved and I have had fun traveling around the country side on our bikes. There is more freedom in being on the bike, closer to nature than if we were in a car. There is also a sense of a simpler and slower life when we are on our bikes. And I adore the closeness it brings.
Now if only I could make this thing fly!