I speed along the bike path. It’s early in the morning but there are already pedestrians blocking the path ahead. I bully old ladies out of my way and charge down dogs straying into my lane. I snarl as I pass them, all bared teeth and aggression. Can they not see that I am an athlete, a hardcore cycling machine?? I’m wearing lycra shorts to be more aerodynamic for god’s sake, AND THEY’RE RUINING MY RHYTHM!
Besides, this is only my second time wearing clippy shoes and I’m not very good at stopping just yet.
Difficulties stopping aside, my racing bike and clippy shoes are a marvel. I power up hills, sneering at the tortoises on their clunky mountain bikes or hipster single-speeds. Neener neener! My bike thumbs its metaphorical nose at them. My bike and I are one, body and metal interacting fluidly and seamlessly. This must be how Robocop feels.
I cycle past a café with racing bikes parked outside. Cyclists just like me! I want to wave and call out to my lycra-clad homies, but I have not quite mastered the skill of cycling one-handed. I settle for pinging my bell instead.
Home, nearly home!
I huff and puff as I cycle up the road to my house. Traffic light! How frustrating, I didn’t see anyone on Tour de Anywhere stopping for a red light! I roll my eyes and coast to a stop, carefully clicking my right shoe out of the pedal. A car pulls up next to me but it’s a bit too close for comfort. I turn to glare at the driver, and move to shift my bike closer to the kerb.
And promptly tip over.
I forgot to click my left shoe out too! My foot is still secured to the pedal and I’m stuck under my bicycle. I struggle to get my foot out, but just end up flopping uselessly on the side of the road. I catch sight of a small child watching me from the car, nose pressed against the window. I would flip him off, but my hands are too busy trying to unbuckle my shoe.
I finally work myself free. I am not hurt, I just have sore hands and feel really, really embarrassed. By this time, I cannot wait to reach home and hide. I get back on the bike and continue cycling home.
But I am so wobbly that when I reach another red light, I tip over again even though I have both lanes to myself.
My ride is clearly over. I try to walk the bike home but it is very difficult to walk in cycling cleats.
I make the rest of my way home in socks.
Sad sad sad, saddity saddity sad.
My dog has just passed away.
I’d said my goodbyes when I was home earlier this year. She was old and I thought that I might not see her again. So I gave her extra kisses and cuddles, breathed in her doggy scent, and told her that I loved her before I walked out the door. Then I turned around and went back for more.
But as it turns out, that was nowhere near enough. I want to hold her and weep, I want to kiss her and thank her for being my dog, for being the silly little sausage who always fell for the same trick where I hid and sprang out at her when she least expected it. Thirteen years but I want more. More photos, more cuddles, more sneaky licks to my face while I’m sleeping.
So here I am now, sobbing like a little schoolgirl.
“There, there,” Badger tries to comfort me. He pulls me into a hug.
I let myself be cuddled, but then start to panic because what if I forget how my dog used to smell? I bawl louder at the thought of this and bury my face in Badger’s chest.
And get distracted trying to make a tear-face imprint on his shirt à la Edward Norton on Meatloaf in Fight Club.
But it doesn’t work. I’m crying so much that all I make is a big soggy mess. I can’t even craft a symbolic representation of my grief. God, I feel wretched.
Badger flutters around for a bit, hovering anxiously because it looks like I might just drown in my own tears. He isn’t quite sure what to do. But then he leaves the room and returns with a Magnum.
I hiccup a thank you and manage to stop crying long enough to cram the ice cream in my mouth. But it’s no use. I see reminders of my dog everywhere I look, and the waterworks start again. Dachshund keychain, dachshund stuff toys, dachshund stencil on my drawers…I’m even reading a book with a one-legged dachshund on the cover! And oh god, when I get to the office tomorrow, I’ll be confronted with my dog’s picture, dachshund post-it notes and dachshund mousepad. I begin to regret having turned into the sausage dog equivalent of a crazy cat lady.
Badger promises to get me KFC for dinner. I think he is hoping that my love for fried chicken will distract me. But it’s no use. I know that I’ll sob into it just like I did earlier with the ice cream. At least the chicken is meant to taste salty.
I thought I was ready for this. But I’m not.
I buy a road bike.
Badger is doubtful. “Are you sure?” he asks. “I know it’s second-hand, but it’s still a lot of money.”
“It would be a lot more money if I bought it new. Think of how much I’m saving!”
He persists. “But will you use it? You hardly use your old one anyway, just to the tennis courts and back and even sometimes at that.”
“That’s the point. If I pay this much for the bike, I’ll force myself to use it so I don’t waste my money. In fact, I’ll probably cycle around more so I get my money’s worth! Ooh, I’ll be so fit, I’ll be so ripped!”
I have an argument for everything.
I bring the bike home and we admire it together. Badger admits that it does look very nice.
“It does, it does!” I’m very excited about my (almost-) new bike. I’ve even got a matching helmet! I’ll look so cool on my racer, flashing past everyone.
I wheel the bike through the house to the bathroom and set it up so I can admire my coolness in the mirror. I strap my helmet on and get Badger to hold the bike from behind as I pretend to zoom along the streets.
“Whoosh!” I mimic the wind rushing past me as I hunch over the drop bars.
“Whoosh!” I whizz around a pretend corner like in Le Tour de France, with one knee sticking out and Badger accordingly steadying my lean.
I am very pleased with how I look on my bike. Evidently money well spent!
Badger suggests that I take the bike out for a spin.
I remove my helmet. “Maybe tomorrow.”
It has arrived!
I am so very, very excited. So eager to try on my new outfit that I don’t stop to fiddle with the “Open here” flap, and instead rip the packaging apart with a Hulk-like roar.
It is perfect! I don my new clothes, then call Badger in to admire me.
He stops short when he sees me, a look of delight in his eyes. “You look so cute!”
I preen for a moment, then pause. “Hang on, cute how? As in cute tennis outfit?”
“As in ninja pyjamas,” he clarifies with a grin.
“Pyjamas!” I howl in outrage.
“It’s a matching tracksuit, what do you expect?”
“It’s a hoodie and sports pants! I’m wearing this to the tennis club! I look cool and athletic! And warm!”
“But they match,” he points out, as if I haven’t noticed.
It is obvious that Badger has no fashion sense. I shouldn’t have expected anything more of him – this is, after all, the man who wears the same outfit so often that I want to rake my nails across my eyeballs.
Anyway, the hoodie and pants are meant to match. All the women at the club wear matching outfits, down to their earrings and racquets. They buy their clothes to match their racquets! My socks often don’t even match each other, let alone my shoes. But no longer! I will now be as colour-coordinated as the best of them. In fact, I might even be the first one to whip out the winter combo! Hooray for trendsetting me!
I explain all this to Badger. But he is adamant that I am wearing a matching tracksuit, the type that should only be worn by Will Ferrell and French joggers.
Doubt begins to creep in…
Because I’m too busy
watching Masterchef working hard to write proper posts, here’s someone who’s better at it.
I recommend having a wee before reading such gems:
I had visited my regular Dim Sum over fifty times before the owner would even give me a porite herro. The day that smug young Chi-nee caught me refusing money from my friends at the counter, I witnessed a smile appear on his face. Before that day, standard service was – ”sit over there”. Now, when we enter the restaurant, a maelstrom of Chinese waitresses, faces holding panicked expressions, rolls like a snowball towards our table, all under the careful watch of the owner, the second we walk in the door. One crooked chop stick, and they’re gone. Hot tea and chilli oil waiting, fresh batch of fried chilli squid on the way. That’s the kind of Dim Sum power a whitey who pays for other whiteys holds. I can only dream of the power I would have if I was Chinese. Level 28 Super Yum Char Power, or maybe even higher, I would imagine. Ni-Hao!
Hen hao enough to overrook the herro.
Badger: It must be hard for you, being constantly overshadowed by a partner with an IQ of 173.
Me: More like an IQ of 0.173.
Badger: x 100!
Me: … Exactly, Mr. 17.3.