Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To Bike or Not to Bike

As I mentioned in the last blog I’m doing my best to get into the spirit of the west and began biking in earnest. When I was a kid you biked because it was fun or it was the easiest mode of transportation. My father wasn’t going to be spending time schlepping me around to friends while he could be watching the Cubs lose on our twenty-inch Magnavox. Even if it meant that I would be out of his hair for a few hours I was on my own. But us older folks, we bike for exercise, for stamina, for endurance, for the pure sense of piling on the mileage. There is nothing fun about it. And I know I need to do something before my winter fat settles in like a twenty-year-old house cat on the divan in the sunroom.

The problem is I suffer from what I term paranoid-hypochondriasis. I admit I’m in good health but I just know I’m going to get sick, it’s just a matter of when and what. This feeling of gloom being just around the corner haunts my every move. If I don’t go biking my health will decline and could lead to hardening of the arteries, or perhaps diabetes. But if I do, I run the risk of having a heart attack or stroke as I push myself too far. “He should never have gone over that last hill,” says a mourner at my wake. Thanks, just what every funeral needs, twenty-twenty hindsight. It doesn’t help that I notice every little ache and pain too. Was that a leg cramp or a blood clot heading towards my cerebral cortex?

One of the many mistakes I made when younger was visiting a fortuneteller. I was always under the impression they would treat you like a mom, but with more a flamboyant closet. “Stay avay from strangers!” “In the future you vill vear a seatbelt.” While she was reading my palm, and keep in mind this is a true story, I asked her about my lifeline. “It’s this one isn’t it? It seems kind of short?” “Vell, I vouldn’t take any chances vhen you are in your fifties and sixties,” she warned me. This only hastened the paranoia that was first planted by my older siblings during my formative years. No matter how many times I grease the gears I can still hear her voice with every turn of the pedal. “Don’t take chances! Don’t take chances! Don’t take chances!” I’m like the little engine that shouldn’t.

So everyday I am faced with the same dilemma. Do I go riding not even sure if I’ll make it across the road without getting hit by some high school kid texting her friends about Glee, or do I stay home and eat five-dollar chocolate bars from Whole Foods pondering my waistline and how I should be out biking.

Thanks God it’s raining today.

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