I’ve been complaining to my parents about my life. They’re a good, non-judgmental sort. They’re supportive. However, my father often counters this by giving me assignments. “Write this,” he says. “Make this list.” “Watch this movie.” “Read this book.”
He asked me to make a list of everything I’ve actually done “so far in [my] life.” I’m not sure what “actually done” means–that is to say what he implied by it, but he made a list of examples. These examples were not from his life, but from mine.
1. I biked to New York City. Sort of.
To fully explain this, I’ll need a lot more space than I’m going to take up right now. But, I biked to New York City. Sort of. Due to bike and organization problems, we left a day late. Then we were held up by more bike problems. We took a train from Boston to Providence. We biked into Connecticut and down to Old Mystic where we camped. In the morning, we biked to New London and took the ferry to Long Island. After all the mess and disaster that the trip had held, Long Island was like the Pacific was for Magellan. It was a breath, a moment of calm with no storm to follow. It was sunny. It was beautiful. The air smelled like plants and the ocean. Near dark, we caught the last commuter train into the City. We were too far away to make it that night.
I think about this trip a lot, but try not to talk about it. There are triggers for thinking about this trip–when I was cold and tired, at the point of near exhaustion, occasionally hallucinating and shaking so badly I started to cry uncontrollably. I couldn’t feel my lower legs, but they hadn’t hurt all day. The warm flood of Long Island as the road stretched out from the ferry dock and turned to the left into the trees.My waterbottle, with it’s Sita sticker doesn’t trigger it, but people asking me about the sticker does. Hearing about Debian does nothing, but seeing Christine write about Debian does. You see, we’d biked to New York to go to DebConf, a conference for the Linux operating system Debian.
At the beginning of the summer, I’d been told that “we’re biking to NYC at the end of July. ‘We’ includes you.” I started to train. THe word ‘train’ seems to give it more credit than I think it deserves. I started to ride a bike, every day. On weekends I went on trips around the area. I did this out of a deep rooted fear of the impeding, impossible ride to New York City.
I’m not proud of the trip. I’m not proud of the failure it was to be an actual trip to New York City. I feel like I cheated and using the words “I biked to New York City” is an act of lying. I didn’t bike to New York City. I went to New York City and about half of the trip was on a bike.
But I did get there. I got there and I had a bike.