Spent the morning listening to the Descendents. I discovered them in the 80’s. They blew my mind with a mix of aggression, fun, romance and great playing. Now that I am decades away from the kid listening to them on college radio, I still find their music inspiring. Lyrics that meant something as a teen now have different connotations. It’s amazing the way my own experiences have changed the songs that are still the same. I look forward to the days my kids start to get them. My father introduced me to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Steve Miller, the Byrds and so much other music. Now it’s my job to do that for the kids. It’s not time for them to get the Descendents yet, but as Henry is approaching the teen years, I’ll work them into his playlist and be happy when I catch him singing along.
Yesterday was the first day I rode in shorts in 2012. Well, actually, the day before I did a road ride in shorts but that doesn’t count. It was in the 70’s and the sun was shining high in the sky as I left to go to my flatland spot. I ride at a supermarket parking lot a couple of blocks from my house. A bag with a couple of water bottles and allen wrenches are all I need these days.
I got to my spot and started stretching after I put in my earphones. I saw only one car in the upper part of the lot where I ride. It wasn’t too close so it wouldn’t be a big deal. Some guy was sitting in it eating his lunch. I have no idea why but I always see people eating, reading the paper or talking on the phone in their cars at my spot. Not doing anything, just hanging in the car.
After a quick check for broken glass and a few minutes of warm up tricks I started working on a link of tricks I had in my head. I had done them before but not in this combination. I spent a good 20 minutes trying and trying. I’d screw up the beginning, middle or end of the link. Sometimes getting frustrated, sometimes laughing out loud out my dumb mistake. It was a good session.
Then I heard the guy’s car start up. I used this as a marker that I had to pull my combo before he left the lot (flatlanders always set little deadlines to motivate themselves). I whipped the bike around and caught it just right so I could go into a glide effortlessly. I slipped the frame around and without a glance found the pedal and rode away smoothly. A big smile came across my face. I looked up and the guy in the car stuck his arm out the window and gave me a thumbs up. “You’re getting better!” he commented as he pulled away.
Over the years, I have had a million people say a million different things to me while I’m riding. Sometimes they are supportive. Sometimes they are dicks. This guy said perhaps the best thing. I didn’t even notice that he had been watching me. He saw me repeatedly start this move and fail. Once I finally pulled the trick, he was stoked like I was. He didn’t compliment my skill. He complimented my tenacity and the completion of a goal. He got it.
Then he drove away not knowing that he made my day. It’s not about doing something most people can’t do, it’s about getting better.