the weather is amazing and i’ve slowed down my riding just because of the warmth. the bike, too, has opened up my world of course as now i dont feel bound to the apartment. in nyc it was different, and i left my five speed with sunroof upstate in 98 and never looked back but its not really the same here with more road to cover. not that i wouldnt like a car again, but that’s not gonna happen until i get a few thousand bucks and i’m in no big rush, herm has one if there are emergencies regarding luna and paloma, and i love my bike. my legs really are getting strong, too strong for my own good, i think laughing to myself. i can feel them now. everywhere i go. my thigh muscles feel present and tight and a bit too present i think. or maybe i’m just used to being soft around the computer. but its great to boom right there be right there back in the world where being physical is a high. i suddenly realized as i passed a TKD center in town that i can take classes again. it was like a jolt. for years its been like “one of these days” and its now one more thing the bike opens up for me. but i’m good for the moment just riding.
and i’m getting used to the thinner road tires. my bike still has a sort of gangly look because of it, but i love the gangly, the freak, the misfit. and my bike is one cute misfit. but not as misfit as it used to be. i had the seat replaced and the wheels and handlebars and pedals, too. she is running pretty smooth, but i still may replace the inner gear stuff, we’ll see.
i realized i have somehow formed a habit of having my left pedal down while i cut left which doesnt make sense. your bike is leaning to the left, so you need to have your left foot up. otherwise, you can scrape your pedal on the ground. which i keep doing. sometimes i mix pieces of different disciplines. and i think what has happened is that a skateboarding piece makes me want to keep one foot close to the ground, i want to feel it skimming just inches under my foot. so i prefer to have that foot very close to the ground…its the push foot. its like when i cruise to a slow at a corner, sometimes i will take my left foot and just extend it in the air over the ground. i’m working the brake with my right hand, and its not so i can grab tierra as it might look. like i said, i’m doing a skateboard kind of motion on a bike.
so this time, i chewed into the street pretty good with my pedal and i tasted some kind of electric thing at the same moment. it was really wild. as if my consciousness was in the pedal. i tasted this sour metal bleed into my saliva just as the pedal ground into the street it was odd, i was thinking afterward how odd it was. there was no delay, if my brain was shooting chemicals into my bloodstream (as happens when you wreck, etc) it was such an instantaneous reaction, it was so quick it felt instantaneous. of course i am very aware of how fast the body can move chemicals through the veins, our blood really is a river in there. even you at rest are a weave of rivers speeding along every second. so. life amazes me like that. the earth, i bit her, she bit me back, we both tasted blood for a second.
i’ve also been trying out different bars and such. by default i’ve been hanging out at a place down the road which makes good food but really leaves a lot to be desired as far as what i’m looking for in a joint. and my experiences have really been unsatisfying. i think i sometimes fall into a strange gap between race and class and age and gender. i don’t suppose any of us are naturally typical. but we get taught so well what to show and what not to and what to think and what to believe that eventually, there are a good number who may as well be naturally typical and if you are not, it can be hard to find that place where you feel natural. and i also think moving around all my life and…well, who knows. doesnt really matter. anyway, ive been testing out places to see if there’s somewhere else, when i am struck with that need for human company that is not readily available, to go.
i ended up at a place near the university, in the part of town where its all college kids. i have good memories of towns like this. but like many of my great childhood memories, its not so much about the superficial aspects like i thought it was. there is a fresh energy always present in a college town, and i sensed that at a young age when my family was in new paltz a lot and i went to school there, kindergarten and such. but the good memories were about the community my family was part of, something maybe i’ll write of more in time.
that spirit was not at the bar, but you know, i dont expect it there. i love to be alone. finally, i really enjoy that time, not from a super angsty place, but simply a peaceful place. wasnt always that way. but i do like to get out sometimes, to feel i am not cutting the world off. and mind you i’m the type that needs to test every now and then if i’m doing things because i really want to be doing them, or because i’ve been telling myself something a long time. so i’ll make myself go out, too.
there i was at the bar, trying to find a place to hang my helmet. the girl to my left on the corner, almost facing me showed me the hooks for them under the bar and we laughed about that. i didnt follow up, ask her questions or steal looks at her. its normally i guess what i’d do. but as i said, my trajectory is a bit different this spring regarding women. i’m giving them a break from myself. and ive been doing a lot of thinking and need to keep thinking. remapping behaviors for the moment, and that involved just thanking her and letting her do her thing and being in my own space.
so i was there sipping a black butte and digging the basketball. looked at the internet on the iphone for a bit. and then looked around. saw a couple guys and in this very white town noticed one was asian. so i think to myself let me ask these guys if they want to play some pool.
yes, its a fallacy i sometimes fall into, that just because someone is asian or latino or black or whatnot, there will be some type of solidarity off the bat. thats not the case. especially when you are the ambiguous sort like me and can pass in many situations. in fact, one of the most terrible things about being mistaken for being “white” is that white people are always trying to pull you into their clan, letting you “go”, cuz you’re “not like the others” and it sickens. if i were obviously of indian blood and to every person who saw me, i might get more direct racism but i’d at least not get this ugly conspiratorial type of aside that has followed me all my life. this is not unlike the male way of wink/nodding to other guys about stuff that Guys Oughtta Find Funny.
the other guy was a white cat, blonde, stubbly, fedora type of thing going on. i wont say what state he’s from cuz it doesnt really matter. this aint about him anyway. its bigger than that. anyway, i wasnt doing so well on the pool thing, but then again i often dont take enough time to line up shots, or i’m not supergreat at pool, or i spend more time drinking than aiming i dont know. but i was losing. and laughing. having a good time. i talked to the asian guy a bit who told me he dropped out of college and i wanted to know why but clearly he wasnt happy with it cuz he offered me a thin excuse and then just stopped talking. so i let it go, saw that he wasnt feeling very friendly or trusting of me, so i gave up on that. and just played pool.
well blonde dude didnt have more money so when they played themselves and i didnt put up more money they were done or else not into pool anymore. they went to play this little electronic game which i had no idea what it was but dude called me over and i played a couple games until it all broke up, at the end. when blonde dude laughed at the shirtless girl on the screen and in appreciation of her image and exultation at winning the round said to her “OH yes, you need to be raped!” i felt his eyes slide over my cheek as he said it. i guess we were Guys Having Fun.
i was already in a bit of a dissociative state, hanging out with strangers and having it be a bit uneasy, as energy wasnt flowing in both directions freely. so i dont know what my face did. but i can guess as i’ve heard from many people that my feelings are very plainly visible on my face usually. so i probably stopped smiling at the least. i also walked away from the game and got my coat on and left. sort of abruptly like when michael shoots that guy in the restaurant in the godfather and just splits the joint.
it wasn’t the first incident. the night had already started to spiral. i’m telling it out of order. but at one point we were all joking about this or that and dude made a joke about his friend to me. “well you know you gotta watch out, he’s asian” and you know, some jokes are okay like this depending on who makes them or not. but he was the only asian american i could tell was in the joint, and i know this town and while the college has a fair share of nonwhites, the town doesnt so much. so i dont feel so good about jokes that put the guy under such a spotlight when he’s the only one around. dunno. didnt think it out. just felt wrong to me, like this white guy and me were gonna laugh at this? i did laugh. i said “whats that supposed to mean?” and the asian guy laughed at that and i felt good. but then i pushed it too far and told blondie that i was trying to aim and “your ignorance is distracting me.”
i do things like this. i have a big mouth. but you should know i’m right there with it. the words dont “escape” me. i say them with full awareness of what i’m doing. i just start to burn sometimes. and my way of cooling it is walking into it. and i dont regret those times at all. doing so is what keeps me from burning up into ash right there on the spot. doing so is what saves me.
but it was a tense moment. and tho i tell it last, this was when things started to split. get weird. of course before long, when dude got cold to me, the asian guy bonded with his friend, who he came there with and probably hangs out with often. i know that we all make our choices and have our own reasons, i’m not there to save him from an idiot friend, for all i know they are brothers from another mother. but sort of ironically, it played out that way. most people let things ride or pass over. i dont always do that i guess. and when you dont, when people see that you arent doing that social convention, they worry about you. it means you are unpredictable or at least confrontational. but you know. it was true. i was trying to aim.
shortly after blond dude asked me what was on my belt. was it a knife? no, i said. it’s my iphone. and practiced restraint. i said nothing else. but dont worry id never bring a knife to a bar. i’m not like that, and i aint goin out like that. one hopes.
he asked me how old i was and i found myself sounding surprised. forty, i said. then came the requisite shock and he said “you look younger than me” and i thought to myself, yeah, i do.
and later we ended up playing that game, the game where two pictures of naked, or mostly naked women are compared and you touch the screen to show what is different in the pictures. i thought it was a very strange game. it was called “erotic” something, but it wasnt very erotic. and what was the point? oh i know it plays perfectly into the idea that women are objects and so its bad idea and cheap. i get that. but why would you even want to play it? at best, the nakedness, when it appeared, was distracting. it was just the same type of game you play as a child. where lines are different or a basket is missing from the one picture, or a post in the banister is airbrushed out. except with breasts and women in underwear. it felt really sort of sad and empty and corny to me.
but i played for a few moments. because…it almost felt like hanging out with friends when they cheered all of us winning a screen and said “YEAH that’s how you DO it!” and i liked the mechanism of racing each other and the timer and finding what was wrong with the pictures. and i like touch screens. and then on one screen that thing happened, that weird statement out of the dude’s happiness at winning, or lust or whatever the hell he thought he was feeling but to me it was pure happy hate. and i just got all numb inside like someone filled me with pencil erasers. and then i was putting a helmet on my head and sweatshirt and i didnt even finish the beer i had just ordered. as i was getting ready to go i thought they were whispering about me but i wasnt sure.
why, dude? why “need to be raped.” i don’t understand. the woman is smiling at you her breasts are open to you. why would you need…but i didnt think it through at that time, and when he said it was as if his words slammed a door in me. all of a sudden i felt nothing at all. no cheer, no distractedness, no beery blur. i just suddenly felt not a thing.
but now when i think back about it i want to hit that guy so hard in the head his hat goes flying off and he falls down on the ground. i want to see him smile as he says that and then i want to swing something into his skull so it breaks up the sentence into about fifty nine pieces and it can never be put back together again.
it doesnt make much sense, but i dont think i can go back to that bar.