Timing Was Everything

Since I last posted in here, I am the proud owner of a new Schwinn Meridian, identical to the stolen cherry red one–except that it’s blue.  A friend in Beechwold put it together Saturday, and I christened it with a ride back to Olde North/Baja Clintonville on Sunday afternoon.  So, I can say I’m back in business and back on three wheels.

The Beach Boys say that “good good timing (ah ah) you need good timing.”  This is true, especially in the matter of the stolen bike.  If it had to happen, this was the best time.  The bike vanished Thursday night-Friday morning, and I faced a busy week, beginning with Pride Weekend.  I would also be working at the Columbus State bookstore from Saturday morning until the following Saturday.  Had it happened any other weekend, I think I would have plunged into a rather deep depression, which would have affected my ability to do any type of work, take care of myself, or do anything proactive as far as trying to retrieve the bike or put the word out to friends and bike stores.

“Work is the best antidote to sorrow,” Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson in “The Adventure of the Empty House.”  Between Pride and the bookstore job, I was able to keep myself busy and not have time to ruminate on the loss of the trike.

I am not sure how much of a correlation there is between my bipolar disorder and the problems I am having with sleep.  My psychiatrist/sleep doctor increased my lithium intake to 950 mg per day.  (He had wanted to increase it even more, but I was worried about the dyskinesia coming back.)  The first night with the CPAP was so bad that I was not physically or mentally up to working at the bookstore on Saturday morning, and I slept without it.  (This was not a smart thing to do, since my sleep doctor has told me that I’m running the risk of having a stroke in my sleep if I continue to sleep without the CPAP.)  I didn’t get to bed until nearly dawn, but I was up by 2 in the afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening at Goodale Park and the Pride Festival.

FedEx Ground delivered my new trike in the middle of the week.  I had them send it to a friend’s house, because if my thief happens to live in this neighborhood, I didn’t want to put him in what the Catholics call “an occasion of sin” if he were to see the box on my front porch.  Between bookstore work and ComFest, I did not expect to be riding the bike for several days.  Again, there were pleasant distractions to keep me from dwelling on the fact that I still did not have three wheels beneath me.

I hate to speak ill of the departed, but the blue trike (Trike 2.0 is its temporary name) handles a bit better than the red one.  I noticed this when I took it on its maiden voyage from Beechwold back home (just under four miles).  I noticed that it was much easier to go up inclines than on the red one.  Hills still aren’t fun, they just aren’t as much of a chore.  I still would add gears or a motor to this trike were I to ride it in Cincinnati or San Francisco.  I have had Trike 2.0 for less than a week, but now I realize that the red one handled like a tank.  I have already established a familiarity with it.  There was an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series when Scotty stopped what he was doing and had a very strange look on his face.  He told Spock, “Mr. Spock, the ship feels wrong.”  Spock totally does not understand this.  Scotty says, “All instrumentation reads correctly, but the feel is wrong.”  Mr. Scott, of course, is proven right.

When I came home from Beechwold Sunday afternoon, I just had to buzz my neighbors down the block and show off the new cycle.  One of my neighbors, who had hosted the backyard movie the night of the harvest moon, said, “Just look at that smile!”  Despite being kept busy by the bookstore and the State job, I had been badly depressed by the loss of the red trike, so I think it was a relief for my neighbors to see that I had perked up and was plugging myself back into life again.  I am sure I was not very pleasant company during the trike-less week.

I have not abandoned the search for the red trike–if/when it turns up, I’m giving it to Susie.  One person I know will make a conscientious search for it.  He’s a young guy (early 20s) who also rides a trike.  He doesn’t ride a Schwinn Meridian, but a model which he converted to five speeds.  (I was at a downtown bus stop one night earlier this month, and he was riding by.  He and I talked about trikes and compared notes about them.)  Since he’s a trike rider, he will have a sixth sense for them.  It’s like if you own a Karmann Ghia or a Mustang.  It doesn’t take long before you’re instantly able to spot every model like it that’s on the road.  And Schwinn Meridian trikes aren’t exactly in demand.

My major ComFest purchase this year was a new (old) manual typewriter, a Royal Skylark.  I bought it from One Man’s Treasure, a business in Millersport.  The owner always has a booth at ComFest, and I’ve jealously eyed his wares every ComFest.  This year, I plunked down $35 and bought this portable typewriter on Saturday.  On Friday night, he had a Remington Travel Riter for sale, and I almost bought that, except for the fact that the ribbon was just about shot.  I proudly took the Skylark home on the bus, put it in my study, and then headed back to ComFest, where I stayed until it closed for the night at 10 p.m.

The Royal Skylark in its new moorings.  One way to solve the erratic Wi-Fi availability in my study.

Steph and Susie are in New York this weekend.  They took Amtrak from Florida to Newark, and will be there until early next week.  Susie was determined to go to BronyCon, a convention for devotees of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  It’s taking place in Secaucus, N.J., but New York is still quite accessible by commuter train.  Steph is chaperoning her and spending the weekend with all these apprentice furries.  I publicly declare here that she has atoned a thousandfold for any sins of omission or commission, by what she has done and things left undone.

There is nothing on my “to do” list this weekend except for Nite Owl Theater at Studio 35 on Saturday night.  As a way of christening the typewriter, I have been mentally composing (and making a few stray notes here and there in pen and paper) a poem about apnea.  It’s partially inspired by James Dickey’s poem “Diabetes,” which appears in his collection Drowning with Others.  Diabetic friends of mine say it describes the condition and the symptoms very accurately.  This is fascinating, especially since I learned later on that James Dickey never had diabetes.

The temperature today made it to 101 degrees F.  At the moment, it’s 10:42 p.m., and the temperature stands at 94 degrees.  (I almost wish I had one of those old blue Mail Pouch thermometers.)  The house has central heating, but no central air.  Currently, I’m sitting on the front porch with the laptop on my porch rail, my shirt unbuttoned, typing away.

I am tempted to sleep out here tonight, but I don’t feel like going out to Giant Eagle to buy the OFF! or citronella oil necessary to keep the many insects from having a banquet.

Double Feature Friday: INSOMNIA and THE BICYCLE THIEF

As of Monday, Susie will have been gone to Florida for two weeks.  I am already eagerly anticipating her return to Columbus in August, especially since it’ll mean my first trip to Florida, when I go down to bring her back.

The rest of my “bachelor summer” just has to be better than my Thursday night-Friday morning has been.  On Thursday, I spent the night at Central Ohio Sleep Medicine.  My psychiatrist is also a sleep specialist, and at my last appointment, he and I decided it was best if we re-evaluated my sleep situation from the ground up.  (He is a nationally recognized expert on sleep, and here is his Website.)

The sleep technician woke me up at 6 a.m. yesterday with the news that my sleep apnea is quite severe.  It is so bad that I stopped breathing completely at least 50 times during the night.  She gave me a C-PAP, nose pillows, and a ton of documentation about how to operate it.  (The model is quite compact.  Were it not for the hose, you would think it was a clock radio.)

I am not wild about the prospect of sleeping while hooked up to a machine every night, including having to wear a chin strap so my jaw stays closed.  I anticipate a nightly bedtime procedure cum ritual that resembles a pilot’s pre-flight checklist.  Not a good thing, since I tend to stay up until I’m about ready to drop over from exhaustion.

I haven’t slept a full night with the machine yet.  I left a call on the medical equipment provider’s voice mail because I had some issues with the machine last night, which meant I finally went to sleep around dawn sans the machine.  (Much as I hated to do it, I called the bookstore and told them I’d be unable to come in.  That’s about $64 in pay to which I bade farewell.)

But enough about my sleep, and the night at the clinic in Gehenna Gahanna.  (I love telling people the sleep clinic is in the Valley of Hinnom.)  The worst was yet to come.

I arrived back home around 9:30.  The first thing I saw was that my trike was gone.  I went around to the side of the house, and sure enough, my cable lock was still there, but someone had snipped it evenly in half.  The ends were not frayed.  I don’t know what the thief used, but it cut through a Master cable lock as easily as if it was Kleenex.

I took Susie to see this at Studio 35 about a year and a half ago.  Oh, the irony!

I logged a police report online, because using the Columbus Police Department’s Website would take less time and be less frustrating than wading through the voice mail hell you experience when you dial (614) 645-4545.  I then went to several places in the neighborhood that sell used bikes, described the bike, and asked them to be on the lookout.  I did the same thing online to the Third-Hand Bicycle Co-Op and the Facebook page for the World Naked Bike Ride.

I am guardedly optimistic I will see the bike again.  Several people pointed out to me that an adult tricycle would be very conspicuous in Columbus, so now I have many pairs of eyes looking out for it.  If anyone tries to sell it, bike stores will notify the police.  This was Pride Weekend, and although I missed the Pride Parade downtown, I went to the post-parade festivities in Goodale Park and scrutinized every bike in the bike corral.  I came up with a goose egg.

I have not always been in the position of being able to do this, but later on Friday afternoon, I went to Walmart’s Website and ordered a new trike.  Like the cherry red one, it’s a 26″ Schwinn Meridian.  The only difference (that I could tell from the Website) is that it is blue, rather than red.  I may be overreacting, and succumbing a little to paranoia, but I asked Walmart to ship the bike to me care of a friend, so, if the thief decides to pay a return visit, he/she won’t be tempted by the box on my porch when FedEx Ground delivers.

So, another session of Build-a-Bike looms in the near future.  It may have been rash to immediately whip out the debit card and order a new trike, but riding it has been therapeutic for me, and it improves my mood better than the 900 mg of lithium I take every day.  Even when I go out to run a simple errand, I take the long way around and try to explore unfamiliar streets.  (As a gesture of faith, I am using the present tense.  I hope to be on three wheels again by this weekend.  I want to take my new trike to Comfest.)

This time around, the trike will remain in my dining room when I have it at home.  I will also buy a thick U-lock for it, a lock that a thief will really have to work at to break.

And I hope to have more thoughts and accounts borne out of the rides I make on the blue Meridian.  But first it has to arrive here in Columbus, and then be assembled.  I checked my bank account–the amount has been deducted from my balance, and now I await delivery.