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.

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Susie: From Heat to Heat

I’ve informed my Facebook friends that today begins the longest month of my life.  To be specific, this morning at 8:55 Susie boarded a Southwestern Airlines plane and flew to Tampa to spend a month with Steph in New Port Richey.  The heat here in Columbus has been oppressive for much of the past week–I’m sure it makes Washington, D.C. in August feel like a walk-in freezer.  But Susie is not fleeing the heat by going to the Gulf Coast of Florida.  If anything, it’ll be just as bad, if not worse.

Last night, I slept very badly.  Part of it was feeling down about not seeing Susie for a month, but part of it was worry about if (or how) I would drop the ball in the pre-flight and -boarding logistics in getting Susie aboard her plane this morning.  I have not flown since December 1983, when I was still living in Boston.  This is partly because I wholeheartedly agree with a line in Cervantes’ Don Quixote: “The road is always better than the inn.”  I don’t really feel like I’m traveling when I get into a sealed aluminum tube and overlook clouds, little houses, and golf courses, and then disembark at my destination.

The other reason is financial.  Greyhound is cheaper than flying, usually, and the experience of moving from one town to another is much more exciting and fulfilling to me.

Susie’s trip through customs and onto the plane was flawless.  My co-worker Janice and her husband Steve picked us up just before 7:30 this morning and drove us to Port Columbus, and Susie and I came prepared.  She had her new state-issued ID in hand, with a backup document (a notarized copy of her birth certificate).  It was smooth sailing from the Southwestern Airlines check-in counter to the boarding area.  I had to show my ID to get an “escort’s pass,” so I could stay with her until she was airborne, and we had to put our shoes and our pocket contents into little plastic buckets to pass through the metal detector and fluoroscope machine.  (This was nothing new to me.  You often have to jump through these identical hoops to go to the post office across the street from where I work.  This has been in effect at a heightened level since 9/11, although shades of it began to appear after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.)  Susie didn’t carry any bottles of liquid.  Her laptop was the only item she had to remove from her backpack and put through the scanner.  I had deliberately left my keys behind, because I was afraid that my ring knife–that constant souvenir of my job at the Cincinnati post office–would raise some red flags.

Susie’s flight left on time, at 8:55.  While she waited, she drank a big cup from Starbucks, and sat on the floor writing in her journal.  I stayed in the boarding area until I saw her plane actually lift off.  (I texted Steph at 8:56 a.m.: Susie’s plane is taxiing down the runway.  Departing on time!)  Steph texted me at 11:04: We have her.  By the time that text arrived, I was back home trying to nap, since I had slept so badly last night.

Susie and I did get some respite from the heat, with a little help from our friends.  The air conditioning in our half-double is the Calvin Coolidge variety: It does not choose to run.  So, we spent Thursday and Friday evenings at Pat and Tanya’s, and I surprised everybody at Olympic Swim and Racquet by not only getting into the pool, but by immersing myself completely underwater for about 45 seconds.  The water was not cold at all around 6:30 or 6:45, since the sun was shining directly down onto the pool.  (Pat made comments about “the Great White Whale” as he saw me in the water.  No doubt he was alluding to the title of this blog, which honors the creator of said Great White Whale.  He, of course, resembles Michelangelo’s David.)  We were all so exhausted that once we got to Pat and Tanya’s house, everyone–adults and kids–were fast asleep by 10:30.  On Friday, I worked the sound system at Trinity United Methodist Church in Marble Cliff, for the 10th annual dinner of the Mid-Ohio Workers’ Association.  After the meal ended, I had planned to meet everyone at Olympic for the 9 p.m. showing of The Karate Kid, but Pat texted me a little before 8 to let me know the pool was closed and the movie postponed.  (Susie enjoys the nighttime swimming more than the movies.  She would have gone even if the movie had been Marmaduke, just for a chance to swim in the pool under the lights at night.)

Pat and I ate lunch at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest on Friday.  It was on the site of the old Ohio penitentiary, which played host to O. Henry and Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, and was the site of a horrific fire (322 inmates dead, 150 injured) in April 1930.  The combo, led by Brian Olsheski, playing on the AEP stage was quite impressive.

I am typing this at the OSU Library.   According to my cell phone, it is 5:52 in the afternoon.  I had considered going up to Olympic and immersing myself for awhile, since it is just as miserable out as before, but I have seen several people coming inside the library with wet umbrellas, and there is a sound I keep hearing.  I cannot decide whether it’s thunder and wind, or someone pushing a book cart.  Either way, it looks like no pool for me tonight.

I changed my iGoogle page slightly to reflect Susie’s journey to see her mom.  On the opening page, I display Columbus weather.  It says the current weather here is 88 degrees, with thunderstorms.  (That answers the question I asked in the previous paragraph, doesn’t it?)  Until Susie returns, I have New Port Richey’s forecast in the display as well.  Currently, it’s cloudy and 93 degrees there, but the forecast says there will be thunderstorms for the next several consecutive days.  I feel for Susie, because I know she had visions of relaxing on the beach during her visit, and that won’t be happening for the next few days.

No doubt about it–that’s thunder I’m hearing.

This table appeared in The Columbus Dispatch‘s Website.  The mercury has been climbing quite a bit these past weeks!