And speaking of our bicycles, we've ridden over 4,000 miles. Four thousand cycling miles! I still think of My Very Big Adventure, the one where instead of riding wary little loops around the same familiar streets, I am riding to Massachusetts! I've imagined going by way of Oregon, then on to Wisconsin. I've written about this a number of times, and I think of it often. Often, but less frequently. You see, when I drove to Oregon, and back, this summer, I was reminded of what a real life bicycle ride looks like, on narrow roads, with lumber trucks, and fifth wheels, and winding cliff-side passages, and long stretches of remote highways. Mostly it's about other drivers. Those same other drivers were shockingly indifferent, speeding, tailgating, honking, cutting people off, running stop signs. I am sensitive to the issue of careless drivers, but I am not the only one to notice there is a crisis out there! And I have witnessed first hand how readily people seem to be willing to shrug off and deny the trauma. It's kind of ironic, because I have to suppress and deny my concerns and fears, too, otherwise I would have nothing to do with driving, or even riding in a car, and bicycle riding is, sadly, kind of terrifying, so I go out pretending/hoping it's all going to be fine. In fact... I am sorry I even develed into this! I thought I was going to celebrate over 4,000 miles ridden around, with Geoff, on our bicycles.
Where was I?
Oh yes. I don't think about my imaginary ride across the country as much as I used to, because I came to realize that actually doing that ride would be far more complicated, and scary than I can cope with. This is a sad realization, because I have let unfortunate facts curtail imaginary, daydreaming pleasure. I have detailed notes about routes and roads, and appealing sights, stops from my front door and up the coast, across the middle bits, into the Northwoods, around the Great Lakes. I've anticipated vistas, and coffee shops, quiet byways, where I would be wrapped in the beauty and wonder of a winding river, quiet woods, gentle, mild adventures, idyllic, poetic, make-believe. (In some future time, when a great-great grandchild, or an estate sale plunderer, comes across one of my notebooks, chock full of meticulous notes, and specific mentions of a cafe, or Amtrak timetable, of crossing the bridge to Mackinac Island, I wonder if they will marvel at my feat? But, I am here to set the record straight: It didn't go down like that, but imagining it could happen was satisfying, and motivated me to act at least a little braver than I feel.)
New Subject: Cats.
At long last, I have taken all of the kitties to their veterinarian. And they all got a clean bill of health! I was more relieved than I expected to be. We adopted the babies, Feynman and Saki, only a few months before lockdown, and vet visits simply fell off of my radar. Dr T is caring. He came out to talk, not just about the cats, but the family, asking about the young folks, and how we've been holding up. His own three littles are well, and getting back into a groove. He asked if we had concerns about our kitties. Feynman's weepy eyes are just that... weepy. He saw no cause for concern. And Saki's roundness? Is he happy? asked Dr T. Yes. He is happy. He just loves food, like no other kitty I have ever known. He loves it. Loves. It. Dr T laughed, and said it's good we do portion control, and that we are mindful, but Saki is well, and happy, and what else can you ask for a kitty? I am so relieved. It's been such a long season of worry, of trying to manage things, invisible things, insidious things, and I just want happy cats, and considerate drivers, women's reproductive rights, billionaires sharing the costs of living in a civilized society with affordable education, healthcare, and progressive action to save the planet. Simple things. Good, kind, caring things, for all of us.