Monday, October 8, 2007

On trying new things

I had a good workout with the trainer this morning. I walked over to the gym, after a very restless night of sleep, feeling as if it was inconceivable that I could do any kind of workout (stiff quads from that race!), but in fact it was quite pleasurable, once we worked out the appropriate limitations (nothing super-high-heart-rate-inducing, minimal lower-body involvement). Moderate, appealing, sensible. But still good for the muscles...

I had a longstanding and long-overdue obligation to visit a friend with a new baby downtown, and today for various reasons being the first day I could honorably acquit myself of it I took the opportunity to drop off the injured bicycle en route. (Go and take a look, BTW, at her hilarious cartoons about the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding.)

The first panel of the second strip: It is always lovely to see M. in any case. But we had an especially good bit of conversation about something we share, which is a reluctance to try new things. Some people are adventurous about trying new stuff; M. and I both build up imaginary obstacles, obsess about them, etc. but then discover once we actually make ourselves do the actual dreaded thing that it is not so bad.

M.'s latest series of things to do with this all concerns the baby: baths, pumping milk, etc. etc.

Mine, of course, are bicycle-related!

So on the one hand this was a good conversation because it reminded me how much lower the stakes are with a bicycle than with a baby...

But on the other hand it also reminded me that I do usually like things quite well once I've actually got over the hump of newness, and today's bicycle-related activities are a case in point. Really my job is just to do whatever it takes to make myself feel warmly towards this machine! And I did actually feel a modest sense of accomplishment, though a ten-year-old child could probably have done the same thing with less worries (assuming a credit card in hand...).

To wit: I took my bicycle on the subway to the store, I explained what I needed, I came back in two hours and the problem was solved! They checked the cables and made necessary adjustments, they showed me that somehow accidentally I had actually torn out the whole valve (I must be more careful, I still do not quite see how this happened) and did not charge me for fixing it.

(That is not to say I did not spend quite a lot of money, because I did. Two spare tubes, a handlebar mirror which they installed for me, a bottle of lube for the chain and a backpack: $142.21...)

It would make a funny triathlete blog just to chronicle, sort of a-la-Bridget Jones calorie/alcohol unit counts, the money spent each week on the sport... But nobody would want to do it because it is so outrageously and shamingly spendthrift!

I told you this would sound only like a very modest accomplishment, so modest as to be almost negligible, but for me it actually seems like a great psychological step forward to think (a) I might break something on my bike and (b) all I have to do if that happens, or even if I think that has happened, is to take it to the store where I bought it or the local bike shop in walking distance where my friend R. introduced me to the expert mechanic and get someone to fix it for me for a modest sum!

Later this week I am going to go and see if I can purchase cycling shoes that will take cleats but do not have such slippery soles, I feel certain that with a pair that weren't so skittery I wouldn't be so nervous. But the only thing that matters for now is that I should do whatever it takes to kind of fall in love with that nice little bicycle...

(In January it was all, like, will I have to walk through the corridors and stairwells of the Dodge Fitness Center in a bathing suit and towel to get to the swimming pool? Am I supposed to wear flip-flops when I take a shower at the gym? How do I know which lane to swim in? It took modest courage to actually investigate the horrible bathing-suit-in-corridor notion deeply enough to realize what a more experienced person would have guessed, which is that there is another women's locker room immediately adjacent to the pool...)

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Oh, yes, please do an expenses sidebar!

Glad to hear the visit was delightful and the bike feels better.