Tuesday, March 27, 2007
So yesterday morning, sometime between 7:30 and 9:30 am, someone decided to add the front wheel of my bike to his or her collection of odds and ends that belong to other people. Hmph.
Knowing full well the flawed mechanics of pedaling a bike with only one wheel (no unicycle jokes here, please), I had to go Medieval and walk wherever I wanted to be. And since I had class today at 1:30, I decided I wanted to be at the school building which is a 25-minute walk from where Helen and I were spending the morning.
My Nano was loaded and ready. I glanced past my stilettos toward my sensible walking shoes. Off I went.
My God, what a fabulously beautiful day today. The kind of day that has you walking even if you have both wheels on your bicycle.
25 minutes. I pass Centraal Station. Pass the Red Light District. Pass the Sea Palace (a ginormous floating Chinese restaurant...likely the eighth wonder of the world). I start to gain a little more understanding - just a little - for the pedestrians who seemingly place themselves smack dab in front of wherever bikers are trying to ride. As it turns out, there isn't always sidewalk enough for foot travel. Noted.
I arrive at the Zeemanshuis, the building which is home to my history class. Discussion over the crazy brilliance of pianist Bill Evans. Sadly, it's an old story...musical genius, heroine, cocaine, early death, and the stamp of history marked "tragedy," or "a shameful waste."
I walk out the door and out of habit, go the way of the bicyclists, not realizing there is a shortcut for walkers. But as I said, it's so lovely out, I'm not bothered.
As I'm crossing Prins Hendrikskaade, I notice I've gathered a hitchiker. A tiny little red fellow with black spots. I kindly explain to him that, in the realm of ladybug distances, I was going to be landing in another galaxy before stopping. He offered no response and I took that as acceptance. Off we went together.
Nano on. 54 tracks of Led Zeppelin in the cue. The music that tells me it's great to be young, it's great to be old, and it's an even better ride in between.
Left. Right. Left. Right.
Last week, my harmony professor compared the aural experience of "predicting" the final cadences of Bach's chorales to the phenomenon of crossing a street, knowing full well with which foot you will eventually first step on to the other side.
"What? You don't do that? Perhaps it's just me, then."
That was a funny thought. I don't know anyone who has ever brought this concept up with me before. Then again, no matter what you predict, when it comes to your feet, you've got a fifty percent chance of getting it right. You could prove a lot of things that way.
I check in on the ladybug. He's still there. Hiding under the lapel of my jacket now. I try not to care that he's there...try to act non-chalant about my hitchiker, but I keep an eye on him inbetween tracks.
Dazed and Confused. Friends (I love the strange mode or altered scale that this song uses). Almost home.
Pass the Floating Miracle. Pass the hookers' haven. Pass the mayhem known as Centraal Station.
As I turn on to Herengracht, I notice a Canal Bus gently bumping into a bridge as it makes a sweeping 90 degree turn. I'm on the home stretch. Half expecting to see my front wheel come tooling down the street toward me ("guess where I'VE been?!"), I see the gate in front of our huis.
"Final destination." I prepare the hitchiker for landing. Our gate is not exactly a Four Seaons for ladybugs, but I hope he's not too sorely disappointed. I did warn him, after all.
Opening the door, Dave, Rem and Helen greet me. So great to walk the world. Even better to be home.