$5, 5 Years, and 5,000 Miles

Lavender tassels graced the handlebars of my ancient Trek hybrid bicycle for the last five years.  Studley picked them up on a whim, and presented them to me as part of a birthday present, thinking they would be a fine addition to my goofy-assed ride.

And they were perfect.  A reminder that it is dangerous to take oneself too seriously.  For me, and those i have encountered as i become increasingly visible as a cycling advocate in my little corner of Earth.

Conversation starters at monthly community rides, those cheap plastic streamers were my small means of making bicycling accessible to those who were intimidated by the spandex-clad racing crowd.

My constant cycling companions, the little purple streamers would sometimes wrap around my wrists when we’d encounter a tough headwind.  Caressing me, as if to say “There, there, darlin’… Every little thing, gonna be alright!”

me and my tassels

We had just finished a tasty breakfast at a favorite summer haunt, and were returning to the bike rack when i noticed something wrong.

daisyfae:  What the fuck?  Do you see it?

Studley:  What?

daisyfae:  Do you see it?  My bike?  DO YOU SEE IT?

Studley:  Yeah.  What?  The tassels…. SHIT!

daisyfae:  They’re gone!  Someone took them… SOMEONE STOLE MY TASSELS!

fuck you

Gone.  In the hour that it took for us to grab lunch, someone passing apparently decided that the tassels no longer belonged on my bicycle, and removed them.  Five dollars worth of plastic that simply could not be ignored.  Not the bike computer.  Not my crazy frame-based lighting peripherals. Not the tool kit in the trunk. My god damned tassels.

Over the course of the past five years, and five thousand miles, i have left that bike all over this fair city.  Chained to bike racks, in “bad” neighborhoods.  Attached to the car late at night.  The tassels have been ignored.  Until this day…

Seeing my de-tasseled bicycle, i was over-powered by a disproportionate degree of rage.  Who would do this?  Why would someone do this?  Would the thief love the tassels, or simply play with them for a moment and discard them?

Hitting the trail and heading home, i was overcome by tears and anger.  i gave into the beast and hammered the ride home…

Studley:  I know you’re pissed — go on, i’ll catch up at some point.  Besides, I’ve got the keys to the car!  You’ll have to wait!


Eventually i succumbed to the heat and exhaustion and slowed down.  Still angry, bewildered, and in no small way heartbroken.  Caught myself looking along the path for a glimpse of my beloved flair – possibly toyed with and discarded.

Allowing myself to be consumed by anger only for the ride home, i had decided that there would be new tassels.  i made plans for a stop at the discount store on my way out for the evening.

Howling with indignation as we completed the ride…

You can steal my tassels, but you shall NOT quench my whimsy, you thieving motherfucker!

An alarming trend…

My daily lunch break provides respite from mind-numbing meetings, endless annoying interchanges with colleagues* and the general cacophony that is my day-to-day existence.  There has been a frightening trend of late – regularly scheduled “brown bag lunch” meetings – and i must take action.  Nine – ten hours without escape will destroy my remaining nerve.

My Friday two-hour drinking lunch has been replaced with a weekly “seminar” – mandatory persecution and torment professional development coursework.  This will continue through late November, unless the seminar group disbands in a fit of salivating rage at the injustice wrought from far above our pay grades.

Another “informal brown bagger”** has encroached on my Tuesday lunch hour… Within the organization, there are eight of us with a common job function.  Four of us fully comprehend what is expected of us.  The other four special needs children individuals argued for a weekly communal lunch – to “share best practices” and “develop common vision” – both phrases that strike fear in the heart of a burnt out, cynical seasoned professional. 

And the latest?  A Monday meeting, every other week, with a group of young, impressionable colleagues – where i am one of the old fucks “mentors” shaping their professional development, sharing hopes and dreams and imparting useful nuggets of wisdom from my playbook.  Seriously, do you expect me not to be cranky on Monday without a dirty martini in my hand?

The loss of my lunch hour is bad enough.  Even scarier?  Being too lazy disorganized to bring suitable food from home, i am at the mercy of our in-house cafeteria, lovingly named The Ptomaine Palace.  While the helpful tapeworm to assist me with my weight loss goals lurks in the pantry, i would like to avoid contracting something that will lead to a massive colon blow during an afternoon meeting.  There are some incidents in the workplace from which there is no recovery.

On a good day, i dive on the pre-packaged food – yogurt and fresh fruit are sometimes available if i get there early enough.  By mid-week the salad selection is somewhat dessicated – but will do if i’m in the mood for lettuce with the texture of old chewing gum.  The soup is always dicey – recycled lumps of mystery meat bobbing on the surface of grey broth nearly sweats dysentery.

For now there is only one option.  Get organized.  Pack that lunch.  And include a flask… i am supposed to be setting an example for the young ‘uns.  Being resourceful?  Priceless…

* An example?  The senior scientist who will appear in my doorway exactly one minute after i receive an e-mail from him.  He then says “I sent you an e-mail… ” and proceeds to tell me what was in it.  For thirty minutes.

** Not to be confused with at “tea-bagger”.  We have those too.  One particular supply closet is rumored to need weekly disinfection…


Due primarily to a lack of news, i haven’t written much about The Park lately. This is just the quiet before the storm.  The Clampett’s shall ride again…

Mom’s bypass surgery is scheduled in three weeks.  In the meantime, she has exceeded all expectations in her quest to quit the demon tobacco!  i’m very proud of her, and although she hasn’t completely quit, she’s only smoking about 5 cigarettes a day.  Given that she has been chain-smoking for 65 years, this is remarkable*!

i’m even more proud of her for finally standing up to her quack family physician, Dr. Bonehead**.  In the past, this man has misdiagnosed many a malady.  Among other things, he prescribed arthritis medication for “leg trouble” which was due to circulation problems, and an early indicator of heart failure.  His office staff is equally incompetent, and excel at finding ways to charge Mom for unnecessary procedures.  A recent example:  Because they used the wrong code for lab tests, which the insurance company then refused to pay, Mom was forced to drop an unexpected $200 on lab work.

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“Because I have a penis…”

Bike ride tonight after work – part of my attempt to drop the extra pounds, and taking advantage of snippets of spring weather as they appear.  i went riding with my work out buddy – also sharing the weight loss quest.

We are marginally obsessive in our approach to fitness.  We use an online tool for tracking our daily caloric intake, as well as our daily caloric “burn”.  To lose 2 lbs per week, on average, we try to burn 1000 cal/day more than we consume.

After the bike ride tonight – an easy 14 miles, average speed around 12 mph – we stopped at my house to calculate our numbers and compare notes.  In a head to head comparison of our biking expenditures, i became agitated.

You see, for the exact same time/distance, he burned 662 cal (9 cal/minute) vs my 515 cal (7 cal/min).   Yes, i understand that men typically have slightly higher metabolic rates, as they tend to have less body fat.  But when i continued to stew about this, he sighed and said:  “But daisyfae – i have a penis…”*, shrugging and gesturing politely toward his unit.

He didn’t see my shoe flying toward his head…**


* in a prior conversation, i made the unfortunate mistake of telling my late friend of a conversation with The Boy, where he finally ended our disagreement with the statement “oh, that’s right.  You don’t have a penis…” when implying that i wasn’t maintaining logic.

** calories burned throwing shoe? who gives a shit…