45 tagged with #interactions

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Era Vulgaris Noon

My collective tardiness for the week exceeds four hours, and there's still not enough motivation to get moving in the mornings. I cannot tolerate feeling rushed in the mornings. I cheat this by starting my mornings before I go to bed, and make the act of waking and sliding into my clothes, my breakfast, my bicycle, as part of a continuous flow.

Fridays always feel as if they aren't happening. I push forward through a headwind that persists regardless of which direction the road is pointing. "Do you need help?" she asks when I approach the door, when I'm untangling my hair from my face.

"Nah, I've got it," I claim, but she's held the door for me anyway. "Thanks a lot!"

14 February 2014 15:00


Both our hands are full when we notice that the paper needs to be trimmed, so I balance the heavy roll between one hand and one thigh so I can reach for the knife in my pocket. It flicks open easily despite the lint jammed into the hinge, and I trim as far as I can reach from my side.

"You're pretty handy with opening that thing one handed," he says, especially after nicking himself when taking it from me to trim his side. It was a present from him, and after a couple of months in my hands, there are already spots where my fingers have worn their mark into the finish.

"Well, we've come to an agreement. But it hasn't drawn my blood yet, so it's not really mine until it does."

13 February 2014 09:59

Tread Carefully

I saw the salt-encrusted red truck start to turn onto my road before he realized he wasn't going to get the turning radius he expected, and I tensed. In a moment, all I knew was the distance between myself and every escape route possible, but none of them seemed like a plausible option. I was ready to vault onto the hood as a last resort, and he saw me at the same time his wheels suddenly became nearly useless front-mounted rudders.

The sound of tires losing traction have been haunting me this entire winter, and every winter prior. It's the only thing I truly fear when I'm riding with traffic, that a driver will lose control of their car while our vehicles are on an unchangeable trajectory towards each other. I heard those wheels spinning under the heavy load, useless scraping against the ice for an entire heartbeat before becoming drowned out by a frantic honking of the horn. I squeezed down, knowing just how much pressure my brake levers could take without sending the bike sideways underneath of me, embedding my front tire into a snowbank.

I faced the truck, which had so much snow on the hood that I couldn't even feel heat rising from the engine that idled a foot away from my chest. Breath curled out from my balaclava, lit by the truck's headlamps. I couldn't see the driver inside the dark cab, and he probably couldn't see my face behind the light well of my headlamp. I threw a hand up in equal parts helpless despair and "the hell do you want from me" in response to the honk.

My right foot was buried past the ankle in the wall of snow built by passing plows, and it came free with a lurch as I dismounted to push my bike to a clearer path so I could move on with my ride.

10 February 2014 09:14

Happens All the Time

"Aren't you freezing biking around in this weather?" the elctrician asked me when I wheeled my bike into the elevator. I just gave him a shrug and a grin.

"How else am I supposed to get around?"

"Well, I don't know. Do you live too far away to walk?"

"Not really, it just takes too long."

"But you won't freeze the way you would on a bike."

"Honestly, I'd rather be really cold for fifteen minutes than kind of cold for forty-five."

He watched me peeling off my outer layers and shook his head once the elevator got to my floor. "I just think you'd freeze on a bike."

"Nah, I'm fine. Take it easy!"

07 February 2014 14:18

Hard Rain

Right before I drifted off to sleep, a sound like pebbles thrown against my window roused me; I sat up and watched pellets of ice tinkling against the glass, melting on contact, then freezing in place. The pattern of rain splatters froze like a photograph, like footprints of the storm.

I pushed through four inches of hardened slush, the bottom of my bike's frame grazing the ice before my wheels found traction on the pavement. A woman stood in the street with a bright yellow bag of road salt in her hand, loading it into her car. She waved and gave me a thumbs-up; the grin on my face must have been visible even through my balaclava, goggles, helmet, and hood.

"I just sent my husband off in this! What do you think?"

I stood up on my pedals, pushing my wheels even deeper into the ice so they'd bite down on the ground. "I love winter. I love winter so much."

Her cheers followed me down the road.

05 February 2014 16:50

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