In literature, my students and I often talk about the notion of the “pathetic fallacy.” Simply put, this is the moment in a novel when the weather outside directly reflects the emotions of the characters. “Pathetic,” because it has to do with emotion/pathos, and fallacy, because it is a false reinforcement of the author’s intent (not falsely bad, necessarily, but the giant rainstorm added to what the author is already relating about the character’s emotions after the miserable break-up is accomplishing something the author feels they couldn’t do simply by conveying the original emotions alone).
It’s definitely a pathetic fallacy kind of day. Yesterday, I sent off a group of graduating seniors into the world outside my school. I have been teaching now for over ten years, and so I’ve done this once or twice before. But somehow, this year was different. I’ve been teaching some of these kids nearly-continuously for five years, since they were wide-eyed eighth graders. They were the first class I taught on my first day of work at this school. We have been white-water rafting together for a week with Outward Bound that first year. We have been camping on their senior overnight. I have taken trips, chaperoned dances, discussed book after book, advised, counselled, chastised and congratulated them all more times than I can count. I have graded, collectively, somewhere in the nature of TWO THOUSAND papers they have written (probably much more for some of them). I am closer to this group of kids than to any group I’ve taught, before or since. To see them go has been absolutely heart-wrenching, even though I am immensely proud of them.
So when I woke up this morning to a light drizzling rain and winter-esque temperatures, I felt my emotions were justly amplified. And I had a migraine, garnered through an exhausting few days leading up to graduation and too much crying like a big baby yesterday. I woke first at 9:30, stumbled up to grab some ibuprofen, and then retreated back into a nest of covers with the cat for another hour and a half until the headache was somewhat mitigated.
The Girls were due to be dropped off with me at about 1:30, as The Beloved has to work today, so I had no time to wait for the weather to improve. I also had no desire to go for a twenty-mile ride. In fact, I didn’t really think I wanted to ride at all! Five minutes hunkered down under a blanket at my computer convinced me otherwise. It was a clam chowder and peach Snapple kind of afternoon, and I had neither.
Riding in the rain is not something I spend a lot of time doing voluntarily. I don’t hate it, but it’s hardly a good time personified, either. I threw on my raincoat and put the hood up under my helmet, grabbed my camera and my purse, and headed out to the 7-11 down the street. It is now the only store in our quickly rideable vicinity. Well, they have soup and Snapple, if not much else. I didn’t bother with any other special clothing or modifications: I just hopped on the bike and rode. A year ago, I probably would have driven this quick errand, but running rideblog is a happy obligation and keeps me on my riding toes!
The Raleigh’s new brakes got the job, as I’m absolutely certain The Viva’s disc brakes will stop in any weather, any time. But would the new Tektros work well on The Raleigh’s new aluminum rims, as the water sprayed up around them? The answer, unequivocably, is yes. They stopped on a dime, no problem.
I rode quickly, rain spraying in my face. I pondered my need for clear glasses with miniature windshield wipers attached, but then realized this was why I had eyelids. The Raleigh and I found nothing much to note, but we did stop to take a quick shot of the rainy journey.
I used my new U-lock to lock up The Raleigh outside the 7-11. It seemed unlikely to me that anyone was going to actually pick up the bike, so I didn’t lock it to anything, just threaded the U-lock through the front wheel and the frame to keep it from rolling anywhere. Then I pulled the BikeCap up over the Brooks (which really wasn’t even necessary, as the bike was in my sight the entire time), grabbed my basket, and headed in. The Raleigh did admirably with all this, and waited without whining, barking hysterically or stealthily licking the hands of random passers-by, unlike my old dog when I would take her to the store with me.
By the time I got home, my jeans needed a good round in the dryer, but otherwise, I was unscathed. The brakes worked, the ride was quick and fun, and my mood was slightly elevated.
Yes, that’s a rainbow madras plaid shirt poking out of my jacket. It’s new.
My former seniors have all now friended me on Facebook, with the understanding that if I see any pictures of them drinking 40’s in cleavage-revealing tops while sticking out their tongues and making gang gestures, they will rapidly be defriended. They told me that they knew how to use Facebook’s features so that I would only see the “clean” pics. How reassuring!
In other news, Dream Bike’s frame, fenders and rack are on the way. Later this week, I’m sending off the Carradice Barley and Bagman to a reader, and that money will help fund the next step: paint.
I also need to buy The Boy a new bike, with gears. If anyone has any suggestions for decently-made modern kids’ bikes that aren’t total Walmart garbage, I’d appreciate them. He doesn’t want a vintage bike, so please don’t suggest that. Cool mock-bmx bikes with graphics are all the rage with seven year-olds, you know. I’d like to buy a bike that’s reasonably socially responsible, but cheap enough that I won’t feel terrible when he throws it down in the driveway to investigate a really cool bug.