If last night’s ride was any indication, I’ll be eating a lot of peanut butter and Benadryl sandwiches for the next 3-4 months. Ladies and gentlemen, allergy season is here. As spring merges into summer, in addition to all the pollen floating through the air, our seasonal clouds of non-specific flying bugs have returned. I think I inhaled as many calories in the form of gnats last night, as I burned pedaling. Push.
I thought about Karen Pool last night while riding. I think about Karen Pool often. She and I were classmates in kindergarteners in 1966 — in Morristown New Jersey. She had short blonde pigtails, always wore dresses, and we actually spoke of getting married someday. In fact, I was planning on it.
Just outside the back entrance to our kindergarten classroom was a playground, exclusive to the two kindergarten classes that occupied that side of the building. The playground had a gravel surface, with a swingset and slide on one end and a jungle gym and a sandbox on the other end. In-between the swingset and the jungle gym was the main attraction — a wooden mock-up of the Batmobile, based on the popular television show that began that same year.
Every recess and lunch break Karen Pool and I, along with a few friends, would make a beeline directly to the Batmobile. I would be Batman and Karen would be Catwoman. Our friends would take turns playing different characters — the Joker, the Penguin and so-on.
As distant as those days are from today, I still possess a handful of clear memories from conversations Karen and I had and of the plans we made together, nevermind that I can’t tell you what I ate for dinner last night. The most indelible memory I have though, is of the kids being called back into the classroom after recess one morning, and Karen and I were having too much fun playing Batman to return. Soon we would be the only two kids who remained on the playground. We stood facing each other beside the Batmobile.
She looked at me with a serious expression, and with no warning whatsoever, told me she wasn’t going to marry me after all. Before she could turn to walk away, I punched in the stomach as hard as I could. She buckled over and began to cry. When the teacher came running out, I lied and told her I didn’t know what happened. Three minutes later I was sitting on a three legged stool with my back to the class, facing the corner of shame. I would spend the rest of the morning sitting in that corner, with plenty of time to think about what I did wrong and why it was wrong.
And what I felt and what I thought about was pure shame. So much so, that I’ve never gotten over it — it’s still haunts me. When I reflect on that moment, I feel more guilt and disgust than I did as a 5-year-old. I still think of the physical pain I caused Karen and the emotional pain I might have caused her. I hope things turned out okay for her. I guess they turned out okay for me. Although I would go on to cut the pigtails off a girl named Mary Reckart in the 5th grade, and shoot Beth Rosen in the right breast with an improvised blow-dart in the 9th grade, I never hit a girl again.
Thinking back on this last night, I began to think about the millions of other kindergarten boys that also hit girls — each day and all over the world. A lot of them never got caught like I did, and never learned that’s not how human beings behave, even at age 5. I thought about how the older a boy gets, the harder he hits, and the harder it must be to unlearn the habit of hitting, and I cringe. Teach your children well, especially if they’re boys.
This is what I think about when I ride.. Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 5
Mph Avg: 15.1
Seat Time: 12 hours 53 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Joan Osborne. Enjoy…!