Friday, February 15, 2013

February Fugue State

Went out for bananas the other day and somehow ended up at the bike store.

Not sure exactly how this happened. I have no distinct memory of deciding to stop at Revolution Cycle on my way to Safeway. It just sort of occurred. One minute I’m pulling out of my garage with fruit on my mind, and the next thing I know, I’m snapping out of a reverie in the bike store, standing there on the shop floor, fondling the Large Marges of a Surly Moonlander.

Here’s my theory: Some kind of February enchantment drew me there.

This time of year, when the days start getting noticeably longer, when I start to see a glimmer of sunrise on my morning commute, I feel some kind of stirring deep in my cycling soul, a visceral, tectonic shift. Cycling season—real cycling season, with short pants and green fields—becomes less theoretical, more tangible. We’re past the tipping point of winter, and although there’s still months aplenty of snow/ice/cold to go around here, spring is within dreaming, if not spitting, distance.

So what exactly is with this siren call that lures me to the bike store every February? I don’t think it has anything to do with wanting to buy stuff.  I don’t generally crave the latest models or gizmos, the newest super-light frame or the cutting edge e-shifters. I rarely buy anything on these visits.  

Rather, there’s just something about the smell of the place, about being around that general cycling aura, that satisfies some need to be in a cycling environment for a while, even if I know I won’t be out tearing up the roads on skinny tires any time soon.

I sometimes see others like me in the bike store, others who’ve also wandered in during some February fugue state. I recognize them by the dreaminess in their eyes. Like me, they’re poking through the clearance racks of clothing, furrowing a brow at the over-priced woolen garments, kicking fat tires. They’ve got it bad too.

My wife is a bit worried. She’s suggested that I write my name and phone number on my arm, like some 5-year-old, in case I go all fugue state again, and turn up there, lost and confused, like some dementia-sufferer. Then at least the bike shop workers will know whom to call to come and collect me.

We can always pick up the bananas on the way home.

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