Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nilla Fare

I’m 23 11/12 and I found myself eating Nilla Wafers out of the box nearing midnight during a recent visit home to my parents house.

I haven’t eaten these since preschool (or have I?), yet now, 20 11/12 years later, I’m comforted by these unassuming, delicious (trust me) treats amidst my what should I do with my life angst, as if the taste of childhood could revive that magical Disney feeling that blanketed my youth.

My mom stood nearby washing dishes in a 100% cotton, knee-length pajama shirt. I wore a similar one of hers (different color, different pattern); I pack as little as possible for visits home, mitigating the packing anxiety experienced by a lover of travel.

And then I saw myself as a daughter again. In my DC life, I’m a volunteer, resistant young professional, yogi, studio renter, aspiring freelancer, student at times, a friend. In creating this life unto me, I forgot what it was like to berate my dad for not putting the seat down, call out to my mom from the shower because I forgot a towel, be woken by someone and not by my cell phone.

I went on auto pilot – sitting in the back seat of a car that took me places I didn’t navigate to; walking around sans purse (wallet, metro card, travel size lint brush); eating food from the fridge I had no role in purchasing; sleeping in a bed I didn’t make, yet somehow the comforter found its way home in time for the next night’s rest.

Our Saturday night out included pizza, followed by a large frappaccino unintentionally shared three ways. Family is a blended approach to life. Then a stop at a book store where I picked something out, handing it off to my mom to buy while I continued to browse in the minutes before the store closed. In childlike fashion, I was the only one who got a toy.

In this digression to dependency, I wondered (and worried) how I would find my way back to the holistic pistol I seemed to be less than 48 hours before.

Nilla Wafers – talk about food for thought.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Spinning My Wheels

I spent the weekend in Baltimore for no reason other than to purchase a bicycle. I'd say bike but I'm trying to maintain a serious overtone for why I'd spend a weekend in a completely de-charmed place known as "Charm City."

Mom and Dad, I love you. (Egg and sperm providers reside in Baltimore.)

My inner hippie has been beating her drum to the tune of "You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round," while my inner badass has developed a craving for disturbing pedestrians, namely my inevitable and imminent proclivity for riding my new bicycle on D.C. sidewalks.

I ventured into the Performance Bicycle shop and found myself in a pronunciation war zone. Where's a speech pathologist when you need one most? Baltimore locals (affectionately, Baltimorons) interchange the letters "T" and "D" and sometimes forget the letter "I" altogether. When a local utters his city of origin, "Baldmore," the listener whose ears bear such phonetic fallacies wonders whether the speaker has a speech impediment or is simply (literally) stating his preference for additional baldness.

Grammarians not so much, but knowledgeable bicycle salespeople Baltimore does have. And their patience for a big city gal with a lot of questions and no certainty for anything but the bicycle's color - endless.

The first question posed was whether I wanted a unisex bicycle or a "ladies" bicycle. I guess I left my feminist badge at home because they didn't initially perceive my "I prefer to have platonic crushes on amazing women than date half-broken men" philosophy.

My 5'2" frame was better suited to the "ladies" bicycle, though, as swinging my leg over the equality bicycle proved difficult. Perhaps it was my attire. Who wears Diesel jeans to test ride a new bicycle? Story of my life.

As the very tattooed salesman rang up my new bicycle, helmet, pump, carry-on pouch, heavy duty (at least 6 lbs.) lock, and kickstand (can you believe they charge an extra 8 bucks for that?), I calculated that if I ride to work 35 times and avoid metro fare, I'll break even. August - you're my month.

A final lesson in how to lock up the bicycle ended on a sour note, for me at least. These crazy linguists want me to remove the front wheel in order to lock it up with the back wheel and bicycle frame. Did I buy the top of the line lock with an extension cord or not? Can't it wrap around the frame, through both wheels, and around the pole?

Stacy (men with female names...oh, brother) seems to think not. As he gently demonstrated the psychotic removal of the front wheel, beginning with the separation of the brakes wire from this bolt of sorts, he told me I was then going to do some subsequent crazy maneuver, to which I fiercely shook my head no, in a very Sally Field "Not Without My Daughter" manner.

I won't do it Stacy; I just won't.

After the three hour ordeal, my mom informed me that she's, "bought cars in less time." Yeah, and you live in Baltimore. I'd trust your judgment as much as I'd trust my ability to remove the front tire and then connect it again to the bicycle.