Scenes From a Bike Commute: Good Girl

A middle-aged woman with a riot of luscious gray curls crossed the street in front of me as I waited at the stop sign. She was walking a small, skittish dog, and as she drew nearer I heard her say “Good girl!”

“Look at you, all colour-coordinated!” she said to me as she crossed. I’m wearing a white cardigan over a turquoise sweater, blue jeggings rolled up to my calves, and mint-green and white New Balance 501s. You already know what my bike looks like.

She continued, “That’s really part of it, isn’t it? If you’re going to have to ride your bike, you might as well look good while doing it.” I laughed in agreement, and pedaled away.

But I still don’t know if the “good girl” was for me or for her dog.

Steal Away

I dream of being kidnapped.

In this scenario, the usual suspects would show up at my front door, their faces serious but their eyes alight with secret mirth. “Renee, take Cecily to the car,” Kay would say, “I’ll take care of packing a bag for her.” Don’t worry about Ella, don’t worry about work, don’t worry about anything else except to tell me where you keep your iPad’s charger, because we are breaking you out.

There’d be two other carloads of people waiting downstairs, and much to my surprise, Tiffany, Michelle, and Erica would be there. How my BC friends pulled this off, I’ll never imagine. Renee would hustle me into the back seat of Kay’s SUV (Kay’s Jen always rides shotgun), and in the time it takes me to think of a reason why I shouldn’t go on this trip, we’d be on our way.

Mile after sun-drenched mile of highway would disappear under our wheels. We’d stop at roadside attractions (read that as roadside microbreweries) and sample the local brews. Phones would be passed around as we took funny pictures of each other, and both halves of my “logical family” would come together and get to know each other better.

After several hours of driving, we’d arrive in Penticton or Naramata, or someplace sunnier, much warmer, and more arid than Vancouver could ever be. “No, Cecily, don’t worry about it. Leave your stuff, we’ll bring it in. You take the downstairs bedroom and relax for a bit.” My friends would bustle around turning our rental into our weekend home. I’ll fuss and fret because I like to protest more than I like to help, and it’s important for me to put on a show of being broken up about not being able to scurry around.

The smell of applewood charcoal fills the air as Kay and Michelle tend to the grill. Tiffany’s over there mixing cocktails for everyone, and the way the sun glints off her movie-star sunglasses is a wondrous thing. Jen and Erica are talking about kickboxing and fitness training, and Renee is heading down to the riverside wearing a big floppy straw hat with an absurdly gaudy flower on it’s crown. I’m on the beach turning the colour of freshly-tilled soil, feeling my hair crackle and my nostrils dry out, but caring not one iota because being this warm, basking like this while surrounded by the people I love most is far more curative than any of the multi-syllabic medications I’m taking to treat my RA. Warm, wonderful women, laughter, drinks, food, and sunshine.

Who wouldn’t want to steal away for a weekend like that?

The Haps

It’s been a minute or two since I’ve written anything here. I do most of my communicating on Twitter these days, and thanks to ThinkUp, I know exactly how much time I spend in conversation and how much time I spend simply stroking my own ego. By the way, ThinkUp was worth every penny of the signup fee.

The primary reason I’ve decided to write this blog post at all is because of a post I read at Buffer that outlined ways you can improve your writing. There are times when I feel like an amazing writer; the words simply flow, the arguments are coherent, and I take pride in what I’ve published. Then there are nights like this one when coat rack kitten beelzebub firefly. But like with any art or outlet, it takes practice and time to build confidence and skill, and this is my attempt (my umpteenth attempt) at that.

So. The haps around here:

  • Health – it’s been up and down,  mostly down, the last few months. I ran out of sick leave a few weeks ago, and that only adds to my stress. Not to worry, I get some new ones in a few weeks. The challenge is feel I’m not a contributing member of my team, and that I’m letting people down even though my colleagues assure me that isn’t the case. But good news! In the last week I’ve been on a bit of an upswing. I even had a couple of pain-free days. I’m dieting again and feeling deeply conflicted about that, but if I don’t lose thirty pounds between now and December, I won’t get to have…
  • Surgery – Yes, I finally have a tentative surgery date for my total knee replacement. But the kicker is having to lose 30 pounds. The surgeon was horrible to me; dismissive, rude, and generally not very nice. He filled my head full of doom and gloom and some pretty harsh realities as well. For a few days I was convinced that the surgery wouldn’t be worth it. I’ve changed my mind about that.
  • Learning – I signed up for front end developer courses through Skillcrush and Treehouse. A longer blog post about them is in my drafts folder, but tl; dr, my money’s on Treehouse in terms of helping me (finally!) get over the knowledge/experience/confidence hump with my coding skills. Now to find a side hustle that will let me put those skills to the test.

Lightning in a Bottle

Nirvana defined a moment, a movement for outsiders: for the fags; for the fat girls; for the broken toys; the shy nerds; the Goth kids from Tennessee and Kentucky; for the rockers and the awkward; for the fed-up; the too-smart kids and the bullied. We were a community, a generation — in Nirvana’s case, several generations — in the echo chamber of that collective howl, and Allen Ginsberg would have been very proud, here. — Michael Stipe

The speech Stipe gave to induct Nirvana into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame brought tears to my eyes. Since the 20th anniversary of Kurt’s death (and Marlon Riggs’), I’ve been in a very somber mood. Stipe’s words pushed the floodgates open and created the space for me — and so many others like me — to grieve and celebrate.

A Brief Survey: Library Social Media and Multilingual Messages

I’m trying to decide whether we should start promoting library events in multiple languages on the Library’s social media channels. Given that the number of fans/followers we have whose default language is anything other than English is quite small, I’m a bit on the fence about it. I know it isn’t purely a numbers game; we create printed events brochures in other languages, and it’s important to reach out to all communities. Still, I’m not sure whether this is the right strategy for our social media audience.

If you wouldn’t mind completing this very brief survey, you’d help me out a great deal. Sure, it’s anecdotal, but sometimes anecdotes are helpful.

Aside

Like Acid Flashbacks, But With Kente Cloth

This tweet from @Librarianry caused a flashback to my first year of graduate studies in Africana Studies at Clark Atlanta University. One of my professors not only made us carry an unabridged dictionary around with us, but he made us memorize Countee Cullen’s poem “Heritage“, and required us to sing James Weldon Johnson’s  “Lift Ev’ry Voice” at the end of each class — all of the stanzas.

I was never sure whether I was in graduate school or in 3rd grade.