Then the day off. What to do? Attempts at personal expression are embarrassing failures as often as not, something I should apologize for. Utter crap. The veil of awkwardness.
In the latter part of the summer I was back riding. Out at night with the headlamp and the tail flashers, dealing with the awkwardness of getting down to Hains Point via the sidewalk trail of Rock Creek Parkway then past the Lincoln Memorial and the tour busses, for a few laps out and back the finger of land with the river on both sides, where bats buzzed me from overhead and foxes stared back at me, eyes glowing in reflection as they scouted garbage. There were hills nearby, easier to get to, traffic free, street lamps. There was the more ambitious ride, worth the chemistry, to Rock Creek Park. There were the rides after shifts, the bike on the stand, a bottle of wine at hand to ease the boredom. Not much on TV, headed toward sleep. And the thigh muscles grew, shaping themselves. I ate a lot of meat, and it all tasted very good, simply prepared under a gas fire in the stove. Yoga, stretches and poses, helped. And I had the distinct impression that the steady slow rides at night after work in my living room, which might have seemed like idle spinning, were the larger part of my strengthening cycling legs. Reminding me of the ride back in from Garrett Park years ago in the company of my best friend Dan as we rode with Russell the Muscle on one of his recovery rides, 12, 14 miles per hour.
And so it was that I took this as a lesson, that for writing muscles to grow I had to take those idle spins, just for the generally good feeling of getting out there, working the movements and the tensions, coming back around in what may have seemed like pointless circles, repetitions, not so much moving forward, a kind of inner movement, an acceptance of the home miles that led when the opportunity allowed, to the open road. At many points I could say that all of it was pointless, achieving very little, just taking up time, letting the mind spin itself out, as a way of emptying it maybe. A way of getting out thoughts as those about not being there for my father when he died. A way of estimating things I did not know about that an intellectual should explore. A way of getting to, in some way, the sense of being trapped in a strange situation, of catching a thin awkward figure staring back at myself when I passed a mirror.
I had been under the juvenile thought that all things of life should be perfect, that things would work out as they were supposed to, appropriately. And then slowly you learn that things are not perfect, not at all, and that life is really about taking the best shot at it from what you are given, that you have to be active about it all. Or you'll end up, you'll end up finding writing as a form of exercise for something you are only aware of in the vaguest of sense. Writing as a way to cope with the time alone, maybe time you really do in fact need, to put things back in some order.
I'm going long, going slow, out as if for longevity. And other writers are certainly passing me by, very strong, and I'm out for the scenery, or as a way to hide from the embarrassment of being myself.
There were several magnificent ravens walking the street, looking around, when I took my bike out to go to work yesterday.
So the first day off and I take the route through the city to get down to Hains Point, passing the Washington Monument, then the Jefferson Memorial. Night has fallen by the time I cut east with the White House shining. My mind feels disturbed by the lack of social interaction but the exercise will help. Each time I take the north road heading out east to the point there is a stretch with the distinct smell of fox, a warm rich musty wet aroma that goes with the big river. Out resting on the water anchored yachts, and different sized pleasure boats moving slowly on both channels, one looking like a river boat, then the longer spaceship dinner cruise Odyssey. At the point making the turn the steady string of three bright lights coming upstream in for a landing at National just as the same interval planes take off. I'm clicked into the biggest gear, going out a slow pace.
Today the Kurosawa warrior hero faces the modern battle of getting his manager's license renewed down at the DC government's alcoholic beverage regulatory administration, first the notary public. A draining battle, finally escaping south in the 14th Street bike lane, mind not feeling good at all, maybe the ragweed, forgetting to shower the night before. Anonymity, I can understand Knausgaard's appreciation of a place to write where no one knows you.