Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bursting Backpacks, Big Boy Bikes and Small Thrills.

One of the things I like about being my age is that I am much less concerned with what people think of me. I used to be so self conscious and now I hardly worry at all.

I haven’t had a haircut in six months and my hair is long, blond and shapeless except for near to my head where there is a 2 inch undyed strip that is mousy brown and grey. I am wearing the clothes I wore yesterday to save washing and my only shoes are worn and now grey with tears in the fabric. There are scratches on my arms from hunting in the bushes at the cemetery and I have itchy red eyes that are not responding to their usual eye drops.

I am back at the information centre to use the Internet but the staff continue talking to each other and I got the impression they are hoping I will walk straight back out again.

I wonder if they saw me coming and decided a red eyed, limp haired, less than fresh woman who is remembered for getting emotional over not getting a little peace, is worth avoiding. I am not surprised when they keep their distance. I think the staff assume I am still fragile and don’t want to upset me again. It’s a bonus because I get so much more done than I did on my last visit.

On my way home, I am proud of myself. I have to use the lowest of low gears that most people reserve for an iron man event, but I stay on the bike longer and cycle up some of the shorter inclines. I lurch along, bent under the weight of a backpack full to bursting with a few essential groceries, and a shopping bag slung beneath the cross bar of my too big boys bike. It keeps getting in the way as I pedal giving me a bandy look, with my knees out wide.

There are no footpaths here on the country road and the edge of the road is a slippery scary place. I stick as close as I can to the edge and cars tend to give me a wide berth.

I do my best to look competent and in control as I walk up the hills so people won’t stop and ask if I want a lift and I love the downhill runs. I pick up a bit of speed and the wind in my hair reminds me ever so slightly of being on my motorbike. It is a small thrill, especially as there is an element of risk. I have the world’s noisiest bike brakes and they sound quite similar to truck engine breaks. I am reluctant to use them in a built up area. If I have to stop in a hurry, I might just have to jump ship and let the bike go.

I get home just as the sun fades into its usual beautiful golden orange glow along the horizon.

Taking off the backpack is like removing an anvil from my shoulders. I feel so light as I spend the last of the daylight feeding the dog and the pony and, as it hasn’t rained since I arrived, giving the garden a really good soaking.

That night it rains … and rains … all night, and all the next day. Isn’t that what always happens when you water the garden?


Red Nomad OZ said...

Is it possible that an alternative reason for the staff non-response on your 2nd visit is that they don't care? I've sometimes been paranoid about reactions only to find that my assumptions are completely incorrect! Happy travels!!

Nikki said...

Oh yes, I think you got that right. The first lady was rude and inconsiderate. Luckily she was just one of a group of volunteers and I met lots of other more helpful people there later.