This blog will be doubly-aptly titled today, as I wrote it once already this morning when Chrome crashed as I tried to link a video to some of the content. That never happens! It wasn’t my fault but Ooops it did it anyway.
I was fortunate on the last day of summer to have time to jump on the Specialized Venge and head west. Out through the dried corn and bean fields I rode, cognizant all the way that a tailwind was pushing me along. There would be a price to pay returning home.
Then I came to the high school that I attended freshman and sophomore years. It’s always fun for me to ride a loop around the service road behind the building past the football field and track. Every February and March the track team would gather out on that tarmac to run intervals around the school.
Distance runners ran counterclockwise with the building typically acting as a shield to the north and west direction from whence the cold winter winds would most frequently come. Then we’d burst around the southwest corner of the school and lean forward, pushing our ruddy faces into the gale. Turning into the homestretch was hardly a mercy because by then we’d be wrought with pain from having pushed so hard the first 400 meters of running. Then we’d rest for an interval of sixty seconds and repeat the process. Ooops, I did it again.
Back then we had no indoor track and the outdoor track was made of cinders and hard layers of compressed dark dirt that would not dry out until April. So we waited for the seasons to change and do all our workouts on the asphalt around the school. The hurdlers had their strides marked out along the parking lot. But it was the middle and distance runners who really suffered those cold spring days.
I recall those workouts looping past the tall vertical press box at the 50-yard line. That’s the point in the stadium at which track races started and finished back then, not at the start of the curve. That came much later when I got to college. Times have changed.
The press box these days is low-slung, horizontal and covered with school propaganda. But back when it stood thirty feet tall and had a plain white surface from bottom to top. A close friend that hated going to high school was recruited to do a senior prank by painting a massive nude up the side of the structure. I knew the artist well, and by all reports racing through the junior high rumor mill, the female he created on that wall was, by male standards some might find offensive, “Good enough to eat.”
I don’t care what gender you are or what sexual orientation you might abide. For many people in this world, that statement about sexual hunger is true. Our appetites run from end to end where sexuality is concerned and sex is like a food to some people. Hiding these things only leads to trouble. It is better to exercise than diet, as the saying goes.
It is repression of our appetites that seems to make the world a crazy place. We see it every month it seems with politicians bragging about their values and sexual mores only to find out they’ve been doing some intern or carrying on secret affairs of one type or another.
Repression causes people to hide their manic urges until they explode inside. That’s why I believe the bible is actually speaking metaphorically when it says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
When you stop to think about it, taking that passage literally does nothing to solve the problem of personal lust and desire. You can still lust with one eye or even both eyes missing. Yet if you metaphorically pluck out the “eye of lust” on your own and quell sexual desire rather than act on it irresponsibly, you might just keep your sanity and not pave the road to hell with secretive affairs or worse. Because once that starts, it is very hard to stop. Then it becomes Ooops, you did it again. Sooner or later, someone else finds out.
Thus it was age-appropriately ironic that as I pulled out of the high school campus on my bike yesterday, a giddy group of high school girls whooped and hollered at me from their car. That’s happened more than once over all my years of cycling, and I make nothing more of it than the fact that Girls Just Like to Have Fun.
Young women need to burn off steam just like young men. Those young women didn’t really mean anything by whooping at me. They were just being goofy on a warm September afternoon. Their actual attentions will sooner or later be drawn to more sensible fare such as the physique of a swimmer like that shown here. Far better that guy than a fit but well-worn triathlete like me. I can see the difference for myself. I don’t need young women to define that element of truth.
Yet let’s be clear: It is healthy to suggest that the unwanted attentions of young men toward women in public are harmless. Not when rape is such a problem across America. The dynamics are very different. Men making lusty comments to women in public need to put a zipper on it. They need to pluck out the eye of lust on their own and not project it onto other women in public. That’s not repression, by the way. That’s self-respect. If you don’t have a reason or the class the approach a woman with respect, then you have no right to comment at all.
The equation still holds true: If men are indeed being harassed by someone, that has to stop. What I experienced from the girls in the car was not harassment. In that specific incidence, there was no threat. More often my experience running and biking has been harassment from people throwing things out the window or intimidating me on the road with their vehicles. Nothing sexual about that of course. Just scary.
But one must admit that a burst of testosterone rises in the veins on thoughts of being whooped at even for fun. And that’s the problem with all this. We all seem to want attention, but not the wrong kind.
Makes one wonder what it would be like to be their age once again, in this day and age. Back in school days when whoops and hollers would have been so much appreciated, they were typically so rare. Skinny distance runners just didn’t get whoops and hollers back in the day. Only decades later does one hear through a funny little reunion grapevine that certain women actually liked your
Only decades later does one hear through the funny little reunion grapevine that certain women actually liked your legs, or somesuch. It seems that some women and men love to divulge these little treats over time. It’s one of the quirks and privileges of growing older. Yet what life really comes down to is being appreciated in real time. That’s what matters. I always count my blessings on that. So should you. That is how all of us should live our lives.
On top of all these open country thoughts during my ride, there was still the matter of pedaling 15 miles back to town against a stiff wind. It was harsh pedaling, but finally I arrived at the Walmart parking lot where I love to zoom the Z curve driveway at top speed when there is no traffic around. Then I shot across the middle of a busy freeway during a lull in traffic on Randall Road, which was once an empty passage through cornfields and now serves as the backbone for a retail zone 30 miles long from south to north. Collecting taxes requires such enterprise for all the cities along its length. It’s like a drug upon which every community depends. And is addicted to.
So I was hankering to get over the road quick and onto the back streets. So I cut across the opposite lane of Randall when no cars were approaching and hopped onto the grass leading to the movie theater parking lot. In a moment of complete lack of judgment, I surveyed the grass leading to the concrete curb rolling down toward the black asphalt and figured I could bunny hop over it to the safety of the tarmac.
Only I miscalculated the fact that there was a deep rut before the concrete curb. My front wheel jammed against that, and I was thrown completely over the handlebars landing my head and left shoulder. Thank God I wear a bike helmet. I lay there stunned for several seconds, with head throbbing, then popped up and laughed. I let loose a long and loud rendition of the F word, then climbed on the bike, straightened up the right brake hood, and rode home. Chagrined. Ooops, I did it again.
Glancing down at my left shoulder I could see a blood trace seeping through the kit. This is apparently a tradition with me and this kit. I was wearing it when I crashed and broke my collarbone. Was wearing the same kit when I ran into a tree with my head down while thinking creative things during my ride. The carnage from that crash into a fallen tree resulted in stitches on my chin and a massive bruise on my side. And a busted iPhone. That was a treat.
Now I found myself going end over end in this kit on the last day of summer. I guess that means I did not get through another summer without at least one crash.
I did learn that I am no Peter Sagan on my bike. I can handle myself well in all kinds of situations, and have conducted some pretty nifty “saves” while racing in criteriums among other riders who lose their shit and go careening into hay bales and other barriers.
But I must admit that when it comes to my annual record of summer riding, this was a crash that I probably deserved. Ooops, I did it again. Blood on the highway.
So to conclude, let’s share some Britney Spears lyrics to close out this blog after the last day of summer.
That lusty little Disney girl grew into a teenage siren and finally a full-blown (pun intended) icon who in some stages of her career has definitely looked good enough to eat. That approach has made her millions and perhaps lost a few as well. But she’s done it again and again, with a few Ooops along the way. And to quote the lyrics of a Southern band with a Britney at the lead, you gotta C’mon Britney…you got to come on girl!
To close, let’s consider these deep lyrics from the first Britney hit, Ooops, I did it again:
You see my problem is this
I’m dreaming away
Wishing that heroes, they truly exist
I cry, watching the days
Can’t you see I’m a fool in so many ways
But to lose all my senses
That is just so typically me
Oops!…I did it again