Yesterday I was loading staggeringly full panniers back on the bike at the bike rack outside our local grocery store. Which in these parts is Safeway – and not New Seasons or Trader Joe’s – nor, on the other hand, Winco or Costco. All of which I could shop at – if I wanted to drive into the City and its outgrowths.
Life is all about choices.
If I want to bike my day as much as possible, the only way is Safeway. At least they have a sturdy bike rack. Where there is always room to park my bike. Which is convenient if not the happiest indicator of widespread life-cycling.
A little girl was sitting in her cart while her mother recycled cans and bottles. She turned with interest to see what I was up to, “Where are you biking to?”
“I’m biking home.”
“And are you packing your food for the ride there?” she says very wisely.
I wonder for the briefest moment how far away my home would have to be before I could consume a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, quarts of V8 and fresh apple juice, two 3-lb bags of Granny Smiths and one of oranges and one of onions, a clutch of garlic, pancetta, a bag of lemons, two boxes of spaghetti, two boxes of broth, a jug of maple syrup, 3 clamshells of greens (spring greens, herb salad, fresh basil) and one of fresh pineapple spears, a bag of flour, a box of baking soda, a bag of sugar, several kinds of nuts and dried fruit for baked apple experimentation, plus a cabbage and a green pepper?
“No, I’m taking my groceries home so I can cook dinner for my family.”
“Do you have children?” she says this with glee! we have something in common! I know someone who has children, too!
“I do. I have three children.”
“Huh. But you only showed two fingers.”
Who argues with pre-schoolers? “Did I? Then I should have shown them like this,” and I display the same three fingers but turn my hand for a wider angle.
She nods approval. And waves, “Good bye!” as I swing my leg over and ride, a little wobblingly, away. My panniers of goods – I did a quick add-up later and arrived at 48.6 pounds – had been loaded unevenly. It was I who had loaded them and I who didn’t much feel like repacking them now.
It took a block or two to adjust my angle to compensate.
But the day was gorgeous. Sunny and cool enough that I’d been glad for the wool jacket earlier though warm enough that I was just as glad to shed it now tucking it in my basket over the greens to keep them out of the sun and a little insulated.
The sharp sweetness of blossoms, the coumarin of freshly cut grass as my fellow Oregonians hustled to make hay while the sun shines. And chilled spears of fresh pineapple? after the first hill and after the second and shared at last with my son at the corner as he stepped down off his bus for the last and longest hill home?
One of the delights that had been waiting for me all my life just for this particular moment.