Sunday, January 11, 2009

The last day of winter break

I spent the majority of my winter break from school being miserably sick with a head/chest cold. I did not get to execute the slurry of bad decisions that I had anticipated, yet somehow being forced to sleep as much as humanly possible for three weeks probably did me some good that I cannot even begin to imagine.

Last night came to a close this afternoon with a marathon 14 hour sleeping session that began at 10 pm on a Saturday night. Yeehaw. No time to mourn that now, as this is my last full day of freedom, so I set about to do the one thing I had been promising myself I would do all break; go for a bike ride.

I set out at about 4 pm, as the sun was beginning to pack it in for the day. My bike is in every way an example of function. It's a road bike, and it's a single speed (NOT a fixed gear), as I fancy things that have as few moving parts as possible. I had the traditional sloped down handlebars replaced with a shaved down straight bar, mostly because it is much more comfortable to ride, but also because the bike gets stored alongside my truck in a ridiculously small garage. The two inches that I gain from having these handlebars actually makes the situation much more manageable. So setting out down the street, I am instantly transported back to 12 years old where every waking moment was spent on a bike, the wind caressing every part of your exposed skin. It's a fantastic feeling, and this is the first bike that I have owned as an adult that I feel belongs to me for the sheer enjoyment of riding it (as opposed to the mountain bike, and the bmx bike that were admittedly for show).

Before I know it I am at the harbor. The sun is 20 minutes from setting, and I notice a ship with several tall masted sails directly to my right. As I look, I first see a young woman, a hippy, hanging from the bow of the ship in some sort of harness, and she appears to be banging on an iron chain with a small pick-like hammer. I am completely intrigued. I sat down and as I watched her my eyes soon wandered up and down the breadth of the ship. Everywhere I looked I found some young, hippy looking kid working on the ship. They were high up in the sails, sanding down the deck railings, working on the ropes, countless small jobs that were interlaced with rotating smoke breaks down on the docks. Who were these people? Did this happen every Sunday at the harbor?

I stood back and noticed a sandwich board sign that stated that this was the Hawaiian Chieftan, a replica of a 18th century ship that was built in the 1980's. Then I saw that the ship had just come into port from Aberdeen Washington, which explained why everyone was a hippy. I sat back down and tried to imagine my life were I to undergo such an adventure. Alan Sparhawk sings into my ear "Well I could'a been a sailor, but I lost my brother to the sea". I smile and try to think of all the fucking that must go on with this mixed crew late at sea.

I begin to head back, eager to come back the following day with my Holga and take some pictures. The ship sets sail again the day after tomorrow. I wonder, can I engage the crew and go out for drinks with them in such a short amount of time?

There were several reasons that I spent so much in my apartment over the break, and I have let go of feeling guilty about any of them. What I do know is that things like this, being involved in things outside of my own experience, like volunteering on a sailing ship is what has been missing from my life since the move to the new place, and it's time that I got back on track with expanding myself beyond myself.


GenghisKhan said...

Just came across your blog. Sucks to be sick--especially during the holidays. Though, it sounds like your ride brought a bit of redemption to the bout of illness. My road bike is all geared up, but I have an SS MTB and know why you like the simplicity!

Good luck with school and peace!
Ride One or Ride None!

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