Thursday, January 10, 2013

Island Time

I've been known to take photos of my feet and post to Facebook or email friends with the caption: Current World View.  Most times it's my bare feet resting in my hammock...but today, it was my feet hanging over the seawall ! Yep, I didn't plan too well in the shoe department...but I'm getting ahead of my story...

We've had more than several days of nasty weather here on the Texas gulf coast...yesterday my yard had standing water and we were under a flash flood watch...during the night we had more rain and I heard on the radio this morning that there were several houses struck by lightening up into Houston..yep, like I said, it hasn't been too fun around here. And this gal who needs sunshine to function was starting out pretty low this morning.

I tried to exercise,  got my dancing shoes on and jumped around to the zumba "Good Morning" song - like I said, I've got two left feet when it comes to dancing, but I was laughing and doing my best to wake up. It was short lived. I decided that sweeping and mopping could be considered exercise so I turned off the videos and went to work in the house...had it really been since preparing for guests at Thanksgiving since I'd mopped? Sigh.  I'm too transparent for my own good...yes, it's been that long.

About then the sun broke through and I had this crazy idea to head to the island. Galveston Island that is. Where no matter the weather I'm guaranteed a pick me up! Just the thoughts of the Island and the special secrets it holds makes wish that were my reality each and every day. I could really get used to that!

I parked on the seawall and started walking, petting a few pups as they and their owners passed me by. Not too crowded this time of year, that's the way I like it - sorta private. I really like to walk on the sand, but I wasn't thinking and had on my heeled boots. It was a tad too cool to take them off and walk barefoot - I do that a lot...

I found a spot where I could walk down to the water without getting in the sand...I was on the island, full of wonderful thoughts and so glad I'd decided to play hookie...I'm smiling even now...

After a little reflecting I decided to stop in the Island Bike shop across the street...I've been doing a little online research and contemplating the idea of owning a bike. I haven't owned a bike since high school - remember when 10 speeds first came out? Yep, I've just dated myself. The only bike riding I've done in 30+ years was a stationary one at the gym and I found that terribly frustrating. I like to see go places. I'm not one to be stationary! 

So I find myself walking into a bike shop that not only rents bikes and surreys but sells and services them.  I had lots of questions....and then he asked if I wanted to take a test drive around the block. He didn't have a girl's bike in the style he suggested for me, but I was welcomed to try out the boy's bike...I said no, because I had on heeled boots.  I left with catalogs and brochures to walk the few blocks back to my car parked down the seawall - and changed my mind. Fickle female, I decided that I indeed wanted to take a spin - so I drove over there and did just that!

The owner rolled the bike out the front door for me, and told me to take my time, go around the block at least and experience the incline coming back to see if I really wanted a single gear bike instead of a 3 or 7 speed. (I don't like hand brakes, they scare me - and I don't like to "lean over" like I did on that old 10 speed). I couldn't believe that he was letting me just ride off like that - but then again, he was holding my car keys with my purse locked inside (grin).

I'm really a shy person in some regards. I'm not real confident in a lot of things, so I do best when no one is watching me. How thankful I was that no one else was in the parking lot and he went back indoors. I would have hated if he'd hovered, that would have made me feel old and incapable - something I didn't want to be apparent!   I have to admit it was a stretch to get my leg over that "boy bar" - obviously all my 4 days of exercise hasn't limbered me up quite that much.  Okay. I'm on. The seat was the right height, it took just a moment to find the pedals and get my balance. What's the old saying about riding a bike? that it comes back to you? Well, it wasn't instant I can tell you, but I wasn't afraid - strange, but for once I really wasn't overly concerned if I'd mess up and make a fool of myself. Maybe it was the fact that no one was watching.  I'd peddled about two turns when I figured I'd best test out the brake to make sure I knew how to use it!

I was a tad wobbly as I rounded the parking lot heading to the sidewalk on my right. By the end of the corner I had my balance and turned right towards town. It was then that I realized I was going to have to get off the sidewalk and enter the street because the sidewalk was quickly ending. Oh good! There's two driveways coming up, all I have to do is do a slight turn left and I'm on the road! Have to admit that thought scared me a bit and it was the second driveway before I got the nerve up to slow down and maneuver like that. Thoughts of finding out just how hard that concrete would be if I fell flashed momentarily as I hit a broken area in the road and tested out the shocks on that seat. But I made it and suddenly, at the time I least expected it - I felt alive! I was actually riding a bike - and no training wheels!

The first block came up suddenly. I wasn't ready for this to be over yet. He said "take your time" didn't he? Surely I could go another block before turning around....

I was sitting tall, I felt the wind in my hair, I felt confident. I felt freedom - dare I say, I felt young! This was exhilarating - especially combined with my earlier experiences of enjoying island time. 

I was going to turn on the third block, really I was, but it was a one way street going the wrong I went four blocks away from the seawall bike shop. Oh! and one of them had a four way stop and I managed that without any hick-ups. I was really liking this experience!

Turn right, go several more blocks before the cross street that lead back to the seawall...hum..didn't realize living in this "flatland" that we actually have some inclines. Yep, had to put the old legs to work...but then again, I'm wanting this for exercise right?  By the time I got back to the parking lot my busy little brain is trying to figure out how I can budget for this...Entering the parking lot I notice someone else with their bike - looks like they were airing up a tire or something, they didn't even glance my way...much to my relief!!!

Stopping wasn't pretty. Well, it wasn't so much the stopping as it was the dis-mounting.  I'd forgotten I was on a boy's bike and my leg got hung up trying to swing off. Next thing I knew my knees were to the ground with the bike on top of me! Much to my relief NO ONE saw me or came to my rescue! Saved from public humiliation! Of course I laughed and picked myself up, rolled the bike inside and confessed to the owner that  the conclusion of my test drive was less than graceful!

I thanked him and said that I hoped to be back on the weekend if the weather was nice to rent a bike and ride for an hour or so on the seawall...I do hope the weather holds!

I'm in love. I know it's silly. But today made me feel alive. The sunshine, the laughter, the wind in my uninhibited as I could be at the time...I truly enjoyed my island time today. More memory building! I'd like to play hookie more often!

Now if I can just figure out how to make that bike mine - don't imagine me in a 70's halter top and hot pants, but I bet I can have just as much fun!  Dreams....somewhere in time. Island time.


Susie Q said...

We have a bike library in Old Town where you can borrow books.Reminds me that I need to make a reservation in July when a friend comes to spend a week or so. We have bikes but live on a frontage road with no real trails way out here...need to get a thingie for the car, pick up Victoria's bike from a friend's basement & get going again this spring. Biking on the seawall always looked like such fun. My biggest problem is the bikes

Karen E. Overton said...

I'm hopeful that one day soon I will be able to ride around the neighborhood as well as load up and ride on the seawall....but for now I'll be renting!

Kat said...

I was down on Galveston at the beginning of December. It's lovely this time of year with the cool ocean breeze. If I lived close enough to go regularly I'd certainly be tempted to buy a bike and ride all over the island, too! Good luck with that!

MoosesandMeeces said...

Too funny! We have a bike shop that sounds like yours, and I always want to go in and try out a bike but have been too afraid! You & I must be the same age. I know if I go try out a bike that all those people who weren't watching you, will show up to watch me! Great post - thanks!