Yes, I do believe the first frost has arrived. On a positive note, frost is a good thing. It signals the end of the growing season and freezes all of the sneezy things that make our allergies itch in the fall. On a negative note, it also signals the beginning of the end.
The end of daylight, the end of fall, the end of outdoor bike rides, the end of heading outdoors without a coat/gloves/hat/scarf.
Winter is on its way.
The other day the temperatures creeped above 50 degrees and I knew I had to get out and ride. The alternative was 2 hours in my basement. I also knew this might be my last chance to ride outside before my final races. I actually headed outside with my time trial bike. Flying over 20 mph through a bright yellow sugar maple grove. I knew rides like this would be few and far between. Life in darkness and cold for up to 5 months is about to begin.
But wait – by some rare, cosmically wrong but very much right mistake the forecast calls for a high of 69 degrees on Friday. 69 degrees! That means yet another ride outside! I am so excited. I don’t think I have ever ridden my TT bike outside this late in the year. It’s another new personal record. I love setting personal records!
Last night Chris told me soon enough we would be in San Diego. I had a major snap freak out. I spouted off anti-San-Diego rhetoric citing that we must end this escapism life we lead in winter. If we want to be somewhere warm we should just live somewhere warm and stop escaping away. What is the point of living somewhere if you always want to get away?
But this is where my job is, he said.
I HATE THAT ANSWER!
But he is right. We cannot live on love and bicycles while picking money off of the magical money tree. Or maybe we can. In that case, I’m willing to try. Who has the seeds to this tree? WHO? Exxon? Just kidding. There will be no politics here. Back to me. Until then we will continue to escape. At least that is what he said. And he will continue with or without me he says – he will board that plane to San Diego whether or not I am going along!
I have to be honest - it’s too hard to keep going away. Every time I travel somewhere warm and beautiful I want to stay. I tell him that my reentry back into this prison cell we call home in Illinois is just too hard. Don’t get me wrong – there are many beautiful things about Illinois. But living for 5 months of the year in darkness and cold is not right. It is not fun, it wears at you, it puts you on edge. You grow fat in both body and mind because of the bleak hopelessness of the season. Snow is beautiful for about 20 minutes. Then a car drives through it and turns it to black slush.
Winter is season of black slush.
No place is perfect. And no matter where you go your problems will travel with you. You cannot uproot yourself from your life. But sometimes I think it would be worth a try. What brought all of this out? Well, we were at Whole Foods the other night. The new mega big monster Whole Foods. We were like children walking through a decorated mall on way to see Santa. Our eyes grew big, our mouth opened wide. We walked towards the light…
the fresh fruit
Here’s what strikes me as bizarre – people in this world are willing to pay extra money for someone to cut their fruit and put it into a plastic container. What I’m saying is that someone will take the blueberries out of their plastic carton, maybe wash them for you and put them back into a different plastic carton next to a bunch of cut up pineapple and call it $6.61.
FOR FRESH FRUIT!
We wonder why the world is fat? Why spend $6.61 on fresh fruit when I just heard McDonald’s put a Double Cheeseburger with one slice less of cheese on their dollar menu? And for the record - I have serious concerns about paying someone to touch my fruit. Their hands, my fruit. NEVER! No matter how desperate I was.
Anyways, I was salivating like an unleashed Pavlovian dog at the sight of fresh pineapple. And it made me yearn for Hawaii. Or any warm island. Anywhere I could actually buy a pineapple for less than $6.61 and cut it on my own. Or papayas. Or mangoes, avocadoes, passionfruit.
Yes I know that bread on Hawaii is about $6.61 but I eat a lot more fruit than bread, folks.
I want to go back to Hawaii, I said.
The cure for that? Buy pre-sliced, plastic packaged pineapple. Eating it made me kind of sad but on a separate note the pineapple was worth every overpriced organic cent.
The next night we were eating dinner. We do a lot of eating as you can tell. I was getting something off the stove and put on oven mitts. What fun are these? I decided to pull out a little puppetry role playing from my psychology degree.
Chris played along.
On my right hand is Liz. On my left hand is Chris. Your turn, Chris – what does Liz say:
(I started moving my thumb up and down in the oven mitt to make it talk, Chris who I am convinced spent childhood without pretend play finally gets what I’m getting at and provides the voiceover for the oven mitt)
“My name is Liz and I don’t like living in Illinois.”
And Chris the oven mitt says “Well, neither do I but there is where my job is and I loooooooooove my job.”
(I was using my best puppet voice)
Liz the oven mitt chimes in – this time, no prompting for Chris:
“My name is Liz and I think people don't need jobs, they can just live off of love and pick from the magical money tree that grows in San Diego.”
*for the record I do think people need jobs but it helps if they are highly portable like my coaching business & furthermore please do not get the idea that Chris' job is the only job in this house that supports an expensive fresh fruit habit*
(mitts came off)
So the role playing didn’t go so well. I thought we could talk it out like grown adults while pretending we were oven mitts. I thought wrong but I think I may have just played with Chris in his first puppet show. That only took 35 years to get to.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than…to winter. Winter will soon be here. Maybe I should buy myself a giant sun lamp and sit under it with my small dog everyday staring at a picture of a warmer place. I’m also considering making myself very small to fit under the ottoman with Boss. Every morning when the heat kicks on I find him under there (there is a heat vent by the ottoman). I figure if I live on a diet of nothing but fresh fruit I will be very small in about a month.
I will also be very broke.
Until then I suppose I should book my ticket(s) to San Diego. Spend a weekend playing in the sun. But I have a feeling if I did ever move someone warm and sunny all of the time I would miss the cold. The change of the seasons, the colors of fall.
But I think I know the cure if I did – sit by a freezer and surround myself by construction barracades holding a STOP/SLOW sign that I turn over and over again, mumbling things to myself like "you should ride that bicycle on the sidewalk" like a real...flake.
Yes, I would be right at home then. For the next 5 months.
I love winter.