As she sat at her dressing table in a beautiful silk slip making her preparations, I’m told I stood by the bedroom door in a staunch state of denial intoning with each consecutive step – powder, mascara, lipstick and finally full attire - “Mummy’s not going anywhere, Mummy’s not going anywhere.”
My denial could only hold off the truth for so long of course. Eventually, with all preparations made (and smelling divine), she would rise, kiss me good bye and waft out the door. Whereupon the howling would begin. I learned about denial – and abandonment – early on it seems.
It made me a perfect sucker for cycling.
Picture this: you meet in the Spring through friends. The relationship starts out auspiciously enough with outings around the city. As the season wears on, you become more and more enamored – this could be it. You take the occasional trip out of town, but over time you begin to hear rumors of past behavior. It seems cycling is a bit of a fair-weather friend. To your dismay, you discover the rumors are true: by Winter, it has disappeared entirely.
You can chase after it if you want (and we all know people who do this), taking on full responsibility for both sides of the relationship with heroic acts of your own.
But watch out. If you choose this route, there are risks and sometimes injuries (I’m discovering), which take weeks – even months – to recover from (and these can happen even when the weather’s good).
When these happen, do you:
1. Lie to your friends to cover up, taking the blame upon yourself (I shouldn’t have gone out that day, I knew better)?
Or worse yet, believe that old chestnut:
2. It Won’t Ever Happen Again (I’m sorry)?
If you live in the Northern US and answered yes to either of these questions, it’s time to drop the denial: you’re in a relationship with a serial abandoner.
You can keep up the illusion with affairs out of town, riding in warmer weather for a couple of weeks, but when you get back, it’s the same old thing. And like all abusive relationships, there’s invariably the one reason to keep you hooked:
Spring is coming.
It’s just weeks away. Are you really going to walk away from joy like this, even when you know it can only lead to heartbreak down the line? It’s like being involved with a married man. He’s never going to leave his wife, and he’s always going to spend all the holidays with her. Deal with it.
It could be worse. If you’re in New York, the riding season is relatively long. What if you lived in Minneapolis? The heartbreak is geometrically harder: hundreds of miles of bike trails – and only 3 months to ride. Talk about unavailable!
Cyclists in southern climes have a far better time of it, it’s true. But it’s such a long commute to Broadway theatre.
It’s kind of like that old story Woody Allen tells about the man who complains to his shrink that his wife is acting like a chicken, but he stays with her because he needs the eggs.
To ride in the Northern US is to know the heartbreak of Winter. So we bargain. Maybe we’ll have an early Spring. Maybe next Winter will be shorter. Maybe next year will be different. In the meantime, Spring is on its way and look - the light is already better. There’s bound to be a thaw sooner or later for a couple of days.
Maybe we can stick it out for one more season…