Two kids were shot today while they were riding in a car with their mother. A 10-year old boy and an 11-year old girl, probably sitting in the back seat arguing about whether the window should be down or up got popped while their mom was driving along a city street. They didn’t die though, so, well, ho hum. Well, not for everyone. A local, very well respected reporter who yesterday covered the funeral of the 10-year old girl who was shot on the playground in May and died just a few weeks ago posted “Fuck! Two more kids shot.” on Facebook and it was alarming, a jolt to see a reporter be visibly upset but probably only a jolt to those of us already upset.
Yesterday, there was a running gun battle on one of Milwaukee’s freeways, a regular shoot ’em up in the middle of mid-day traffic. This happened at noon, my friends, on a freeway going through the nice, peaceful north shore suburbs, a route I might take to go to the upscale Target or to the JCC’s outdoor water park. I could have been in the middle lane while the Earps and the Clantons had their little shoot-out in Milwaukee’s latter day version of the O.K. Corral.
So the alarming “Fuck. Two more kids shot.” post popped up while I was taking one of my many breaks from staring at outcome data for our local drug treatment court to check Facebook where I was engaged in my own running battle with a local journalist about his sexist characterization of a female candidate for the state assembly. There is the most immeasurable futility attached to trying to get a sexist person to see how his use of language is sexist because, of course, to him it’s perfectly gender neutral. It’s like white people who ‘don’t see color.’ Anyway, feeling myself, after comment #4 or 5, edging ever closer to my most treasured epithet, “LIKE I GIVE A FLYING FUCK” which I would have written in capital letters just like the middle school girl who lives across the street, I decided it was time to go for a bike ride.
I love my bike.
My friend came over soon after I got my bike a few months ago, took one look at it and said, “You bought a pink bike?” Well, it’s not really pink, it’s silver with a lot of pink on it and maybe a couple of things that look like the hated pink ribbon symbol. I like pink things. I have a pink Packer hat. When I wear pink, I feel like I’m wearing the team colors, you know? I’m good with having what could be accused of being a femmy bike. I don’t need to have lightening bolts on every fucking thing, you know?
Anyway, so I went a long way on my bike (for me). Ten miles. A lot of it was with a very strong head wind that, at times, had me peddling so slow that I thought the bike might tip over. My route was right along Lake Michigan and it was one very windy day with a lot of waves but sunny with a perfectly blue sky, a glad to be alive day even on my pink bike that all the other feminists stopped to point and laugh at.
At the end of the ride, there is a very long hill. I stopped ahead of time to rest and check Facebook, still itching for the last, really big retort, and then told myself that there was nothing wrong with walking my bike up the hill. It could be considered a cool-down kind of thing and since I’m trying to be more athletic, it seemed the wise and appropriate thing to do. I decided to ride for just a bit and fell in behind a woman running and I thought, okay, I’ll just do my .05 mile per hour peddling here with this wind and the hill and see how it goes. “Don’t look up,” I told myself. This is a trick I learned doing long distance walks. Big hill, lots of stairs? Just keep looking down. Like a mule. Just be a mule.
Then the runner stopped running and started walking and it occurred to me that it was the perfect time to start walking my bike since by then I was halfway up the hill and walking the rest of the way would be respectable, especially for someone my age. But I found my inner flying fuck and passed her. And I peddled along, making imperceptible progress up the hill, looking at the pavement and hoping big dogs and fat women weren’t headed my way and when I got to where the pavement was flat, no more incline, I stopped.
Four very good looking older guys, guys you might find on match.com who want to date women twenty years younger, came riding toward me headed down the hill, all of them with big smiles at me, in recognition, I guess, of my having made it up the hill. I gave them a thumbs up and pedaled home, smiling all the way to my driveway, smiling at the boy on the skateboard and the drywaller pulling away from the neighbor’s house, sitting back down at my desk, and smiling at the drug court’s outcome data as if I was so, so glad to see it again.
That’s all. That’s it. Just a Wednesday.
#46/100:46th in a series of 100 in 100