as i was leaving my building with my 21 speed mountain bike this morning, i stopped to say hello to the lady in the window, this older dominican woman that i’m friendly with. she's there all the time, cooking or chatting on the phone or babysitting or something. i was wearing this bike helmet that makes me look like a ritalin kid and i thought she was going to say something about it but instead, after exchanging social pleasantries, she looked me up and down and, with her hand propping her head up as though she were weary, she smiled a little and said, “you fat.” she said it in a real laconic matter of fact way, in this low dull voice, with this heavy accent and this wierd inflection that happens so often with people who don’t speak english as a first language. they stress all the wrong things, thus illuminating whatever they’re saying in this whole other way.
she sounded like she was telling me that i was made of blubber.
i know that black girls and dominican girls are bigger. i know she’s used to a bigger girl. but she’s known me for years. she knows what i’m supposed to look like. i know i don’t look that bad, i’m not that far off. but if the weight gain is noticeable enough to warrant a statement of the obvious from her, then i definitely need to do whatever i have to do to lose it.
talk about motivation.
we rode from my place on 137th and riverside into the park and headed to the little red lighthouse and then we found our way across the george washington bridge. the view was nothing short of spectacular. once we reached the jersey side, we veered onto river road which was harrowing and dangerous and a total freak-out roller coaster ride straight down, at first. somewhere in there i almost got hit by a bus and my friend flat out pulled us over and suggested that we go back. remembering the downhil ride and thinking of the uphill return, i adamantly refused. we forged ahead to the ferry, which let us out at 39th street on the west side for $7 (plus one buck for the bike). “what a rip-off,” my friend said, half-laughing. he was right. we should have gone down to hoboken and taken the path for $2. but in the midst of the heat and all that traffic, the bottom of the island was a million miles away.
the next thing i knew, we were on our way up the west side highway to the cafe at the 77th St. pier, where we shared a cheeseburger and fries and took in our little trip. we made it home from there in less than a half hour. and just like that, it was over. the lady in the window was right where i left her. was i still fat? well, sure. but at least i did something about it.
by my mapmyrun.com guesstimations, we only did about 15 miles. it felt like 30! if i rode my bike to work, i'd do 12 miles round-trip everyday. wow. that would be 60 miles a week. now that would burn some calories!
okay, maybe this challenge was a little too easy. sure was fun, though. how about i go for that pesky learner’s permit? it’s high time i learned how to drive.