I’m a waver. I think that I have written about this fact before, but I am too lazy to do a search on my own website to find out, and most of you, like me, have poor retention skills, so I will mention it again. When I am on my bike and I see someone else on a bike approaching from the opposite direction, I acknowledge that they exist. I may only list a finger or nod slightly, but I greet every other cyclist in some manner when passing. And most of the people I pass wave back.
This impulse started with me as a lad in Iowa. Iowa is a waving state. When taking our summer vacations on my uncle’s hog farm (we knew how to live it up) my brothers and I were struck by how much waving was involved. Everyone in a car that passed one another on the gravel roads waved at one another. It was usually just a raised finger on the steering wheel, but every local, without exception, did it. This may have just been a clever rural folk ruse to suss out outsiders to capture and feed to their hogs (hogs will eat anything, even Dubuquers), but I don’t think that was the case. The locals waved to everyone, and the amazing fact was that the waving was infectious. After just a few passing salutations, most drivers got with the program and started waving back. We could tell when we were getting close to my aunt and uncle’s house because the waving would begin to increase in direct proportion to the distance from the exit off the interstate. And by the time we reached their doorstep, we had been warmly waved in by every car we had passed.
Of course, when we returned home to the mean streets of Dubuque, all of the waving stopped, but there was a notable exception. Dubuque is a Mississippi river town, and my family have been boaters since well before I showed up. And the rule of the river is to wave at everyone that passes in another boat. It’s a pleasant sort of way to mutually acknowledge that, "Hey, we’re both in boats, how great is this? Wave back dummy." My family routinely returns to Iowa (although I have yet to talk my wife into a hog farming vacation) and I am always pleasantly surprised to discover that even in this jaded day and age, the boat wave still endures.
I try to keep this joy of a shared experience alive when I am on my bike in the New York metropolitan area, and for the most part, when I wave, people wave back. It’s my little way of saying, "Hey, we’re out on bikes, the weather is mostly tolerable, and it certainly beats hog farming, not bad, huh?"
And if someone doesn’t wave back, I let my relatives know that they can be fed to the hogs.
November 14, 2012
Today was my birthday. At my age, you only really celebrate your birthday every ten years, because putting in the effort to celebrate EVERY year gets really tiresome. My daughters are still at the age where birthdays are momentous occasions, so we need to at least have a cake and candles for my birthday, as not having confections on one’s birthday is simply unthinkable. So we lit them up and blew them out.
For my birthday, I decided to take a ride and climb the "Monster of Northern Bergen County", Skyline Drive. I have decreed that since I am now 44, that this shall be the Year of the Magnum, and what better way to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Magnum, than to ascend the mightiest local peak available within a reasonable distance. I rode, I climbed and I conquered the MONBC. I later celebrated with tacos. The Magnum has spoken.
Roman’s Beer Corner
Roman is a friend of mine, and to say that he enjoys beer is an understatement along the lines of saying that Donald Trumps enjoys bloviating on camera. Roman really likes beer. He travels great distances to acquire it, he savors it, he shares it, he even ages for it crying out loud (people do that?). So when he recommends a beer, I usually try it—except for any IPA recommendations—as IPA is the vile weedy work of the devil.
As of late, due to the fact that beer treats my stomach like Chris Christie treats foodstuffs, I have taken to buying those fancy tall beers with an alcohol content of "kerosine", planning to make up in quality what I lack in quantity. Roman has been very helpful in his recommendations of large bottled intoxicants, so I will now share with you the wisdom of the Roman.
This week’s Roman recommendation is Lagunitas Brown Shugga, with an alcohol content of 9.9%, because memory is vastly overrated.