It started in January, really, on the night of the second huge blizzard in the city; or maybe it was the next morning—I don’t know because I wasn’t there. When I came outside at around 8 a.m. to check on my car, I found the bumper pulled away, and the driver-side fender crushed in. Because of the tracks in the snow, it was clear what had happened: a snowplow had sailed past and dragged along the car, taking bits and pieces with it. They didn’t leave a note.

Anyway, my mind was frozen and in bits in January too, and so I wasn’t capable of dealing. I drove the car—my beautiful car—to my mechanic on Ludlow Street, and he bolted the bumper back on for free, and I’ve been driving like a hillbilly ever since. Finally, though, I crawled my way through the insurance process, and made an appointment to drop the car off today, at a body shop out on the North Fork.

This is complicated. The insurance company is paying for the repair, which will take several days, but I don’t have much money, and the rent is due, and so can’t afford hundreds of dollars on a rental car. I do have a bike, though, and a bike rack, too, and so I included in my plan a ten-mile bike trip from the body shop to home, where I’d already laid in a few days worth of food. I am not a biker. I am a person who the cute Latino counter guy at B & H Dairy called “Mommy” yesterday, as opposed to “Senorita,” which is what he called the skinny blonde with swoshy bangs.

Anyway, the point is, that on my way out of the city in the rain, my bike on the back of my poor car, the traffic lady by the midtown tunnel was doing a dance. She was grooving, swingin’ her hips, shaking her shoulders, bopping her head, and adding in a little groovey wave when she wanted someone to move. I mean, rhonestly—that pretty much made up for the fucking snow-plow motherfucker and the retreat-like preparations just to drop off a car for repair.

The point is, too, that I got to the shop and the guy (they all are craggy and nice on the surface, with mustaches, out here) was like, “You can’t ride to East Marion from here.” He said, “I work out three times a week, and I couldn’t.” I said, “It’s an experiment,” and I’m sure he knew that that meant, “I’m broke.” He shook his head from side to side. (He didn’t have rhythm like she did.) He said, “The poor girl’s legs.”

Now here’s the thing—turns out it wasn’t my legs that he should have been worrying about. My front bumper is now damaged. But that’s OK. I made the journey, and that’s good.

Here’s what I thought while I was pedaling by the Sound in the rain: That it’s not that complicated. If you’re capable of big love, and you find someone really lovely and fun who’s able to accept it, and likes it, and actually wants to return it, you’re good. It doesn’t have to be a fucking replay of childhood trauma: enough of that. You see the good in yourself and in others, you empathize with people as much as you can, you be kind no matter what (that’s what you want from other people), you try to remember to add a dance to whatever you do, you find the part of you that knows how to love, and you do it. You get on it, and you ride.


5 thoughts on “Journey”

  1. it’s not “mommy” it’s “mami” which is like, sexy or baby or like that. 🙂 my advice is not to call the boy “papi” in response

  2. But wait—and don’t you think that when he was calling me “mami,” it was like when young Latin guys start flirting with little bent-over fluffy-purple haired ladies with walkers?

  3. When I lived in Boerum Hill my room was next to an airshaft that sometimes carried the sound of a Spanish-speaking couple doing it. “ai mami” and “ai papi” was always their call and response.

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