We took bicycle for two to Los Olivos to go wine tasting. We’ve lived in Southern California over two years now and it just seemed like something we ought to do. Access to the two-seater bike was pure luck—a co-worker’s of Moses had bought it to take people with him to lunch while he was at school at UCLA.
Tandem bikes seem so romantic. But in reality, I found it nearly impossible to sit behind Moses, seeing nothing, pedaling quickly to keep up his speed. While I’ve never doubted his abilities as a biker, every reflex I had fought me to panic, to take control, to not trust the blind spot of his back and shoulders before me.
It made me remember learning to ride a bike the first time. The casual bluntness of the adult teaching you. ”You’ll fall,” they would say, “but then you’ll get back up.” I didn’t know who they thought they were dealing with, but I was pretty sure one fall would be enough to last me until I was too old to care about riding a bike. In third grade the same thing happened with cursing writing. ”You’ll learn,” my teacher told me, but I knew she was wrong. But that was fine. I’d just write in print forever. My signature didn’t have to look like my mothers. Print was fine. And going to France was like that, too. I cried in frustration during a four hour class period once, and my perfectly French teacher, who never broke into anything but French, no matter what—eventually walked over to me, grabbed my face and said, “don’t worry about it,” to me and patted my back. ”Eventually you’ll get it.”
Now people say the same thing about child birth. ”Oh, you get through it,” when I know I’ll probably just split in two. I never didn’t think I would be able to run the LA Marathon. It might hurt, and I might go slowly and I might never do it again, but certainly I COULD. But I was POSITIVE I would never get the uppercase cursive J or be able to write an essay in French. I wish, with these things, mastering them was setting my mind to it and pushing on. Instead it’s the blind knowledge I will never get it, but keeping with it to prove the person telling me I’ll be “fine” that they’re wrong—I’ll be the first to fail, to never pick it up, to write like a child forever.