Keeping the balance

Commentary

Photo by poca-traça

I’d like to say that as I ride my bicycle past manic drivers and clouds of CO2 everything blurs as I become one with my vehicle. In reality the only thing that keeps me focused is my inner mantra: Keep your balance, don’t topple over. A quick pause is enough to start me thinking of the small tyre width, the slight swerve that might send me flying into the windscreen of the speeding car jetting down the other lane. No, the fears of the modern cyclist cannot easily be assuaged — they keep the adrenaline at an all-time high.

I only recently bought a bicycle and it’s true that you never forget how to ride one even if it’s been decades since you’ve been on an uncomfortable saddle. As I started cycling again I realized that I am invisible! Owning a bike has its burdens and this is perhaps its heaviest one. Yes, I can cycle close to the curb but sometimes it seems I might as well be riding on it. I could, but pedestrians have an even bigger problem recognizing that cyclists have their own pavement rights too. Cycling lanes? A luxury for Cyprus that is simply non-existent. Why create a new lane when we’re only just starting to fix up our roads? It feels like cycling through a mine field avoiding those crater-like potholes.

I know the solution is simple; I can protect my brain and other body partsby wearing protective gear. This has its advantages. For starters, I know I look like the biggest dork on the planet and immediately think that there’s no way anyone could avoid spotting this knight in plastic armor on the road. It’s my saving grace — I look like such an idiot, it’s began to feel reassuring.

Riding the streets of Larnaca is a dangerous enough feat as it is, and add to that my natural gift of clumsiness and you have a recipe for a potentially serious disaster. But I combat this with carefully planned routes; I consider the quieter streets, I wear my brightest clothes and as a car brushes by I hold my breath for good luck and good measure. As I cycle vehemently through streets with no name to meet friends for coffee I know that by the time I arrive I’ll be sticky with sweat and my knee might be scraped, if not bleeding. I know I’ll lock my bike against a tree I can see while I’m sitting, and then make my bruised way towards the table waiting for my disheveled company impatiently.

It’s always nice to make an entrance, at least.

The WRITE picture

The WRITE picture

The idea is simple: One picture, approximately 1000 words telling its story. Or at least the story in my head. Get inspired by clicking on the photo and discovering more through the photographer’s lens.

Photo by Zitaaa

Harry knew he’d be late. He knew it the moment he got up at 6.53, a fat 12 minutes later than his usual time. As he waited over the toaster, armed with bread knife and butter, he pondered over what to wear. He was a black-and-white type of man, but today was a different occasion. The day called for a tone of grey.

On his way out the door, he checked himself in the mirror. There was a moment of deliberation as he stared blankly, confused. He produced a practiced smile, the corners of his lips extending sideways, his tired lips reduced to faint lines.

Who am I kidding? he mumbled. But there was no time to change into his comfortable persona before he walked out the door. He was already 12 minutes behind his usual schedule. Keys in hand, he walked out the door and into his black Fiat Punto. He made a mental note to get it washed before his date later in the evening as he brushed his arm against the door accidentally. Good thing I’m wearing grey, he thought as he geared the car into the lane and the uncertain threat of oncoming traffic.

Harry enjoyed taking shortcuts on normal occasions, but today felt like a day for the main streets. The result of this decision nearly had disastrous effects because without realizing, his heart started racing. And then, like diamonds, the first drops of sweat started forming on his crown. It was only a matter of minutes before the wet stickiness spread like a tsunami across his entire body. Afraid that he would arrive to work smelling like leftovers from last night, he rolled down his window and took in a deep breath of carbon dioxide.

Of course everything’s bloody wrong today, he complained childishly. He loosened his tie and switched to the lane with moving cars. In a matter of seconds, however, everyone was immobilized.

He glanced in the rearview mirror and for the second time that day, looked at himself. His eyes were angry, yet helpless. They asked, Who do you think you are, you sorry sod? And Harry knew the meaning of that glare; he had asked himself that question a little less than a week ago as he took a pen out of his briefcase to circle something in the newspaper. It was Sunday morning and quite unlike him, he took his coffee in bed and read the newspaper under the covers, though fully dressed. Harry had suddenly felt overwhelmed by a feeling of idleness and had done nothing to fight it. It was with considerable effort that he rose later, already decided upon finding a writing utensil. By that time, he had lost complete control of his self-composure so that the Harry circling the Sunday personal ad with ferocious resolve in no way resembled the diminutive sweaty man trapped in a caterpillar of cars this morning.

Normally, Harry would have looked over his shoulder as soon as he even turned to that disgraceful page in the paper. He thought it embarrassing for a man his age to even read a word of that laconic nonsense of people coding loneliness. But he heard what his colleagues said behind his back.

He’s got no life.

Who would want to even sleep with that uptight son of a bitch?

I bet you he’s forgot what his dick is for.

He often paid no mind to such petty talk. But below his austere black suit lay a flaccid sexual organ, nothing obscene, really. And it was not often that he felt that there was a void in his life he could not fill with post-its of to-do lists and early nights in. But on Sunday, he felt like a barren field stretching out for acres and acres and in that feeling of misery, he mustered the courage to call the number on the ad he liked the most:  woman, 39, looks for adventure. Loves color and looks to balance her life’s vibrancy.

The conversation didn’t last more than 5 minutes. A courteous introduction and then a question that may have been impossible to utter, given different circumstances: Want to go out to dinner on Wednesday? And then Harry heard a yes thunder down the line and as he hang up the phone he got up, made the bed and threw up.

By the time the cars in front of him started moving, Harry was feeling dizzy. In a moment of panic and impulse he swerved into the next right without indicating and accelerated the car as he went down the narrow side road. Once he realized he was no longer close to the main street he slowed down and gradually came to a halt. He looked around and tried to figure out his geographical location. He got out of the car and stared into the open. His eyes focused on a bouquet of color that had mushroomed on the side of the road. Harry watched the yellow flowers dance in the breeze and thought, Flowers. I must remember to take her colorful flowers.

He fixed his tie, got in the car and drove off.

Math Monday

math monday

math monday

The numbers came flowing in this week, mostly in the negative. I rummaged through my adolescent physics binder and came across this familiar formula:

disappointment + lack of motivation = major deflation

Any angst-ridden teenager is familiar with this bleak aspect of things, but let me tell you, at 25+1 major deflation sets in quite comfortably. But I’m going ahead of myself. It’s Monday so let’s get down to the Math, shall we?

  • 137 is the number of photos I took this week.
  • 12 (or thereabouts) is the number of photos that ended up being good (Sam, you’re not the only one!)
  • 1 pair of new sandals this week! I simply fell in love. Don’t you just love them?
  • There is a catch (or not a good catch, you could say)

    There is a catch (or not a good catch, you could say)

  • 0.5 pair is OK. The clasp on the one sandal doesn’t work properly and the shop refuses to change the shoes or the faulty clasp. Aaaarrrgghhh!
  • 2 new books in the mail, both on nutrition. I am trying to take on a new eating lifestyle based on the food-combining diet. It makes sense and so far my stomach has calmed down. I’m a sensitive one.
  • 15 days until Berlin and Paris! Woohoo!
Straight out of Beverly Hills, it seems

Straight out of Beverly Hills, it seems

  • 6 days until our friend George comes to visit from Cyprus. We only found out today, as this was a surprise we were meant to find out through snail mail. That card was never sent, so thank you MSN.
  • 3 is the number of eggs I used in an attempt to make Eggs Benedict. Two worked out fine, but from the first one I only had the egg yolk left, which looked like babybel cheese by the time I was done. Great.
  • Our brunch yesterday: toast, tomato, avocado and one of the successful poached eggs!

    Our brunch yesterday: toast, tomato, avocado and one of the successful poached eggs!

  • 387.26 is how many Euros it would cost for me to be with my Mom and sister, who are having a wonderful reunion in Surrey right before graduation. I miss them so much, I actually checked for prices. Way over my non-existent budget.
  • 1 present ready and sent to Estella, of Star of the East, for the swap she’s organizing on her blog. I love mail!
A special surprise

A special surprise

  • 5 wasps located inside our balcony rail. How? Well part of it had rusted and so they sneaked in and were making a nest. Spotted them today and freaked out! I would have had a photo for this, if I weren’t too scared to go near the place.
  • 10 bottle caps saved for a special project I’m working on. Soon to be revealed, hopefully.
I have this exact same door in a watercolor painting I bought 2 years ago. I wonder if it's from Chania originally.

I have this exact same door in a watercolor painting I bought 2 years ago. I wonder if it's from Chania originally.

  • 1,853 words on the blog this week!

How was your week in numbers?