Birthdays and random ramblings

George Dunlap Leslie (1835-1921) Titled “Roses”

This week on my birthday, I had a half day before work at 3:oo to do something good. I did not plan anything and wasn’t thinking very imaginatively so at 8:30 am I jumped on the bike and headed for the gym for the morning work out. I usually take side streets and lately when no cars are present I sit up straight and ride without hands. I know it’s potentially a little dangerous. Hit an unexpected bump or lose coordination for one second and wipe out. Top that off with no helmet and add an I-pod to the equation and I guess I could have been an accident waiting to happen. I started thinking: I know this is dangerous but I’m looking in my rear view mirror and grabbing the handlebars when I see a car…NOBODY gets killed on their birthday…well, I’m sure SOMEBODY has gotten killed on their birthday but it’s not gonna be me!

The weather was glorious with sun shining bright and cool crisp air. It seemed a waste to exercise indoors so I changed direction to the lake front bike path. It was my first time riding with the I pod and I have to say it enhanced the experience more than I imagined. I started to notice that almost every bike rider or walker that I passed was smiling. A few were down right beaming with euphoria. It’s like we were all silently bonding on the absolute joy of being outside by the lake at that moment in time. I saw a woman wearing a tee-shirt that said “Je t’aime” and I wanted to say, ” I love you too!” I thought about getting off my bike and doing yoga sun salutations facing the lake. I also considered twirling around and doing a happy dance. I’m sorry to say that I did none of the above 😦 but I was doing a non stop happy dance within.

I thought I’d ride to Navy pier and back but once I got going I didn’t want to stop. During the week, pre summer, the path is much more civilized without the obstacle course of beach goers with little kids running around.  I realized that I’ve never ridden further south than Grant park and decided it would be a new experience to keep going so I did. I passed the Field Museum, Planetarium, Aquarium, Soldier Field, a memorial park for fallen fire fighters and finally McCormick place. I only turned home  because of time restraints but by the end of the ride my legs were like jello.

When I got home I walked my neighbors dog, Bunny. She kept plopping down when we’d hit a sunny patch of sidewalk giving me this look as if to say “What’s your hurry?” Sorry Bunny, gotta go to work! It’s only one day a week but most other days I could indulge in the lifestyle of a dog if I knew how to relax that guiltlessly.

I got kind of dressed up for work and even put on some makeup. When I went out to my car I found my first birthday present splattered down the side of the driver’s side: a generous offering from the neighborhood birds. Nice. I wonder if anyone has ever gotten shit on (their person) by a bird on their birthday? And which scenario, death or bird shitting is more likely? So many things to ponder.

Earlier, while riding I was listening to the Grace Jones song, ” I’ve seen that face before” which made me think of Paris, a city that I have spent many a birthday. In Paris, I can be alone and never be lonely . Birds could shit on me and I might not even mind dying. In fact, in 1987 I had so much fun one evening I told my friend Sue in the morning, all hung over that if I died then, it would be okay for I had lived a lifetime that night. (Bullshit?)  I said it in all sincerity but  I’m glad I got to carry on! Oh, and that same trip a bird did, indeed shit on my friend. It was not her birthday. Come to think of it, there was another incident in Paris where my friend Cassy narrowly escaped a shower of shit when passing under a trellis. Susan called her name,  she stopped and splat, inches away. It was my 50th birthday trip and I did not come close to being soiled…no droppings on my moveable feast!

I’ll wrap this up by saying I’m grateful for all my lucky birthdays and all the time I’ve been surrounded by family and friends in person or in spirit. I hope to continue avoiding any future shit storms and FYI: If anyone ever sees a pair of gloves like the woman wears in this post’s feature image, know that it would be the perfect birthday gift for ME!

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