Sunday, June 1, 2014
The Sky is Artificial Butter
______This is a tale of the Northern Lights.
______Oh, no-no-no. Not those Northern Lights, mind. Not that shimmering light spectacle that dominates the night sky like cosine and sine waves interwoven in some prismatic mating ritual. Surreal and mind-blowing as that is, I'm talking about something completely different. I'm speaking of a befuddling person who I've dubbed "Northern Lights" in my head.
______You all know I'm an avid road biker. I bike each morning when the sun soaks the land with its citrine light, just before the humidity has time to saturate the air like a sweaty herd of wild armpits. On my rides, I often stumble across the same few folks: there's a trio of greying men who sport slick neon shirts and cheerily greet me with, "G'morning, girl!"; a serious young woman who whizzes by with nothing but a curt nod; and a few friendly dudes with excellently rendered butts who usually pass beside me from behind (which is why I know of their top notch man-buns.)
______There is one particular person, one man who I have yet to comprehend when our paths intersect. His approach is signaled from afar by a blinking light on the opposite side of the road. A blinking light that conjures the flickering patterns of the Northern Lights.
______Blink-blink-blink, his light flashed to an invisible tune. Blink-moth-er-frick-in-blink-hell-yah-blink. This light is totally in tune with this dude. This dude is totally in tune with the light. There is a lot of tuning going on.
______The northern lights were flashing and moving closer. The man upon the bike sported dark shades and a spotted helmet that boasted years of road biking experience, and his tires spun confidently along the pavement. As he neared, he immediately turned his head toward me.
______"Good morning!" I instinctively hummed, waving an arm and tipping my helmet down and up in a swift and scientific biker nod. However, this man did not return my kind greeting with a head nod or friendly hand gesture like the other bikers; rather, his only response was to spread his arms to his sides. It looked as if he was preparing to lift from his bike and rise into the hazy blue stratosphere. What, was he some sort of bird man? I was equally parts amused and bewildered.
______He said something incomprehensible to me. Wind sloshed in the tunnels of my ears like thick soup in cans and cars zipped by noisily, and all I knew was that Northern Lights resembled a hawk with his outstretched arms. I could not hear him. As we passed one another, he shook his head dramatically, almost disappointedly. I delivered an incredulous look. What the huh? was all I could think.
______I gave him a snappy, "What?!" and he swerved toward the middle of the road, biking right between the yellow striped centerlines. He stuck out one finger and waved it back and forth in a deliberate "uh-uh-uh!" fashion. The kind that adults do to children when they've done something horrible, like scooping their sticky fingers in the bowl of raw cookie dough batter. Yet again, the man said something that I was unable to hear. I saw a flicker of a mouth that was partially grinning. He was smiling as he said this?
______The man biked back to his side of the road. I guffawed. What the heck, what even, who is this guy and what? was all I thought. There was no reason nor logic to his actions, and yet they seemed consistent. I was absolutely perplexed.
______It was another week or so until we met again. Being an early Sunday morning, there was absolutely no traffic. I saw Northern Lights heading in my direction quicker than a famished trout toward a juicy worm. All right, I'll decode him this time, I assured myself.
______"What do you want?" I roared, not being able to help but grin at how ridiculous this entire scenario was. I intently strained my ears for a response.
______"You're going the wrong way!" Northern Lights shouted back to me. He only raised one arm up this time. Perhaps my shouting rendered his birdlike motions weak due to some sort of fear, or so I liked to imagine. Nonetheless, that was the first time I actually understood his words, so I choked on a reply.
______"I am not!" I said hastily, knowing that I was traveling in the proper direction: with traffic, not against it. That was the way of the bikers, the rules of the road. So why would he point that out? He was just being silly here. I mimicked a frustrated version of his signature eagle arms, mocking him a little.
______"Well," Northern Lights retorted, perhaps sardonically, "You should be going this way!"
______He cycled past me for good and I turned my head as he flitted past, almost curving into the ditch as I did so. It was my first mini-conversation with Northern Lights, and I know there will be more as this summer progresses. Stay tuned and stay cool, folks.
Dress: New York and Co.
Denim jacket: Kohl's (exact)
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Earrings: Charming Charlie