Today I rode my bike around 11 miles, shorter than usual, because it was drizzling the entire time. I kept hoping the sun would fight its way through the clouds but it gave up. I didn’t give up, though, because I was enjoying myself. I only cut the ride short because I was getting too wet.
I always enjoy my ride. Always. I don’t always look forward to it, and sometimes it is a true bitch, but there’s something about it. And as I pushed on my thick black pedals, it came to me: it’s the singing. I wear my earbuds — on low, so don’t bug me — and I listen to my favorite stuff. Over and over. You only get like 90 songs or something on a shuffle, so there’s a lot of repeating.
The songs are repeating, the tires go round and round, my routes are nearly always the same. I’m alone. I can’t hold onto thoughts when I ride. If something’s bothering me, it sounds like this: “Why did he, why does he always?” and then I blank out. And then, oh, yeah, “Why does he…?” Sometimes I don’t even remember the problem. I get distracted by nothing and everything: Where did that gorgeous scent come from? Hey, those shrubs are blooming now! Oops, stick, watch out. Fucking car. Ha ha cute chipmunk. The tires are new and bouncy, with treads like hard muscle, and they sound as loud as a car; sometimes I think a car is right behind me and it’s only me. Especially when the roads are wet: that’s when my tires are the loudest.
The music feels like sweet chocolate in the middle of a good bite of candy. No matter how many times I hear Neil Young sing, “The sky is blue and so is the sea,” my lungs expand with that tender, simple truth. Even when the sky is toadstool grey. And I sing along. I sing all the time on my bike. I whistle, too. I whistle when I’m passing walkers, because I don’t want them to hear me sing. But other than that, I’m singing, and when cars pass me, my mouth is wide open and my lips are bent around lyrics. I probably look kind of silly.
I have to sing when I ride; I just can’t help it. Well, I guess I can help it, of course. It’s not like breathing or something. But the thing is, I don’t want to help it. When others want to ride with me, it is a compromise for me. I love the company of dear ones, but I also have to forgo my music when I’m with them. I miss it during those times. I long for it when I can’t have it, when my battery’s dead and I can’t sing on my ride.
And today while rounding one of my favorite corners, as the wet from the road hit me in the face, so did the realization that I am just like Nat. My singing/riding is my stim. I do it almost uncontrollably because the zen of it is so pleasurable. I’m lost in it, lost to it. I look a bit weird doing it. I try to modify it around others but in the end, I gotta do it. And so, if I can do it, so can he.
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