Sunday, June 27, 2010

Biked into Center City today

I was so excited to bring my bike with me to Philly, but this feeling was dampened the other day when I finally tried to look up where the bike lanes are.  I came across a site where users could contribute location markers to a map to mark, for the most part, bad spots related to biking -- accident occurrences, nasty run-ins with drivers, intersections where cars tend to ignore you, and so on.  I was certainly scared off for a bit, but after gathering a bit more info (Google maps has an option to turn on a layer marking bike lanes, paths, and bike-friendly streets), I decided there was no other way to get started except to try it.

So while there was still enough light out this evening, I rode to Rittenhouse Square.  Taking Spruce and then Chestnut over the river provided bike lanes most of the way until about 22nd Street.  From there I moved onto the sidewalk.  Don't know if that's the appropriate thing to do (people on foot have the right of way, right?), but there seemed to be no space on the streets and I didn't want to be in the main car lane.

At the park I stopped to rest on a bench with no real plan of anything to do besides drink some water.  But soon a homeless(-looking) man shuffled over to my bench and sat on the far end.  He was muttering, and I couldn't really make out if he was saying anything sensible.  I kept thinking of that movie, with the homeless guy who's actually a fantastic musician...  So this guy had an old plastic drink container and I figured out he wanted some of my water.  I didn't know what else to do so I poured a bit in.  After that he headed off.

My unexpected encounters for the night were not over, though.  A guy came up to me -- I'd guess around my age -- and said hi, and then something like, "I have to tell you, you're really beautiful."  I was rather taken aback, and also wondered why he was so impressed when my hair was tied back and probably messy from biking, and certainly I wasn't dressed in anything special.  Either way, he introduced himself, and then we had at least a half hour conversation on the bench there.  He told me about Philly and how he loves skateboarding and biking and some mechanical stuff about cars that I didn't understand.  At least he was pretty nice, and friendly, and didn't do anything sketchy.  Eventually I said I was going to head home, and (again with some sidewalks though...) made it home before it was totally dark.

It was nice when I got back, because I felt like I accomplished something.  I figured out where some bike lanes were, made it to Center City and back.  And the sweat kind of felt good this time, since I accumulated it while actually doing some physical activity more than walking a couple of blocks.  So I decided I earned it.

...Seems like life in the city could be interesting.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


So um, I stumbled on an album of photos on Facebook tonight, and eventually figured out that they are wedding photos.  This particular Facebook friend is actually more than someone I met just once (got a number of those on there, though); we knew each other by way of a common activity, but it only lasted a couple months.

The part that gets me is, he's 19.  If he's followed the normal educational trajectory since I met him, he has just finished his freshman year of college.

Now, I haven't seen or communicated with him in years, and I am sure this was not a decision made lightly.  And I hope the best for them.

I guess what's more pertinent is that this has served as a reminder for me.  It's been awhile since I was in a relationship that was any sort of time-hardy, and about the same amount of time since I've tried to understand love and relationships.  Along the way I've had one or two theories of mine broken, and now I've fallen into something of a stagnant mind-fog about it all.  I look around at couples and wonder, what makes people mutually attracted to being in a relationship?  What makes them stick together over a long[er] period of time?  What the heck is love after all?  (Maybe I should do some research on my friends who might apparently have some knowledge on this.)

I am doing okay without them, but still, I'm starting to miss the things of a relationship; having the go-to person for sharing mundane bits of life, for comfort, for laughter, for cuddling, and so on.  Perhaps a bigger fear is my feeling rather powerless to find someone.  One of my theories that I think is still standing is that it works best if "love" (if I dare use the strong word) comes upon you without your effort (and without your realization for awhile).  I know you can't force things, because I've tried.  And I always have a mental hesitation about actively searching for someone because it feels kind of fake, like you're going to make the person like you and yourself to like them, which just falls back to the category of forcing things.  So this leaves me waiting for it to just happen to me.  And I still have time, but... it can make me nervous.  I don't want to entertain the possibility of living alone for the rest of my entire life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm in love with blues dancing

Given the way I jumped headfirst into dancing blues and still have nearly zero lesson experience, I probably do not possess the legitimacy to speak about it thus.  I probably still frustrate the good leads with whom I am lucky enough to dance.

Disclaimer done.

Blues dancing is just about the most wonderful experience in the world -- yeah, I'm in love right now.  The unfamiliar observer might deem it incomprehensibly inappropriate: picture two people whose relationship could fall anywhere from couple to complete strangers, dancing in a close embrace...  But that's it.  Five minutes of escape to a separate world, just you and that person, surroundings ceasing to matter.  You rock, sway, and swing in slow, fluid motions.  The pauses and the subtlest movements enmeshed with the music are moments of near-breathless, perfect tension.

At its best: it is rapture, a taste of heaven or maybe of being in love.  I practically cannot dance it without eyes closed.

...This description is either a pretty good one, or will sufficiently creep out whoever reads it to the point they'd never want to dance blues with me.  Heh.