“Those Dreams Are Dead, and I’m Alive”

The Finished Product On my way home from school or work, I often pick up lunch or dinner.  Next to Larry’s Giant Subs at 13th Street and 16th Avenue, I often see a custom motorized bicycle with ridiculously tall handlebars, banana seat, and multiple baskets.  It reminds me of the glory days of my motorized bicycle, The Green Monster, which I rode daily early last year.

I had learned about motorized bicycles when I stumbled upon an eBay auction for an engine kit.  Since I go to school or work–and usually both–every day, and sometimes make multiple trips, the prospect of shaving several minutes off my commute was appealing.  Moreover, the cold winter mornings and blazing hot summer afternoons are unpleasant on a regular bicycle.  But I rationalized that they would be more tolerable on a motorized bicycle, since I’d move quickly, and, thus, spend less time in the winter cold, and expend little energy, and, thus, get less sweaty in the summer heat.  I bought one of those motor kits on eBay and made my machine using a bicycle given to me by Sarah Jean Russell.  When I began riding my Green Monster, I learned that, indeed, riding fast in the cold beat riding slowly in the cold, and I appreciated that my commute took half the usual time.  But I didn’t get a chance to learn about beating the summer heat:  I only rode my motorized bicycle until mid-April, when concerns for my safety, and annoyance at the myriad problems associated with motorized bicycles ultimately exceeded my passion for speed.

That all came back to me this afternoon when I finally met the owner of the custom motorized bicycle outside Larry’s Giant Subs.  He was an older fellow, and in incredibly profane language he told me how much he loved his bike, but how much trouble he got into with the police, who don’t seem to agree on whether motorized bicycles are motorcycles that require special licenses and registration, or bicycles that don’t.  And he alluded to the fact that his wife took out an insurance policy on him.  I can do without all that.

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The Harvest Now Is Over, the Summer Days Are Gone

A Semester Begins Today is Labor Day, which marks the unofficial end of summer.  I am at home, enjoying my first day off in weeks, watching tennis on television with Miriam.  I am getting caught up with homework, and that feels nice.

The first day of autumn classes at the University of Florida was August 24.  I am taking eighteen hours this semester, so I’ll be the world’s busiest student until mid-December.  To tell the truth, I am overwhelmed.  Don’t be surprised if I neglect this webpage for some time.  I haven’t even finished writing about the great Puerto Rico vacation.

Meanwhile, when I think back on this summer, it seems like a blur.  Particularly memorable were the weeks I spent watching Ken Burns documentaries before Summer B classes commenced.  The rest of the season was consumed by German homework.  Alas, that continues this fall.

Incredible? Yes. Edible? No, Thanks.

An Egg Every summer, my neighbor Elke visits her family in Berlin.  She and Kyra left a couple weeks ago, and aren’t due back until next month.

In the meanwhile, while Elke is away, I am caring for her animals.  The menagerie includes two cats (her adorable kittens have another home for the summer), four rabbits and a chicken.  The cats require little care.  They’re sassy, but I don’t have to touch them.  The same goes for the bunnies.  They have their own large cage, and all I have to do is fill their food dispensers and make sure their water jug–which sends water to several nipples in the cage–is always full.  They don’t seem to like being molested.

The chicken, on the other hand, is the most demanding of all.  She doesn’t really like her oats as much as she likes the rabbit food.  That’s fine; I’ll give her what she wants.  But she’s always getting under my feet, and if she thinks I am holding something she can eat, she’ll jump up.  I am a six-foot-tall, 190 pound man, but it still makes me a little uncomfortable having a chicken lunge at me.  After school every day, I let her out of her cage, and she pecks around the yard for a few hours until I come by later to put her back.  Once it’s dark out, she goes to sleep near the back door, and I have to pick her up and carry her to her cage.  She doesn’t fight me, but she does lift her wings up when she knows I am about to grab her.  More troublesome is the way she knocks over her water bowls.  She tries to climb up on them, and ends up dumping the water out.  I make sure to check on her several times day because of this.

I also check for eggs every day.  I never really gave it much thought before, but eggs are completely bizarre.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

DSC_2517 I was awoken this morning by extremely loud thunder, which must have originated nearby, since the flashes of lightning were nearly simultaneous.  The rain had not ceased by the time I had to leave for school, so I donned my backpack as usual, and over it a poncho I bought at Disney World, and started pedalling toward campus.  The poncho leaves most of my legs uncovered, so from about three inches above my knees my pants were saturated, down to my shoes, and into my socks.  My bicycle has no fenders, so I also sported an elegant dirt stripe on the back of my pants and the bottom of my backpack.  But, on the plus side, I barely broke a sweat over the three-and-a-half mile ride.

I did add a class about ancient Egypt to my schedule, and it is the first class I have ever taken in McCarty Hall.  It’s in an auditorium, and, in spite of the rain, it seemed nearly full.  I dropped the course about America in the 1970s.  I had reservations about the instructor, and it would require a goodly amount of writing, whereas the Egyptology class requires none.

On my bike ride home, after it had stopped raining, I encountered a small boy also on a bicycle.  He said, “What’s up, dude?  Want to race?”  He couldn’t have been more than eight years old.