On the Streets


Yesterday . . . I was feeling overwhelmed. The fridge was almost empty, library books were due, there was writing to be done and get-togethers to schedule, and in my rush to get the errands done before school pickup, well, I “didn’t have time” to tell myself to breathe.

As I biked over the bridge, I was totally zoned out, going over my list again and again and again, trying, I assume, to think about things so much that they wouldn’t need to be thought about anymore. Or, more likely, I was just running around in circles, chasing my own tail and completely incapable of making it stop.

But when we got back on the bike after pickup and started up the bridge and on our way home, things changed. It started, I think, when Dmitry of BikeNYC passed me: “You’ve got all three of them this time! I’ve seen you on the bridge three times now!” It was good to see him again, even if it was just for second. He was hardly out of my sight when another guy passed me and told me I was super mom. And he hadn’t gone too far when someone else offered their opinion about my superior strength.

At least a couple of more people cheered me on as we rode through Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Crown Heights. And aside from making me feel like a million bucks, they got me out of my head so I could stop trying to catch that stupid tail already.

There’s something really powerful about being on the streets of where you live. Not enclosed in your own cage of glass and steel, but actually on the street, directly exposed to the sights and sounds of the city. There’s a vulnerability to it that connects you to people. True, sometimes they are the people telling you to get a car already or to watch where you’re running before you steer your stroller into the bike lane – and that’s when you say “Mother knows best,” and keep on going (and maybe also try to remember that there is an angry guy on a bike in Prospect Park on Tuesday mornings and it’s best not to cross him).

But as often as not they are the people who just want to say hi and good work and isn’t it a great day to run or ride or live?

It takes away some of the burden, relieves the pressure, slows things down to a manageable pace, and makes the path straight again.

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