08 June 2009


So tired right now. Kind of giddy, but tired nonetheless.

This giddiness started yesterday, during my bike ride. Part of it came from simply being in the saddle on a perfect late Spring/early summer day.

The fact that the surgery is now less than a month away in more than enough reason to cheer for me. "Believe me, the time is going to go faster the closer you get to the 7th," advised Robin, Dr. Bowers' office manager. I hope so.

My current euphoria started yesterday with the knowledge that my surgery is one month away. In the afternoon, I went for a bike ride down Cross-Bay Boulevard through Howard Beach and across two bridges to the Rockaway Peninsula. There, I pedalled about five miles of boardwalk and a few blocks worth of local streets to the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Then, I zigged and zagged within sight of the ocean from Long Island's South Shore to Point Lookout. It was late in the afternoon, on a Sunday, so the park at Point Lookout would be either full or deserted. The other day, it was the latter: I had the rock formation--and my "chair" in it--all to myself.

Even a flat tire didn't dampen my mood. It got me home a bit later than I'd planned, but that wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.

Along the way, I stopped for pizza in Howard Beach--probably the best neighborhood in New York these days for the universal food. There, you have a choice between New Park Pizza, which is really old-school with its ultra-thin crust pies, and half-dozen others, including Dino's--where I stopped--all within about three or four blocks. Dino's is my second-favorite, but I stopped there mainly because it's on the same side of Cross Bay I was riding, and because I wanted a slice of their eggplant pizza.

Anyway, I was eating at one of the sidewalk tables right in front of Dino's when a one-legged man hopped out of his car. I am sure that he's accustomed to opening doors and such for himself, but I stopped eating for the moment to open the door for me. He insisted he was OK; I insisted it was OK.

A couple of seconds after I grabbed it, a man who came out of another store stepped over to me and grabbed the door. "Are you going in, miss?"

"Oh, no thank you. I'm fine." He intended to hold the door for me, as well as the one-legged man. In his universe, or at least his presence, a woman does not hold a door for a man, no matter how much more physically able she is.

Maybe I was born in the wrong decade: I will never, ever understand some aspects of etiquette. I certainly don't mean to criticize the man who insisted on holding the door: He was brought up that way and, I would guess, naturally sweet and considerate. And, well, why would I want him to un-learn his behaviors?

I was wearing a light brown pair of camper-style shorts and a T-shirt in a shade of green that might be described in a catalogue as "willow." And I wasn't wearing any makeup. Not so long ago, hearing a man call me "miss" when so attired would have been enough to keep me happy for the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week. I was pleased, but it was about as notable as Liz Taylor or Larry King marrying again.

What made me happy after the encounter with the one-legged man and the door-holder was the realization of just how privileged I am right now. I wish my mother were accompanying me, as she'd planned to do. But the fact that I can get the surgery, that it was Sunday afternoon and I could ride my bike and stop for pizza, that I could pedal along the ocean, made me feel very fortunate. The one-legged man has certainly learned how to cope, and from what I could intuit, seems to be leading a happy and fulfilling life. But, tell me: Who ever loses a limb voluntarily? I, on the other hand, now have the option of changing my body so that it more closely manifests my spirit. It may be late in coming, but coming it is--quickly and, it seems, gayly.