Day 16: Greenfield, IN / In Triplicate

Miles: 25

OK.  Christ.  Today was just a rollercoaster all over the place.

I couldn’t find my glasses when I woke up this morning.  Objectively, of course, I knew full well that they were there somewhere, but any of you guys who share my level of blindness — as in, like, I absolutely could not cross a somewhat busy street without help — understands the visceral, hyperventilating panic of not being able to find your glasses.  I have some spare contacts and prescription sunglasses, but neither are particularly viable substitutes.  And after patting the bed up and down and looking behind the furniture and under the blankets I finally concluded that I had in fact swallowed my glasses in my sleep.

Unshockingly I had not, in fact, swallowed my glasses in my sleep.

I had somehow managed to kick them all the way down the bed so that they were caught hanging off the bed in the fold where the bedsheet was tucked under the mattress.  Crisis averted.

So I finally got loaded up and on the road, and it turned out to be a really lovely ride.  It was short, just a bit under 25 miles, over paved roads and through mostly nice, comfortably uninteresting suburbia. And more importantly, the blistering heat had finally, finally broken, at least for awhile.  It was about 25 degrees cooler than it had been, and the first overcast day since I’d set out (aside from the storms that seem to materialize when I’m about 4 miles from the next waypoint), with just enough drizzle to be pleasant without leaving me soaked and miserable.

Sometimes I forget how deeply the weather can affect the experience of a ride.  I biked all through last winter (I say with an even mix of self-deprecation and self-respect), and while even I, the ice queen over here, will concede than biking when it was -50 F was pretty fucking awful, as long as it was above zero, I was mostly fine.  But crank it up to 90+, and I’m just miserable.  Today it was in the low 70s, grey and breezy, and I barely noticed the first ten or so miles, didn’t even register any aches and pains ’til the last little bit.  I suppose some is psychological, as I just fucking despise summer, but I’m sure a lot is hydration as well, having the luxury of drinking to replenish what you’re burning in exercise, versus desperately sucking down water in a futile attempt to keep up with what the sun is scorching away.

Anyway, so yeah.  Nice ride.

And as previously mentioned, I quickly discovered that I had left my laptop charger in Indianapolis (and I have a Chromebook, so even a stupidly expensive universal charger from Walmart wouldn’t do it.)  Again, this isn’t the end of the world: I have a phone that can do everything I need, however clunkily; Indianapolis isn’t that far behind me, and my next waypoint is a little bit less middle-of-fuckville than this town.  But everything about my life right now is so up in the air that it immediately threw me into a panic.  Can I get back to Indy tonight? (No.  Not a chance.  50 miles total by bike; 10 miles each way just to get to the nearest possible bus stop, which doesn’t link up to anywhere near the motel.)  Can I get back in the morning?  (Sure, but there and back again would pretty much leave me no further along than I am now, only with 50 more miles ground into my joints.)  Can I just suck it up and shelve my laptop ’til I get back to something resembling civilization?  Yep, and that was basically what I was going to do — I should be in Dayton, OH on Sunday afternoon/evening (and at a friend’s house, even), so yeah, I could survive without this for a couple of days, especially with my phone.

But fuck, you guys — I realize I’m a spoiled little techno-phile like everyone else, but I really did not want to.  I generally thrive pretty well in solitude and anonymity — and yes, I’m fully aware of how douchily pretentious that sounds, but fuck you, I’m too tired to phrase it better — but every time I finally stagger off the bike, scrape the worst of the day’s filth off of my skin and sit down at the computer, catch up on Facebook and scroll the endless sand wastes of Tumblr, read updates on whatever shit I’m following and talk to family and friends when I’m not bent over my handlebars in a patch of blessed shade, it all feels like little reminders of my own existence, of my place in my own spiderweb of loved ones.

So I’m firmly sunk into a pit of self-pity and minor panic, whining to Jeff (the self-pity and panic, of course, only being fueled by the knowledge that it was 100% my own carelessness to begin with).  And he throws out a couple of options, none of which were viable (no decent electronic stores nearby, no way to realistically get a cab or anything back into Indy, etc), and then a few minutes later, he’s just like “OK.  I think I got this.”  I’m like dude what sorcery are you formulating (I think that was the exact quote actually), and then this motherfucker manages to get an Uber driver in Indy to pick up my charger at the motel and bring it to me out here.

I’m of course super grateful to Jeff for the fact that I have my computer back without a headache (I’d’ve promised him my firstborn child, but we both know that would have just resulted with the both of us standing a safe distance from it and poking it confusedly with sticks).  But it’s also — grounding, I suppose? — to know that even though my friends and family are usually nowhere near me, and mostly don’t even know where I am at any given point, I’m still not actually alone out here in this weird wide world.

So thanks for that, Jeff, you absolute fuckface. ❤

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