Monday, March 10, 2008

Bicycle by Paul Fattaruso

A year ago, I rode my bicycle wherever I went: to and from work, trips to the store, weekend rides up into the mountains. If I went to the bar, I would ride swiftly there and wobbly back. While riding, I would constantly chant something I saw once in the window of a nearby bicycle shop: "When I see an adult riding a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." This wasn't something political or about any Repeating this to myself was enough to propel me up mountainous roads and through snowstorms.

In the past year, however, I moved to an apartment that is farther away and uphill from where I work, so my daily rides turned quickly to weekly rides. Then I bought a scooter. And my rides, weekly or brief, are no more.

A few weeks ago, Joli and I rode to the store on our bikes, and we bought a new pasta pot and rode home again. It was sunny and glorious. I missed it.

Today, I went to the bookstore, and I found a small book entitled "Bicycle," written by Paul Fattaruso. It's beautiful and strange, and it has enough power to propel people up mountains:

"If the bicycle squeaks, that means something is trying to kill it, however patiently."

"With a little doctoring, a bicycle can indeed be made to gallop."

"We traveled like this for two quiet weeks: only the sound of wind purring in the spokes of our wheels."

1 comment:

Hunter R. Slaton said...

When I was at Oxford, I read a collection of short stories called The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter -- sort of a magical realism/retold fairy tales thing.

One story, "The Lady of the House of Love," prominently featured a bicycle. As Wikipedia says: "'The Lady of the House of Love' is clearly set on the eve of the First World War, and the young man's bicycle on which he arrives at the tradition-bound vampire's house is a symbol of the encroaching modernity which fundamentally altered European society after 1914."

That's one interpretation, but another interpretation I read was that the bicycle was a symbol of the young man's purity and good-heartedness. I like that one better. And I like bikes, too.

Finally, a last bicycle quote: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."