Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Today, I felt like a true, honest-to-goodness adult for the first time ever.

Certainly there have been other times that I’ve felt, old, older, no longer part of the teen crowd, etc.  But this was different.

I was surprised, but maybe a little relieved.  I had started to wonder if it would ever happen.  Like, maybe the gene for growing up was missing from me or something, along with the gene that was supposed to keep my saliva glands in good health and the one that’s supposed to keep me from being 12-15 minutes late.

What made me feel like an adult?

Well, it wasn’t the usual suspects.  It wasn’t a) having a kid, b) moving out, c) graduating, d) a near-death experience, e) having a parent ask me for advice, f) not getting carded for the first time, g) being called “sir” (or “gramps”!) h) an arraignment, i) having an accountant do my taxes

No, the blame falls on Schwinn.

You see, Susie went to buy a bike yesterday.  We went to Steve’s Pet and Bike shop up in Altadena.  Our sales guy, Alex, was as hip a biker as you could imagine.  He had the sun tattoos on each arm, the slicked back hair, the nice tan, the effortless way of talking about two-pronged hydraulic shock absorbers and frictionless indexed interior hub gears and Kryptonite lock guarantees in New York.

Susie was comparing two bikes: a touring, or street, bike and a mountain bike.  Alex took the two cycles out the back door and encouraged her to compare them by riding around the parking lot.  Which she did quite well, I thought. At which point Alex said, “Why don’t you give it a try?”

So I took hold of the bright red Schwinn mountain bike, took a breath, and swung my leg over the seat.

Forget the twinge as my inner thigh stretched in a way it hadn’t for at least seven years.  Forget the initial feeling of vertigo as I quickly twisted the handle bars to the right to avoid falling over.  And forget the awkwardness of riding with pants pockets full of Palm Pilot, wallet, keys, car alarm thingy, pen—in short, all the things that grownups carry around with them instead of elastic bands, coins, and candy.

Forget those things, because I forgot them all in an instant as my leg pushed down on the pedal and I leapt forward across the parking lot, propelling myself instantly back to my youth.

I hunched over the handlebars, bearing down to build up speed, and felt myself climbing the hill by my old house, returning from Scout meetings and racing the sun as it went down slowly in summer’s long twilight.  I eased around a parked car and remembered riding the river path down to the Calgary Zoo where one of my good friends almost threw his own backpack into the wolf cage by accident.  I squeezed the brakes and remembered every dangerous patch of gravel that I skidded on after the spring melted the snow away and left only rocks and dust from the winter roads.  And as I stopped in front of Susie and Alex, I felt just like I’d arrived at school the first day of Grade 7, when I rode my bike from home, a full 25 blocks, and avoided for the first time the tyranny of the yellow school bus.

As I got off the bike, I felt like an adult.

Because on that bike, I was a kid again.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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