Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Summer of the Bike
This is the summer of the bike. Let me clarify: the bike I never ride. Figuratively, the baby blue Ross Europa that stands precariously in the hallway of my building is a symbol. When I think of symbolism, I now think of reading my friend's AP students' essays about The Heart of Darkness and how they don't really understand symbolism. Symbolism is, in some ways, too easy. The bike, it seems, is a place for me to project my other should haves. Because it's there in my hallway. Every time I come into my building. Every time I go to smoke a cigarette in the back patio. I moved it a little the other day. Just because I felt like it must be in the way of my neighbor, the guy who watches out for the building and takes out the trash. I imagine if he had a problem with it, he'd say so. But the guilt I felt thinking about that is only a symptom of the guilt I feel for only riding my bike twice. It had cobwebs between the handlebars when I moved it.
Is it a coincidence that symptom and symbol sound so similar? I can't truly sum up the season with this bike. But as each day passes where I haven't done what I intended to do, it gets easier to identify the malaise with this bike or to allow the bike to stand for what the weeks could have been. It could have been the summer where Brooklyn was shrinking. On my bike, things could have gotten smaller. Yet things seem to have gotten bigger. Clouds have begun looming more heavily. Another rainy day without taking a ride.