“Remind me to invent time travel,” was the first thought that popped into my head when I finally landed in Newark last night. It consequently got tweeted a few hours later when I got back to Boston, greasy, hungry, exhausted, and reeking of airplane.
I’m a fairly seasoned traveler, but suffice it to say that flying over 12 hours in one sitting will always pretty much suck. Some things I’ve learned, though: don’t fly out of Logan, Houston has a nice airport, be prepared to get your bag searched twice and patted down before you board, and getting to the airport over two hours before my flight will still have me nearly running to the gate, shoes untied, laptop in one hand, coat, bag, and passport in the other.
All things that help ensure that I am perfectly willing to beat the living shit out of any wannabe terrorist.
But back to bikes. And Boston.
Anyone who has crossed the international date line a few times can tell you that it’s more than a little surreal to find yourself in another country after 12 or so hours of being crammed in a seat that was made to accommodate children or those without hips. When foreign languages are also involved, things get a little more awkward. Sleep-derived, with patches of dry skin all over my face courtesy of the complete lack of humidity in any airplane cabin, arrival also means stuttering my way into the appropriate language. The total lack of interest in any productive sort of communication means that I have learned how to smile and giggle my way through both immigration and customs. The shame. But hey, it works.
The irony being that that’s one thing I consciously missed while in Tokyo: the ability to verbally masturbate over everything related to bicycles. Mention of Lance Armstrong resulted in blank looks from my parents [“...Lance...who?”], and attempted conversation usually ended in “just be careful on your bicycle.” And who can blame them? My mother – suspicious of my virtual harem of male friends and the possibility that I may be dating one of them – believes “poor” and “cyclist” are synonyms. I imagine that this must terrify her; that believing me to be generally useless, her youngest daughter probably shouldn’t be considering marrying poor. My father has more pressing things to worry about, like the economy. Neither know about cassette, much less this blog.
So after two weeks in Tokyo that first felt like an eternity, then turned into a whirlwind that ended too soon, I poked my head into my dark apartment last night to catch a glimpse of a gray-black tire that used to be white. I left my suitcase in my alcove and turned on the light to check on the track bike. Things were just as I left them, just as they should be.
I wasn’t talking to anyone yet, and I’m not crazy enough to consider my bikes to have human characteristics. It was comforting, though, to be back. Even if it’s freezing out. Even if I sort of wish I was still back in Tokyo.
Jetlagged but stateside, I’ve unpacked and have a full day ahead of me. Presents to be delivered, a note to be edited, books to be bought [already! ugh!]. As for that verbal masturbation, I’m headed down to yet another city, loaded with goodies for a few friends I haven’t seen in too long. NYC Velo, get excited!