Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bike Ride

I rode a bike today for the first time in probably nine years. I don't know when I stopped riding bikes. Probably around the time I realized that my pink and purple bike was searingly uncool. I should leave that thing out in the rain and put it out of its misery. It's not assassination, it's euthanasia.

It was autumnally cool and sunny this morning, and seemed like an excellent day for adventure. So I stole my mother's bike, which is markedly adult in color, with the idea that I would try to locate the site of the proposed park that keeps coming up in the town meetings I'm covering for the local paper. I am going to start calling it Atlantis: The Lost Park because I did not find it.

My skepticism began when the press release for the park quoted a board member saying, "Ye, unto us the oracle did tell of the founding of a sacred park, and ye, the oracle's rock does indeed release hallucinogenic vapors, and ye, the two are not connected." I don't know, it just seemed suspect. And now I know that it is, after all, mythical, for I cannot find it. Some might say, "Simon, you know you've never been good with maps." To them I say, "Shut it." I'm not incompetent. This park does not exist.

Happily, the search for Atlantis: The Lost Park was truly a delight. I forgot how much fun it is to ride a bike. I don't think of cycling as a viable travel option in this town, mostly because as a driver I hate those suicidal road-hogging cyclists, but on this nice new bike path the risk of gruesome death is much reduced. Also I had a great time singing songs to myself, although apparently the only songs I can sing off the top of my head are the ones I learned in nursery school. So anyone who lives near the trail may have heard me singing Ten Little Indians and Oh Susannah and the like, which is embarrassing.

I also started singing Do Your Ears Hang Low, which never, ever made sense to me. I always had a disturbing mental image of a sad man with revoltingly large earlobes. For some reason he was always shunned by the rest of the army. I think he was the Continental soldier; he seemed French.

It turns out, however, that Continental in that song refers to the American colonists. So says a random internet site: "This is a slight by the Loyal British about the American Drummers. The ears are the tabs on a rope drum. The British drummers kept their drums tied tight with a specific knot called a drummer's knot. They alleged that the Americans could not tie their drums tight enough so when the heads were tensioned the ears were at the bottom of the drum."

Burn.

Unfortunately in the process of making this discovery, I learned about another version of the song in which it isn't the ears that are hanging low. I really should have just stuck with the absurd long-eared Frenchman because the new mental image is a whole lot uglier.

3 comments:

.Maeve said...

man do those british get my goat. what with their fancy-pants clever songs ... well, even if they can run circles around us mentally, our dangly-ear army can kick their ass!

i watched firefly for about ten hours straight last night. there were neat. neat in space.

The Anonymous Hedgehog said...

a pox upon the british.

no, not really.

NEAT IN SPACE would be a great name for a band. did you know that SciFi's marathon of Firefly preempted the X-Files on Monday? i just wanted you to know that. because it was deeply upsetting. i had to watch Felicity. FELICITY. argh!

.Maeve said...

despite having shared your felicity woes many an evening in new york this summer, i have no sympathy for you. good god, woman, YOU COULD HAVE WATCHED FIREFLY.