LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
Turning the other cheek
I was sitting in church the other day when I had an epiphany, which is a far better place to have an epiphany than, say, a synagogue or mosque or temple.
My mind wandered a bit — don’t fret for my soul; it wasn’t during one of those all-important everlasting-life parts of the service, but during something more mundane, like the offering — and I realized that for all the hundreds of times we’d attended that church, we’d sat more or less in the same spot.
We perch along the right side, about a third of the way from the front.
Sometimes we have to move up or back a row or two, but we’re always drawn to the same few pews, and judging from the regulars in our corner of pewdom, we’re not the only ones. I tried to project myself sitting with the freaks on the far left, or the folks unable to pick a side who stick to the center, but it just seemed … wrong.
I reckon handedness doesn’t have anything to do with it: My wife’s a freak of nature, er, I mean, a lefty; I’m a righty, yet we both seem comfortable on the right side (though we are careful how we sit at restaurants, lest we bump elbows).
My churchly observation coincided nicely with a similar experiment in sidedness.
Awhile back, the keycard that grants me entry to my workplace broke off my neck lanyard, where it has resided for years. A few times, I rode with the card and my ID badge around my neck, but riding bent over my handlebars sometimes caused my badges to dig into my sunken chest.
So, whenever I rode, I instead slipped the badges in a front pants pocket. That worked out OK, but occasionally I’d be pedaling along, the badges would ride up a bit, and a sharp corner would dig into one of my doughy thighs. I’d sit up, pedaling furiously, and try to fish the shards out of my flesh.
When the keycard broke, however, I decided to put it in my wallet, and it was nothing short of a — pardon the religious term again — revelation. No longer did I need to remember the triumvirate of wallet-keycard-cell phone. More than once I remembered two of the three, but found myself lingering outside or pestering the folks inside over the intercom to grant me admittance.
I felt free. Unencumbered, even.
But there was a problem.
As soon as I got to work, I rolled in the front door as I usually do, bike in my right hand, opening the door with the left. We (my bike and me) wedged ourselves in the vestibule … and I found myself all mixed up.
Still bundled up in coat, hat, helmet and gloves, I tried criss-cross-applesaucing myself, holding the bike with my left hand as I tried to fish my wallet out of my back-right pocket with my right hand, but that didn’t work. I tried hooking the wallet out with my left hand behind the back, but no go.
Though a bit of gymnastics I managed to retrieve the wallet, swipe it across the entry pad, pivot, swivel and roll myself in the building.
Between that ride to work and the next, I spent an unusually (for me) large amount of time checking out boy booty to see where other fellas lugged their wallets. Unscientifically, I found most men preferred the right-rear pocket, like me. I saw a few lefties, too. Don’t know about all the guys in their skinny jeans; maybe they just slip their hipster wallets in their hipster man purses.
No biggie, right?
I decided to forego the contortions and carry my wallet in the left-rear during the next ride, thereby ensuring a breeze through the breezeway.
Trouble is, that simple switch threw my poor little pea brain into apoplexy. Granted, my wallet’s manly — big, thick, full of … uh, stuff — and sure to wreak all sort of havoc on my spine down the road, but who knew turning the other cheek would cause such a mindmelt?
I found myself catching my booty on the saddle every time I stood to pedal. The bifold felt like a stone every time I sat. I squirmed. I fidgeted. Good lord, what an awful ride.
Of course, at any of the many intersections at which I stopped, I could have reverted to my right-cheek form, but I didn’t want to concede defeat and tried to let mind triumph over caboose.
I switched pockets and vowed never to try that exercise in cycling masochism again.
I have, however, found myself looking longingly at the pews on the left side.