Sunday, April 26, 2009

cyclists in clothes

I love it when friends are brave enough to throw a party, and then invite me to come.
in my opinion, there are not enough parties being thrown these days.
or maybe they're being thrown and I'm just not getting invited . . . hmm, food for thought.

last night I attended a soiree that was heavily populated by cyclists. the couple that hosted the event --- a wine tasting, no less --- are cyclists (and runners and kayakers and general outdoor action enthusiasts), and relatively new to the city. the core of their social system seems to be the Power Camp/JCC connection, and thus, most of us there were the type of humans who find pleasure and comfort sitting on a relatively flat, hard, triangular wedge of leather-wrapped metal.

this is my favorite thing about gathering like this with people I know from cycling/spin class/ Power Camp: we look really different sans sweat, helmets, and lycra.
more human.
more attractive.
less obsessive.
possibly even more complete and whole.

I learned that some people raised bees or chickens or horses. and that others rode their bikes to grandchildren's t-ball games. that spouses rode with them on tandems. that some golfed, and that one hard-core rider actually curled her hair and wore make-up when not teaching spin class.
it was grand fun.
for as great as it is to have a support system through your athletic club and people to ride with out on the road, it's even better to be able to embrace their whole person. we appear quite one-dimensional when we only see each other in bike shorts and helmets, and it's easy to forget how deep and beautiful and complex human beings really are.
and this is the discussion I had with my date last night: initial conversations with people you don't know are usually quite effortless, as there are myriad questions you can ask to learn basic information about someone new to you. and then once you know someone fairly well, it's easy to get into deep discussions about issues that matter to one or both of you. but it's that in-between stage that causes me ---and likely, others --- to experience a touch of social anxiety.
let's see, we have this and that in common, and I know what she does for a living, and I've asked about kids and pets and vacations, but I don't know her well enough to get into a conversation about feelings and beliefs, so I have to keep it fairly light, and I'm running out of ideas . . .
I need a few parlor tricks, you know, those questions you've prepared ahead of time that will elicit deeper thoughts and richer conversations without offending or touching on those (forbidden) areas of politics or religion . . .
so, what would you be doing if you didn't have to work for a living?
where would you live if you could be anywhere you chose?
if you could produce a movie, what would it be about or who would be in it?
what's your fantasy job?

our hosts last night had prepared nametags for us that had our first name, and then a short phrase that began with "ask me about . . ." and ended with something personal about each of us. my friend andy's said "ask me how to wreck a bike frame," and someone else's said "ask me about my naughty school girl outfit," and they were all great conversation starters.

last night I found that I enjoyed conversing with whole people, and that I can use a little practice doing so. which I will now work on.
ah, here's a good starter question for my crowd:

if you could never ride a bike again, what would you do with all of those hours?

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