Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I spend a lot of cycling time anticipating.
it's all part of the vigilance plan I use to keep myself alive:  constantly observing my environment, assessing obstacles and potentialities, and anticipating what other environmental participants might do next.  I watch what's around me, and if there's any chance it's a moving object I try to anticipate in which direction it might move and what that might mean for my own trajectory.
cars, trucks, deer, porcupines, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, runners, other cyclists, motorcycles, parked cars harboring bodies within, dogs on leashes, dogs not on leashes . . . and, this morning, the man out in the middle of emigration canyon road blowing the biggest soap bubbles I've ever seen.

I slept in this morning and didn't leave home until 5:30, so by the time I was heading down the canyon and back toward home it was a bit after 7 am.  I'd seen four deer, two of whom I braked for, and a few runners, a handful of cars and trucks, and a dozen cyclists.  no dogs, no early morning walkers, and as I rounded the big U-turn that sends the road back toward the city I sped up, pushing my legs faster and faster to take advantage of the decreasing grade and the gentle tailwind behind me.
not half a mile past the turn I noticed something strange in the middle of the road, something large and iridescent, shimmering and moving sideways and possibly connected by a long stick to the shirtless man standing five feet from the shoulder.
nothing in my memory bank shouted in recognition of itself, and I was completely perplexed until the man moved to the edge of the road as I drew closer and I could see the wet road, the large wand in his hand, and the bucket by his feet, at which time something in that memory bank shouted bubbles.

now, truly, I have no idea why a middle-aged man would be out in the street creating huge soap bubbles at 7 in the morning.
it was definitely a sight I was not prepared for, nothing I would usually anticipate as I headed down this quiet canyon road.  I smiled as I passed him; I'm still smiling as I type this.

eight days from now the tour of utah bicycling race will pass right before the spot this gentleman was decorating with shimmering and bursting bubbles:  maybe he was practicing his own unique welcome for them.
which leads me to wonder what these cyclists might think if they rounded the U-turn, headed down toward the city, and were quickly confronted with a shirtless middle-aged man waving huge soap bubbles in their direction.
forewarned is forearmed:  pass this along if you happen to know any of the riders so that they'll be prepared, just in case, to anticipate such a greeting.

I know that from now on, as I near that stretch of road, I will always anticipate a huge, shape-shifting iridescent bubble that I will quite likely never see again.

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