This week my students and my daughter are studying Inferences of Categorical Statements in Logic, taking a midterm on all the declensions in Latin, writing a paper on what they would be willing to work two years to accomplish, doing messy things with fractions in Algebra, preparing to discuss the wisdom of using force against the protesters of Occupy Wall Street, and exploring science fair project ideas. In recent weeks some parents have told me the challenges they were facing at home with this work kept them from doing a good job with some of it. Ha! It is hard stuff! I encouraged them not to feel they are failing when they don’t master everything in the program.
I see Challenge B as a messy, awkward, improvised dance. Some weeks it looks positively elegant and some weeks it is punk–all chaos and broken rules. But I imagine this dance taking place on a cruise ship–all the time we are making forward progress! Having just studied Einstein this makes sense to me: we feel like we are stock still but relatively speaking, we are moving forward.
In another way I am under steam: yesterday I bought myself a bike. When I got a bike for Christmas 1976, it was a Raleigh road bike–ram’s handle bars, slender tires, boy’s frame. As much as I have loved this bike, it has been no fun to ride lately. The Bartonsville Bridge was on my regular riding route, but now that it is out I have to share the dirt road with heavier–and faster–traffic. Sand flung by the tires coated my chain and gears and the dérailleurs started misbehaving. Riding became a chore. Not anymore!
I took it out today for a short ride, taking it easy after yesterday’s three hours of bike testing. But it was so sweet to ride, I stayed out for an hour. I added another two miles to the trip because when I came to the driveway I didn’t want to stop riding yet. That’s never happened before.
This hybrid is huge. I sit high, like on a penny-farthing. I like it. I love the Shimano gear system. I like my new pedals (with toe clips) and stiff shoes. The wide seat is a significant improvement.
While I am more comfortable than I was on the Raleigh, it is not a better looking bike. It’s mud brown instead of insect blue (prettier) and bulky. And as I tested the bikes and realized I couldn’t find another bike that fit better than this one, I resigned myself to buying something called a “Specialized”. What kind of name is that? I can’t see myself saying with pride, “Yeah. It’s a Specialized.” Oh, my Raleigh, the heights from which I have fallen!
Claremont Cycle Shop gave me a good deal on it and on some accessories. They were so kind to me, a newbie to the modern bike scene. Serendipity–the young man who helped me first is the son-in-law to a Classical Conversations friend in Bartonsville, whose youngest son is my youngest son’s best friend.
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s ride! I’ll get a picture to post. That blur will be me, moving forward!