Dear reader, I sometimes worry I talk too much about my bike rides. I sometimes worry you'll think: "If that girl brings up one more episode wherein she attempts to race an innocent cyclist and compares it to the ancient gladiators of Rome, she is going to have a serious mutiny on her hands!"
Which is why I'm not going to talk about that. I'm going to talk about little old men and spiders in their mating seasons and how one has practically nothing to do with the other. I think.
The other day, as I was stretching against my bike in preparation for a ride, a little old man tootled up to me in a golf cart.
"Do you have enough water for your ride?," he asked. I told him I did. Then I waited to see if he would ask me anything else. But he didn't. He had all the information he needed and off he went, presumably to ensure the rest of the world was properly hydrated. It struck me, though, that I waited. I just have a certain thing for little old men, I suppose. It catches me off guard when they express interest or concern and I'm always left standing there, mouth agape, like some ardent first-grader who nearly earns a gold star.
I stopped for a moment to take it all in and while I was at one with the universe, another little old man approached me. This one was dressed in the dearest cycling outfit, with an unzipped shirt and a cap like the ones worn in the old days of the Tour de France. I practically whispered, "Anatole?," but quickly came to my senses when he asked for information regarding the rest of the route. Still, it was a lovely conversation featuring his vast knowledge of the mechanics of cycling and my uncanny ability to plumb the depths of his life story in less than five minutes.
Near the end of my ride, I encountered a tarantula. I'll spare you the details but yes, I jumped off my bike and ensured his safe passage to the other side of the road. Lest you think I'm being overzealous in my patronage of the ecosystem, I'll have you know I asked a friend who is a self-proclaimed expert on such matters, and he told me this time of year is mating season for tarantulas. So you can only imagine the favor I rendered this poor, romantic soul.
And finally, when the ride was over and I was in the process of securing my bike to the carrier on my car, I was approached by one last little old man. Although he started out talking about the weather, his comments soon became just the least bit odd. You know? Like when someone seems terribly interested and terribly amused by everything you have to say? Well, I didn't know what to think and I stood there as he moved in closer, wondering if I was about to get hustled by a veteran of one of the great world wars. He asked me what I liked to do in my spare time and when I happened to mention my kids, his eyes nearly popped out of his head and he exclaimed, "Kids?!"
To which I smiled and replied, "Yes, kids."
Which would have been flattering enough, I suppose, only he repeated the question at least ten more times. Finally he leered at me, violating all the rules regarding personal space and said, "You don't look old enough to have kids!"
I don't know, dear reader. I'm not sure what this says about me, but why is it such a scenario would almost certainly be charming coming from a little old man named Anatole, yet is decidedly less so coming from a little old man named Bud?