Saturday, June 18, 2011

Freecycle-bicycle

Several nights ago, a friend had his front wheel from his bicycle stolen while he was at work. He had a much better attitude about it than I did--having something stolen is just the worst, I think. Despite his good nature, though, he still needed a way to get to work.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I love a good hunt, especially if it's for the benefit of someone else.

We looked at Craigslist for a bike, but there wasn't much there that was the right price. I told him about Freecycle, but there were no bikes currently posted. I knew it was a long shot, but I went ahead and posted a "wanted" ad there.

Lo and behold someone replied! What luck!

We set up a time to go and pick it up at a local school, and my friend and I arrived to find a man sitting in an SUV in the parking lot. Assuming it was the bike-owner, we approached him, and he got out to greet us. That's normal, right? So, I said something like, "Are you the person with the bike?" Then it got weird. He didn't know what I was talking about. Of course, I was a little embarrassed, so I jokingly asked what he was waiting for--as if maybe he was waiting on some special delivery too. He said he was just parked there. At a school parking lot at 7:00 at night with no one else around? Then he walked across the street to a house that he was apparently familiar with and started talking with someone there.

I couldn't figure out why he would have looked like he was expecting us and gotten out of his car to, as far as I could tell, talk with us. Then I started wondering if he was up to no good--like maybe he was the one who emailed me, posing as someone's wife, and he was hoping I'd come alone. We never did see the person with the bike, so we left.

When I got home, I emailed the person again, and thankfully, she responded saying that she had forgotten. We decided to try it again the next day (yesterday), and this time the woman did show up with the bike as planned.

The bike is totally functional, although it's a little small. I think it'll do just fine at least until my friend has the means to buy a bike of his choosing. The great thing about Freecycle is that if you end up not wanting the item, it's easy to just pass it on to the next person who might actually want it.

I feel good about this, not because I believe I deserve some pat on the back or something, but because it feels good to be rewarded for doing "the right thing." So often, I feel like I'm slapped in the face when I try to help someone, and I thought with the creepy SUV guy and everything that this was going to be one of those times. Instead, it makes me want to reach out more to discover what other answers and opportunities there are out there.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keeping life simple, even when it isn't

Life is slowly becoming normal again. Or, I should say, I'm slowly developing a new sense of normal. Still, there's an undercurrent of anxiety in everything I do. How will I support myself? What direction is my life going to take? What should I be doing with my life? While I've always asked myself these questions, there is an urgency to answer them that wasn't there before. I'm trying to take things one step at a time, but it's hard not to be consumed by the big picture. To keep myself healthy (in more ways than one), I'm focusing on a few things right now:


1. Exercise. At first I thought that I might need several days, if not weeks or a month to be a slug. I know people say to take care of yourself physically when you're going through emotional stuff, but I assumed that I would shrug off the advice and gain 20 pounds just to prove how miserable I was. It turns out, I feel better when I'm moving. I've started running again, and of course I still have Zumba. My apartment is ridiculously close to my college, so I now commute on foot. Putting furniture together and making frequent trips to the dumpster/recycling/laundry room on a regular basis keeps me on my toes too.


2. Eating healthy. Again, I assumed that I'd give in to whatever craving I had. Who knew I'd be craving fruit and vegetables? Seriously, I get excited over salad.


3. Work. It's the end of the semester this week, so I'm grading, grading, grading. It's keeping my mind on the task at hand. Plus, I only have one week off before it's time to start the summer class, so I have more planning to do. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the big questions, but mostly I just keep my mind focused on the next thing. What else can I do? Life has to move on. I have to keep showing up.


4. Reading. Okay, so I'm reading about divorce, which seems somewhere between smart and tragic, but reading other people's words helps me focus my thoughts. Instead of just flailing around in despair whenever I feel like it, I have a time and a place to devote to thinking about my situation. I'm not avoiding it; I'm just trying to gain appropriate perspective.