Summertime used to be the best. It used to mean doing my three favorite things in the world, listening to music while riding my bike to the library. The library was a safe haven, I could venture into any world I dared open. My bike was freedom, I could get anywhere I needed on my bike. I would put on my head set tune into my favorite radio station or whatever CD I’d been saving up for and ride away the summer.
The library is a sanctuary. I chershished this peaceful, uncrowded, private space. For someone who finds it difficult to pay attention to just about anything, I remember the feeling safe in libraries. Here I could focus without worry of interruption or distraction. I couldnt get in trouble if i was at the library. In these intellectual sanctums, I would spend my summers deep in the rich, vivid worlds created by authors like Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Douglas Adams. I would be able to lose track of the rest of the world and just focus on the story before me. I think my love affair with reading died when the library stopped being my haven. I moved to a place where the public library wasn’t as accessable and the school’s library just didn’t becon me. I think in part, the peace I once got from going to the library was no longer enough to overcome all the fears, anxieties, and social pressures that envelop the teenage life. Now as an adult I’m struggling to find exactly what I’m missing and maybe it’s the time to spend two or three hours at the library and not feel like it was time wasted.
Music is an important part of life, with a greatly underappreciated effect on how we think and behave. I’ve come to learn that I have to be very careful when choosing my music because if I’m in an ill tempered mood, than the right kind of music sooths the ramapaging beast but the wrong mind will agitate me even more. I have to be concious in choosing which music I listen to when driving. If I’m in a competitive mood or the mood to be reckless, fast tempo high energy music is bound to lead to a lead foot. But the right music at the right time can soothe my savage instincts. There was a time when I collected albums and I knew exactly which album I needed to listen to in that moment to help me process and move on with the moment. Making mix tapes was always a hobby mine. I started out like everyone else, by recording songs off the radio. As I got older and digital came into my life I used to spend hours downloading, categorizing, and organizing music, and creating the perfect play lists for long drives, ski trips, and races. Now I just have Pandora and I let fate bring me the music. Honestly, sometimes the stations are so well tuned to my likes that it’s a bit the same as if I had built a play list. The downside is that I have a favorite song but i dont know what it’s called or who made ir.
There’s nothing greater than the sensation of the wind at your back, peddling your way around town. There’s a freedom experienced riding a bicycle that one doesn’t get by car or walking. A motorcycle gets close but they’re too loud, too fast and you miss what youll see by bike. No, on my bike I am a beautiful hybrid. It takes nearly the same amount of time for me to bike to work as drive because I don’t have to wait for traffic lights or getting stuck behind slow drivers. I can take the most direct route because I’m not limited to what the laws of traffic dictate. Physically, the work is just rewarding and there’s something to be said to be able to not have to depend on your car. As a kid I rode my bike everywhere without question. Even up through college, my bike was my car and I never thought twice about taking it. I dunno, maybe I’ve gotten too sensitive to the heat. Maybe I’ve gotten too tired to take on all those hills. Maybe I fear Florida drivers too much. Maybe I’ve decided my time too valuable and the extra time I would have to allow myself just too precious to spare.
I wonder if this wonderful summertime nostalgia has a bit of a calling to it. I want to start making the time to bring back this childhood hobby. Maybe if I start riding my bike to the library more I can gain back a little bit of that youthful freedom I once took as granted. I might reclaim a part of my lust for knowledge and rekindle my love affair with cycling. And taking the time to actually select my music would conceivably return the appreciation for music I once had. Music is such an important way for us to connect culturally and if I don’t even know what I am listening to, how can I be a part of that culture? In trying to bring back some of my childhood past times, maybe I can reclaim a bit of my spirit which has been feeling whithered by summertime in the city.