balancing acts

Yesterday I was driving home from the grocery store when I saw a most genuine balancing act. On an old, elegant 3-speed bicycle, a man was turning through the intersection in front of me. He steered with one hand. He held in his other hand a grass trimmer — a long handled device with a two-stroke engine on one side, and a string trimming apparatus on the other. It balanced in his left hand as the bike navigated smoothly through the turn.

It was ironic first, to be riding a bike but carrying a smoke spewing device alongside. But more than this it was impressive that pedaling, steering, and transporting all three objects (man, bike, and tool) went as smoothly as it did. The practice of steering was clearly hindered. The balance was surely out of whack. And yet still he rode onward.

I still wonder where he was going.

Today I’ve been going through the list that Charla has of remaining items for the parks program, which starts next week. I’ve been wondering if I should upgrade an consolidate my phone and calendar technologies into a Palm Centro (a device apparently being marketed to 15-year-old girls . . . sigh). I emailed the staff about driver training. I need to fix the sprinklers. I have a curriculum to describe to some teachers. We now want water bottles for the trips to the park, and that reminded me that I still want water bottles for Crossroads. (BPA free? I don’t know.) The sprinklers aren’t fixing themselves. I still am looking for a better pen — surely the topic of another entry here sometime. I’ve got reviews still to do. Oh! And I keep forgetting about that professional file I need to evaluate; August used to seem like a long time away. Karyn’s birthday is sooner. And the sprinklers need to work before we leave for Maine.*

But I do have the tickets, the hotel, the car, the car seats, and the GPS ready for Maine. And I did get the sprinklers to turn on. And now that I’ve met with Charla we’re both confident that being ready for Monday is completely within our sights. And the reviews are getting done and they’re enjoyable to do . . . unless I think of that other article I still didn’t finished, and then feel really glad that those two chapter proposals still haven’t received any feedback.

So the bike tips this way, I adjust the other way, and the navigation continues. For some reason — a reason only I can really explain to myself — I need that grass trimmer in one hand and I need that handlebar in the other. And feel free to hand me something else, as long as it’s a BPA free water bottle that I need, that will fit in the holder right here in the bike’s frame. I still need to steer.


*Flashing back to that paragraph a few minutes later, I realized how incriminating it was. Not in all the things I mention, but in the things I did not mention that were slipping my mind. Aren’t you supposed to be writing a book, for example? I guess that’s the nature of the distraction and the balancing, the weed wacker I’m carrying along with me.


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