Friday, August 5, 2011

The Green Road

Dear Roan,

Today was your last day of summer camp. For the past 6 weeks, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning I've put you on Big Bike and we've rode to camp.

It's a 15 minute ride, mostly flat and shady. We talk the whole way there. We run through all the differences between bikes and cars. You noticed that cars are faster than bikes, unless they are stuck behind the garbage truck, in which case we whizz by those poor suckers, honking and furious in the heat and stench. We are never stuck behind buses, or moving vans, or Fresh Direct trucks, or double parked SUVs. You understand that cars are capable of going faster than bikes, but in our neighborhood they rarely do.

You know all about the green bike lane on Prospect Park West, which is currently the most contested bike lane in the city. We ride in it for 15 tree lined blocks. It is rumored that some old cranky woman who lives in one of the gazillion dollar apartments overlooking the park has a camera trained on the bike lane, and at the end of each day she counts all the riders who passed with a clicker. She sends the numbers to the city to make the point that not enough people use the path to justify its existence. I always think of that old lady when I ride on the path. I wonder if she counts us as one person or two.

I must talk about the bike lane a lot on our rides, because you've started repeating all the information back to me. You call it the green road. You tell me that only bikes can go on it. That if cars go on it, they get in trouble. Sometimes I will ask you, "why is the green road green?" and you'll say, "because someone painted it green" which is technically correct, though kind of missing the point.

Today you were reminiscing. You said, "one time I went to Chai Tots and I didn't want to go in my class room." I remembered. It was just Wednesday. You laid down on the futon and refused to move. The teachers and I tried all the bribes we could think of, but you wouldn't budge. I told you I was worried about you.

"Why mommy?"

"Because I thought you were sad. Or I thought you didn't feel good."

"Why mommy?"

"Because you worry about the people you love when they don't seem happy. When Daddy is sad, do you worry about him?"

"Why mommy?"

"Why mommy what?"

"Why mommy?"

As sometimes happens, our conversation dissolved into silliness. Today was the first day you started in with the endless "whys."

I love our bike rides together, especially now that that I know they are ending. If I am honest with myself you have already outgrown your bike seat. Your legs are too long and you are probably close to the weight limit. And I am growing too. As I have been told by countless neighbors, my belly is getting awfully big for Big Bike. We recently told you about the baby inside. You like to tell me he will be all your baby. And that you will name him Fred.

To be fair, I think that rich old woman should hit her clicker three times when we roll past her camera. Click click click.

To our morning bike rides, which are full of sun and breeze and circuitous conversations and the tree lined green road just for bikes. To a time when it was only just the two of us, rolling lazily along, in the soft morning light. You probably won't remember this, so I'll remember it for you.

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