For Mother's Day, I asked for a bike to tool around our new neighborhood. I wanted one of those big suckers, without gears in a REALLY awesome color, *maybe* with streamers coming out of the handlebars. You know, classy.
As it turns out, Mike has figured out that when I ask for a bike (or an aqua-blue colander, or a pair of Tom's), this is INDEED, actually what I would like. And not code for a bowling ball or a rooster figurine. It took YEARS to re-wire him, because I believe his gift-giving language was spoken in Mandarin Chinese. Or, possibly, he really enjoys the element of surprise, which he will get EVERY TIME, when gifting his wife with a rice cooker.
So on Mother's Day, I woke up to a pretty sea-green bike. With gears, because he thought it would be more functional, and I agreed. Except that it turns out that the bike was a size too small, and so we ended up taking it back to Wal-Mart yesterday to consider our options.
Here is where we spent an hour, considering the bigger picture, as it related to the purple mountain bike with the SHOCKS? Or, the pretty little white cruiser with the damask seat pattern.
I mean, I should get the one with the gears (and shocks). It's practical, should we want to take a family bike ride on trails around the river bluffs, or something. I'm told they exist, though I don't know this firsthand--although with four kids, I will tell you the only thing that would make that scenario *easier* is a motorized vehicle, a white wine spritzer, and a DVD player.
"Which one do you want?" Mike would ask me every 7 minutes.
"I WANT the cute white one, but I should probably get the one with gears..." was my answer, every time.
Practical or whimsical. Practical or whimsical. This friends, is the dilemma around which my very soul was created. Perfectly articulated by the bike section at Wal-Mart. Freaking Wal-Mart is like a metaphor for life on so. many. levels.--and one day I shall do an entire post, to this end.
Mountain bike or cruiser. Practical or whimsical.
But you know what? I talk myself out of everything fun (except chardonnay). I mean, GEEZ, doesn't it feel like everything has to serve 12 purposes these days? This right here is PRECISELY why I don't understand my kids and their love of Squinkies--because what do they DO, exactly? It's the age old parent-child debate, and the reason math puzzles and underwear get wrapped up as Christmas presents--because we see the world as efficient and full of unrealized purpose, and these little people see freaking panda bears in a tiny, plastic ball. Suddenly, I am 35, and KICKING ASS at taking all the fun out of choking hazards.
Kids, I am SO sorry. I get that it's awesome, even if it doesn't DO anything. Because it's a platapus. In a bubble.
Just like my new bike is awesome. Because it's glittery white, and it doesn't have hand-breaks (or gears), and it will NEVER expect me to thrash down the side of a mountain. As it turns out, I am just not the kind of girl that likes to bike for sport; but get me a wicker basket and a side braid and I could easily spend my days carting cantalopes back from the Farmers Market on my cruiser.
Next time I'm getting a polka dotted one.