Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Favorite Thing - Betty Draper

Remember how I told you that I made an impulse purchase the other day that has already injured me twice?

That was unfair.


Her favorite soundtrack is Hotel Costes Vol. 4.

Say hello to my new favorite thing, Betty Draper.

Why is her name Betty Draper?

Because they are practically twins

It was rather unfair of me to introduce Betty as an "impulse purchase," although it is true that she injured me twice.

To back up a bit, I have been not-so-secretly longing for a bicycle ever since The Gentleman and I had a vacation in Key West about a year ago. We rented bikes for the duration of our five days there, and pedaled around the entire island. We got coconuts from a street vendor and biked around Old Town drinking the water out of them with a straw. We went to markets and filled our bike baskets with fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and (who are we kidding) lots and lots of booze. 

(We may or may not have cracked open some beers on the way and rolled around on our bikes, enjoying both the scenery and a nice delicious domestic.)

We also rented bikes via Capital Bikeshare back in June when we had an afternoon in DC, and while it was a little more of a hectic ride (dodging weekend mall traffic was a bit different than lazily pedaling past sleepy bungalows in Key West), it still reminded me of how truly awesome a leisurely bike ride can be.

As with most things in life that you have a secret wish for, the good things at least, a bike sort of fell into my life by accident.

A friend of mine is moving away and needed to unload a bunch of items prior to said move. She had been telling me about this Huffy beach cruiser she had in storage that needed a home, and I had agreed to at least come and look at it. I told myself I didn't really need a bike, that I didn't want it to end up like what happened the last time I bought a bike - I paid $45 for a POS off of Craigslist, rode it twice, and then carted it around for two years while it rusted and I finally donated it for parts.

But when my friend pulled the powder blue Huffy with the white wall tires and creamy fenders out of her storage unit, I fell in love.

Unfortunately, it took a bit for my new love and I to get acquainted. In fact, within my first two and a half seconds atop the beach cruiser, I completely and totally bit it.

IN MY DEFENSE, I had just come from work and was wearing a skirt. IN MY DEFENSE, I was trying to test-drive the bike uphill in a narrow back alley in Charles Village. IN MY DEFENSE, I was NERVOUS because I spied a car headed directly towards me at breakneck speed and I panicked. 

(It was backing out of a driveway about a half a block down, but part of being a defensive driver/bicyclist is anticipating that other drivers on the road are out to get you, so I don't think it was an unfair assertion that the car was headed straight for me.)

So, I completely and totally fell. Like, skinned knee and elbow and injured pride and all. But, because I am a child of proactive parenting, I GOT BACK ON THE BIKE. (Am I not a shining bastion of the Little Engine that Could?) And, within a few moments, I had righted myself and realized that I had not found the bike I'd been pining for for the last year, it had found me.

Fifty bucks and a lot of maneuvering later, my friend and I had the bike in the trunk of my car. I have no idea how we did it, but there was much finagling and turning of handlebars, and then the trunk somehow latched and I was good to go. 

Until I got home.

I opened the trunk of the car, excited to bring my new bike into her new home, and realized that in our efforts to Tetris the bike into my hatchback, we hadn't given much thought to how I would get it out alone once I got home.

And thus began my little social experiment for the day.

22 minutes in 95 degrees, 2 smashed fingers, a ripped dress, and tears in my eyes later someone FINALLY stopped to help me. I lost count of how many people walked by me, staring as I struggled with the bike. I would get it halfway out, and a pedal would jam against a seatbelt. I'd wiggle it the other way, and the rear tire would get lodged against the rear passenger door. 

That bike was not coming out.


To stare, yes. Help? Hell no.

The woman stopped and set her grocery bags down on the curb.

"Do you need a hand?" she asked, pleasantly, and I almost burst into tears at her kindness.

It took us about ten minutes to get the bike out of the car. By the end of it, I was nearing the point of just deciding to let my car have a bike in the back for the rest of its natural life, but the angel of a woman who stopped was bound and determined to get the thing out.

"Ok, this, now back just a little...ok, maybe if we roll down the window? OH WAIT - yes, ok, just to the left...oh, no. Oops. No, that's not going to work. Crap, ok, back it up again, wait, yes, wait, yes, YES, to the right, YES" and the bike suddenly lifted out of my car with ease. Thirty minutes later.

As we were lowering the bike to the ground, the rear tire spun and trapped my helpful passerby's finger, ripping open the skin. I felt absolutely horrible.

"I am SO sorry, oh my God, thank you SO much," I kept saying over and over again. She just kept shaking her head.

"No, no, please, don't apologize! I am just so happy we got that thing out!"

"Wait, where do you live?" I asked, as she scooped up her grocery bags from the sidewalk.

She gestured to the house next door to mine.

I had lived in Little Italy for almost a year, and did not realize that the woman helping me was my next door neighbor. I felt ashamed.

She waved goodbye politely and headed towards her house, and I walked the bike to mine. I lifted her inside and parked her in the dining room (which has become the parking lot for bikes as now all three roommates have them). I looked at her powder blue paint and off-white fenders.

"Betty Draper," I said, and ran my hand over her handlebars. I immediately went on Amazon and found an attaching basket.

The next day, I took a bouquet of flowers and a thank you card next door.

"This is SO sweet!" she exclaimed.

"Seriously, thank you. I would have been out there all night if you hadn't come along and helped."

"Well, but honestly, I got the most enormous sense of satisfaction out of that whole scenario. I was like we are getting this bike out! And we did!"

We certainly did. And Betty and I went for a little ride tonight, and she's as smooth as can be. Now, if I can get over my fear of Baltimore City traffic and find some safer roads to cruise on, we'll live happily ever after.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Awesome! She's a very good looking bike. You live in a good spot for biking, too, because you can get to Federal Hill using the blocked off bike lane around the Harbor. Getting to the rest of the city is a bit trickier, but you'll probably be rolling up your jeans and wearing those funny short-billed caps in no time.