Monday, September 24, 2018

competency

I wait outside Crooked Ewe for Marie-Claire to get her bicycle. The Lime Bike is exactly where I left it, in a small patch of gravel next to the overflow parking, which dangerously abuts the concrete bridge with flimsy barrier above the little drainage creek that flows into the St. Joe river.

A Lime Bike waiting faithfully for you two hours after you have locked it is quite a testament of loyalty. I am beginning to feel fond of these tech age monsters. Even aesthetic nightmares can become Sirach’s faithful friend and sturdy shelter. (They are not very sturdy, to be frank.)

We bike to our homes which are across the street from one another. We go a different way than I came, and I don’t protest, but simply follow where she bikes, because sometimes the conversation is more important than figuring out where you are going. You’ll get there eventually, regardless. The path, while being quite material, is relatively irrelevant.

“Have a good night” I call as I continue on past her house across the street back to my house. As the words leave my mouth, I get the cozy sense of summer nights.

Summer nights offer a simplicity of childhood where you can stay out late with the other neighborhood children until what seemed like ungodly hours at the age of ten, before you are called back home. The essence of summer nights is freedom from a deadline. There are no trains to catch, there is no assignment due, there is no machination that requires anxiety or the constant humming of mental exertion to try to stay one step ahead of whatever task is looming.

Biking across the usually busy street in the quiet of street lamp twilight, I feel a delight which I think is best described as the delight of being competent.

That delight is the feeling of having everything you needed for the journey: (Item one: iPhone to unlock Lime Bike, Item two: Lime Bike), for those tools to not be very much, and for the journey—one you never did before—to have been completed successfully.

I have felt that delight before: pulling the car into the parking spot at Tantur after a long day in the desert, walking home after evening prayer in the field outside Ilaniya, arriving back in my room at Kylemore after hiking a mountain.

Perhaps this is the joy of those creatures like snails and turtles, that carry their world with them.

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