Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thess 4: 11-12
Watching the wispy clouds filter from dark gray through pale pink and vibrant pink into luminous white, the breeze just enough to gently toss the leafy branches of the tree outside, I appreciate not being out in the sunrise this morning. Other mornings, I would just wonder if cars can see me well in the predawn and dawn gloominess. The quietness of morning seems particularly deep, a silence induced perhaps by excessive food consumption yesterday. The stillness has enveloped even the downstairs neighbors, whose TV blares from morning to night (as far as I can determine). No fire engines with flashing lights pulling up today — although yesterday they provided long minutes of entertainment as I watched the firemen suit up, march into an apartment across from ours with an enormous fan on wheels, blow huge billows of smoke out a window, and then slowly depart. They clearly weren’t worried about the place burning down, but I imagine the family’s dismay at (a) having to call the fire department because they burned food; and (b) losing some integral part of their Thanksgiving fare. Yesterday I was thankful that I’ve never burned food that horrifically before.
Yesterday I was also thankful that my knee felt pretty good, considering. Let me explain a bit. I have this rational fear of a wooden bridge that my commute takes me over. It’s a very quaint little bridge, somewhat battered, crossing over a set of train tracks. Since winter has crept upon us, though, my fear of that bridge becoming unrideably icy has increased. Each morning the thermometer read below freezing, I crept across the bridge, carefully riding in a straight line, hoping drivers would give me wide berth. Until Wednesday, I crossed the bridge uneventfully. That morning, the day after our first snowfall, I rode particularly cautiously, fully aware that the wood was probably slick and saturated, if not outright icy. Some snow still remained on the sides, and I assiduously avoided that. I rode across delicately, slowly, until suddenly, at the very end of it, I felt my wheels slipping from under me.
The next thing I knew, I was on the ground in a tangle of legs and bike. My feet had, interestingly, come unclipped from the pedals. My right knee, although (thankfully) protected by two layers of Spandex, hurt abominably. One layer of pants was ripped right through, but incredibly, the other had held. Almost the instant I fell, drivers stopped to help me. A woman got out of her car and became hysterical as she stood over me, asking over and over, “What do I do? What do I do? What do you want me to do? Is anything broken?” I ignored her freaking out, and two middle-aged guys came to move my bike out of the road and help me to my feet. We established that I had broken no bones, that my knee hurt, but I could probably ride. My bike took minimal damage, although the cork wrapping will have to be redone on the right-side handlebar. The guys offered to drive me to work — one had a station wagon right there — but I waggled my arms and legs and decided I was probably OK to ride the remaining 10 miles.
It was only when I stripped off my Spandex pants at work that I realized that my knee had been bleeding that whole way. Taking the pants off involved pulling the dried blood and skin away, which was proved not too fun. I found a first aid kit at work, applied Neosporin and a band-aid, and finished my day. I rode home, too, in the freezing dark rain/mist that coats my glasses into uselessness almost instantly. The homeward ride, normally a 50-minute jaunt, took me an hour and 15 minutes. I crept along at about 10 miles an hour the whole time, and that was none too fast.
So on Thursday I was grateful for my knee feeling fine, and for the remarkable almost compete lack of bruising elsewhere. This meant that when we got to Dawn and Keith’s house for Thanksgiving, I neither limped nor whined (too much). I tried sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top — mostly sugar, I think, with some orange sweet potato in there somewhere. The Van Ripers proved wonderful hosts as always, and their family treated us, total strangers, in a perfectly friendly way. Then, for the first time ever, I participated in the the post-Thanksgiving meal football game viewing. Eventually Ian and I came home, watched two episodes of Smallville, played Legos, and when I fell asleep on the couch at like 8:00, I took the hint and went to bed.
Needless to say, we have not joined the wildly shopping throngs at 5:00 this morning. They all probably missed the delightful sunrise this morning, anyway. Today I plan on working more on the Really Bad Action Novel, cleaning up and expanding some plot points before the end of the month. Today I also finished a four-month-long project with John Trimbur, my adviser at WPI, working on a booklet on asbestos in South Africa. I will post a link to the final PDF some time.