“Wanna take the mountain bikes out?”
We were sitting on Matt’s back deck, post-breakfast, enjoying the beautiful Sunday morning. I almost did a spit-take with my coffee. “Taking the mountain bikes out” was about the last thing I wanted to do. Go back to bed? That was probably the first.
I should’ve just said no and left it at that. Mountain bikes? Please, I'm 55, not a kid anymore. And another thing, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve been on a bicycle - or more accurately done any exercise of any sort. I get winded walking to the mailbox and back – and it’s, like, twenty feet each way (although the return is uphill). I’m so out of shape I can’t even jump to conclusions. When you open the dictionary to the phrase “sedentary lifestyle” there’s a picture of me. I think a four-hour after-dinner nap is just a prelude to a good night’s sleep.
So I really should’ve just said no. But Matt had that look on his face when he really, really wants to do something badly.
“See, there’s this park…and it’s got these lakes…and one of them has a paved trail around it, and the other has a hiking trail but you can ride bikes on it… And it’s really pretty…You’d like it.”
“Uhhhh yeaaaah, that sounds like fun,” I allowed…err, lied.
But really, what else did we have to do? I was up in Atlanta, visiting Matt and Alisha for the weekend. The weather was absolutely stinking gorgeous. We could have just stayed on his back deck, drinking Rum and Cokes and hanging out until it was time for me to go back to Pensacola. And I would’ve been fine with that. Although I am in many ways a typical “Type A” personality I am often perfectly content to just sit there and contemplate my navel. Which I can hardly see any more. Matt, on the other hand always needs to be doing something. Like riding stupid mountain bikes. Yes, stupid mountain bikes.
Back in the day...you know, ten years ago, he and I used to do all kinds of fun stuff like that. We were riding and hiking and camping fools. Now we’re both older and heavier…a lot heavier…and we can only dream of the healthy, strapping, Greek gods we used to be. He’s closer to it than I, of course, being younger. Okay, I lied, I was never really Greek godlike. But I don’t have to tell you that. I’ve loved and drank beer for far too long. Six-pack abs? Hah. My belly resembles the whole keg whereas Matt’s – at least at one point some time ago – was…maybe…a four-pack. But not anymore.
But hey, I gotta give him credit - Matt intends to work out at least once a week. And by that I mean he pretends to work out once a week. More often than not he and his neighbor-slash-workout buddy Joe never make it all the way to the gym, especially if they have to stop at one of those dad-blamed red lights along the route - which just kills the incentive, you know? So instead they (and don’t tell Alisha!) detour into a sports bar called the Hail Mary where the only workout they get is from the strenuous lifting of glasses of Long Island Ice Tea from the counter to their cakeholes.
So anyway, this past Sunday morning while most of the world was in church celebrating the rebirthday of Christ, we two heathens loaded the mountain bikes into my Jeep and headed to Tribble Mill County Park. And it was just as Matt described. Easy trails, relatively flat, really pretty, lots of shade. No heart-attack for Bob (we stopped a lot). And I did not crash (we went slow). Which was something of an Easter miracle. I must’ve looked like one of those circus bears-on-a-bicycle. With a baseball cap.
Tribble Mill is a great, big park (800 acres), and we had it pretty much to ourselves at first. But oh boy did it get crowded! After doing the two loops…a couple-three, four miles…we loaded up and got out of there. Great park but it’s not exactly Gwinnet County’s best-kept secret.
By mid-afternoon we were back on Matt’s deck, enjoying Rum and Cokes and grilling some great steaks. Hey, if God didn’t intend for us to eat animals, why did he make them taste so damn good? Alisha made some wonderful spaghetti squash, and some roasted asparagus, and some mashed ‘taters (and gravy, of course), and some black-eyed peas, and… And any calories burned off earlier in the day were more than made up for with supper. It was oh-my-God good. Even I would come back from the dead for a meal like that! (Matt often tells me, “You’re going to hell,” and I can almost see him mouthing those words as he reads that last sentence.)
The bike ride had been fun, I'll admit it. But part of being an adult is knowing when and where to say no. I should have exercised that privilege while I was up in Atlanta. Yes, that’s the only exercise I should have done.
So now, dammit, I’ve got to get my own bike out, air up the tires and start riding again…you know, keep the momentum going so I can (hopefully) lose some of this weight. Because next time I go up to visit, I’m sure Matt will have some other cockamamie thing he wants to do that will involve risk or exertion...and maybe both. And, as usual, I won't be smart enough to say no.