This morning I arose a little later than usual at 8am. I had some things to do such as go into town and lodge money in the bank.
It is about 7 mile cycle from my house one way. Upon arrival I lock up my bike. The bank doesn’t open until ten and Mass is at ten. I resolve to attend daily mass (something I don’t normally do) and then go to the bank afterwards to lodge money.
Prior to the celebration of morning Liturgy I’ve 10 minutes to kill. I use them to call my solicitor and attend to some legal business but I’m 5th in the queue and have no time for that.
I go inside the Church. On my way in I greet the beggar at the door. The chime of the bell is heard and Liturgy had begun. The Gospel is about the Holy Spirit being sent to the apostles. Jesus is making the disciples aware of the rejection that is coming from those thinking they’re doing a holy duty to God.
I murmur to myself, “Yeah, I know a few of them types alright”. Then a fly begins to swarm around me. It’s a blue bottle. I want to slap it away but dont want people to think I am doing a modernist post Vatican II liturgical dance they have never seen before so I bear it. At one point during Liturgy it lands directly on the wood in front of me within slapping distance.
I stand then sit but it does not budge. Usually a fly at any sudden movment will move off but this stubborn little fellow wouldn’t budge. I begin by waving my hand over it. The little old ladies observing my odd behaviour must’ve thought me an insane person. “They must’ve let him out for a few hours” I could imagine them whispering.
No matter what I did the fly would not budge. Then I began to talk to it. “Are you a senile fly, is that it? Or are you attracted to me because I have not showered in days due to zero sunlight on my solar panels?. Yeah, come to think of it I do smell a bit.”
Time for Holy Communion arrived and because of Covid the Polish priest brought it to everyone so moving out of the pew wasn’t necessary. I received Holy Communion and sat down. About five seconds afterward the fly moves off in a northerly direction.
It looks like the presence of Jesus washed me clean and he went in search of another smelly sinner to cling to, eh?. No flys on me now only Jesus.
I walk out of Church and straight to my Bike. A man has his bike next to mine on the rack because there was no room. He approaches as I’m unlocking my bike and he apologises but I dismiss it as unnecessary.
He has the same bike lock as me and I notice he is struggling to open it. “One hundred euro for a lock and it’s a difficult thing to open, eh?” I said. “I wouldn’t know it to be priced at that” he replied cheerfully, “I got it as part of a deal for buying the bike.”
Then he gave me an earful about how great ebikes are and once you get one there’s no going back. I wanted to disguise my envy behind an argument as to why ebikes discourage exercise which is the whole the premise of owning a bike but who was I kidding? I wanted one and if my legs could talk they’d be screaming for one too.
Instead, I congratulated him on the bike and made him aware of my desire for one too if I wasn’t so poor.
I go home and on my way stop at the supermarket but they’ve got compost bags they’re selling stationed right in front of the bike stations. I’m furious and can’t park anywhere as there’s only to pipes to tie my bike too. Bikers are hated I’m the county well and truly they are.
I grumble and head for home. Upon arrival I am told the weekly shopping must be done. That’s 4 to 5 miles back into town with a trailer attached. I sense rain coming so I prepare by kitting myself out head to toe with waterproof gear.
After half an hour I reach my destination. During the ride the Sun came out and then an angry cloud appeared and utterly drowned me in torrential rain. “No flys on me” I cried as I came prepared for such schizophrenic Irish weather. I also ran into electric bike guy and thought, “I could really do with one of those.”
I tied up my bike and trailer. On my way to get a shopping cart I open the wallet only to see all my cash still in it. I slapped my forehead and said, “Stephen the very thing you went to town for this morning you didn’t do and the money didn’t get lodged.”
I go inside with two utterly soaked cooler bags in the cart. While filling the two bags I meet an old friend from my childhood days. We greet one another and as fate would have it end up checking out together.
We are rather macho about it and he makes an excuse as to why he has to do the shopping. I do the same and we flex our muscles a bit by joking about it. I tell him I’ve got shopping dyslexia. My wife has to draw me a map of the place just so I don’t go into a panic. Sometimes she even draws a diagram of what butternut squash looks like.
He laughs hysterically and says, “Stephen don’t ever change.”
I leave and prepare my bike. Shortly after departure it rains heavy. What are the odds? I go and it rains all the way there. It stops raining while I’m shopping and starts up again while I’m riding home.
The load was heavy. I was going about 4mph and it took 50 minutes to get home. My lower back ached and all I could think about was that guy, his electric bike and the joy on his face as he whizzed past me some moments before.
I got home, I made it but you know what? The Sun shone all afternoon and not a drop of rain. One could say my timing was poor but as I’ve a weather app I knew what I was getting myself into. Why did I do it? Because I’m attracted to hardship and love a good challenge. However my sitbones in my buttocks are now aching. Hopefully they heal by tomorrow for I’ve another trip into town to do.