So the excellent drawgirl
, who managed to escape childhood without learning to ride a bike, recently purchased an apple green Schwinn 10-Speed over craigslist. Slowly, she's been teaching herself to ride it. I put on my rollerblades, she takes the bike, and we do a few circuits around the block every night. Her balance has gotten exponentially better, and even though she sort of creeps along and stops at every corner, she's picking it up really fast.
Well, tonight we get outside and started around our block, when a trio of young cyclists round the corner going the opposite direction and zoom on past us. There's a girl of about nine, a boy of about eight, and another girl, seven and with long purple streamers on her handles. I turn and grin really big at drawgirl
, who just glowers and says, "Don't even say a fucking word."
"Watch your mouth, there are children present!"
We get going at our glacial yet determined pace. Within a few minutes (read: inches), here come the children again. One, two, three, like nesting dolls on bicycles.
"Make way for ducklings," I yell at drawgirl
"You are shitting me!" She grits her teeth.
By the time we've made it down one block, the children have lapped us (going the opposite way) about three times. The oldest girl meets my eyes shyly and curiously, and the boy behind her cuts close by my wheels, tempting death. The youngest leans over her handlebars with determination, pumping her little legs to keep up. Every time they peel past us, drawgirl
stops and looks aggrieved. It becomes apparent that they are on the very same circuit, probably strictly instructed by parental units to "only go around the block and for Christ's sake be careful on 41st."
We pick up some speed as we get going, and it becomes this funny little community of wheeled creatures. The children quick and confident, the adults wobbly and laughing. Finally I come around the corner, and the oldest girl is standing by her mother saying something quietly to her. The mother says, "Well it's great that she's learning, because then she'll know how forever and ever." When drawgirl
appears on the corner the little girl looks mortified, afraid she's been overheard.
Mom says, "Hope they weren't in your way?"drawgirl
gives a wry smile. "If anything, we were slowing them