In case you were wondering…

… the ancient adage that you cannot forget how to ride a bike is not true.

And now I’m going to die

Giant box! 55-pound giant box!

My first look inside the box and HOLY CRAP THOSE WHEELS:

The contents of the box, removed and placed next to the box. I give Mongoose an A for packaging, as someone who became an aficionado of that little aspect of the universe while selling furniture.

If you thought this was a wheel for a motorcycle, it would not be the dumbest mistake you had ever made. Seriously, I knew what I was buying and I was still not prepared:

Several of the reviews from professional Bike People suggested that the Mongoose Dolomite would be a good bike if you replaced about half a dozen parts. The one place where I took that seriously was the seat. On the left, a seat for my ample ass. On the right, the stock seat. I think this was a good call:

The red on the new seat doesn’t quite match the red on the bike, which is a terrible disappointment. (Not really.) I decided to put everything on finger-tight first, going very, very slowly and trying to make sue I knew what I was doing at any given time. Note that putting a front tire with disc brakes into the fork on a 50-pound bike is… kinda tricky! But I think it’s okay.

And, finally: a bike.

Another positive development: the helmet (which also showed up today) fits, and I even got lucky enough to find one that had that red streak, which matches the bike pretty nicely. It is difficult to convey just how beefy this thing looks in person; the pictures don’t do the sheer size of the tires justice. It’s freakin’ gorgeous, though. I will probably not be riding it today, as I do have several things to do before that happens:

  • Figure out what the proper tire pressure is and inflate the tires. Note that this will require an electric pump, as these tires laugh at piddly little hand pumps.
  • The seat is in the lowest possible spot, which means that the rear reflector is actually obscured by the tire if you’re directly behind the bike. I should probably get some actual lights. This isn’t a serious priority right now, though, as my night riding is going to be minimal for a while and I may end up adjusting the seat once I get more used to getting on and off the bike.
  • I do not especially trust the gearshift, which was another thing people were griping about; it feels kind of flimsy, and it was changing gears while I was tightening the handle in place. I may end up taking this to a bike place and asking them to specifically check out the brakes, the gearshift, and the derailleur.
  • I need to learn how to pronounce “derailleur.” I think it’s just de-rail-er, but it looks like you’re supposed to say it fancy-like.
  • Also I have literally never ridden a bike where shifting gears was even an option and I need to figure out how to do that.

And then, after I do all that, I can put the bike in the garage and never ride it, because terror! We’re set for the summer!

On alternate universes

I have spent the last couple of days working on the graduation video– or, at least, the “celebration” video, since technically we’re not supposed to call it a graduation (or use Pomp and Circumstance) if it’s not high school. One way or another, though, I’ve been working on it. The final project is going to end up being somewhere in the 35-minute range.

I used to do quite a lot of this type of work at a previous school, when I was one of the folks responsible for the morning announcements. The announcements themselves were no big deal, but we’d shoot commercials and little skits and stuff like that all the time to keep the kids paying attention, and it turned out that I wasn’t terrible at video editing, or at least the type of video editing you can do with a cheap camera (or, now, a smartphone) and iMovie. In an entirely alternate world, I can see a version of me that does this sort of thing for a living. There’s something very satisfying about it, honestly. There’s no world where I’m contemplating a career change or anything like that– if for no better reason than I don’t actually have any idea how you break into that field, and “I’m good at iMovie” probably isn’t going to be enough to get me any interviews.

The bike has finally shipped, and is currently slated to arrive on Tuesday, although I suspect it might arrive a bit quicker. This means that I now get to start obsessing about bike helmets, which is going to be extra special fun because I have an enormous head– seriously, I can’t ever find hats that fit– and therefore bike helmets that 1) fit me 2) I can afford and 3) I am willing to wear are going to, simultaneously, not exist and be sold out everywhere.

My wife’s foot remains in a boot, and I’ll need her to go with me the first time I ride anywhere so she can call the police when I crash and die, so I’ve got time to … I dunno, build one, I guess.

(Oh, also: bike helmets are not built for bald dudes? I have done a little looking around and I feel like any helmet that has actual holes in it is going to be fodder for the weirdest sunburn of all time, and I am not looking forward to that.)

I am beginning to be concerned about this fall. If we are back in class, we, or at least the adults, are probably going to be mandated to wear masks. I have not, to date, been able to spend more than about fifteen minutes in a mask without panic attacks becoming a real problem, so eight hours— to say nothing of eight hours where I’m expected to do something other than curl up into a fetal position and concentrate on not thinking about my breathing– is gonna be … let’s say troublesome.

I have a couple of surgical masks on hand, and I’m going to try one of those the next time I have to go anywhere, because getting cat food at Target (which, apparently, doesn’t actually sell pet supplies any longer, or at least ours doesn’t, or at least they’ve hidden them well enough that I couldn’t find them anywhere?) damn near killed me tonight. It was bad, y’all.

It still, despite the video and despite the fact that I haven’t actually been in my classroom since the middle of March, not quite hit me that the school year is basically over. I finished my grading today; I will finish my actual grades this weekend at some point, and Monday is some staff meeting types of things, and … that’s it. I’ll have survived (more or less) my first year back in the classroom in a while. More thoughts on this later, I imagine, once it actually manages to wash over me and it feels like it means something.

8:05 PM, Friday, May 29: 1,745,606 confirmed cases and 102,798 dead Americans.