Bicycling Through The Food Poisoning And Rain

July ’77

There was a youth hostel in Riviere de loop, so I looked forward to a
warm bed. When I broke morning camp, Riviere de loop was still
59 miles away. The sun had yet to peak above me, so
there was time to reach the hostel, but that was before the afternoon
wind picked up, and I found myself pushing as hard on the pedals to
go down a hill as it was to go up the hill. The rain hadn’t started,
but when it did my already miserable condition became pure hell.

The fucking rain stopped me. But even if it didn’t, the wind would
have. I just didn’t have the strength to continue. I slept for an hour
under a carport roof. That was the second time that I had had to stop
and dry out. I was hot, probably from fever. I wanted a coke. I needed
a coke. I was burning up. I would have settled for anything to drink,
but I was in the middle of nowhere. I tried to make myself get on my
bike. When that didn’t work, I tried hitchhiking again. No luck there,
either. Eventually, I did get back on my bike and when I passed a
motel I stopped to get a room. When the guy said $ 18.00 for a dumpy,
mildewed room, I changed my mind.

Back on the highway, I sank into a machine like trance. No sense, no
feeling, just work, work, work. At the height of my trance, the pain
in my aching muscles subsided, and I stopped suffering the cold, wet,
wind, but I also stopped being conscious. I snapped out of it just
before I passed out. There was nothing else to do except, push, push,
and push some more. It was only when I thought to myself, “You
son-of-bitch, this is a crime against humanity, a self-inflicted one
at that,” that I realized, yes, I really was sick! Under rain, rain,
and more rain, I finally came to a sign, but I was too scared to look,
much too scared. The sign read, 21 miles to Riviere de loop.

That was it. I was drained, wasted, defeated, and crushed. There was
a café, so I went inside, and got my coke. The lady behind the counter
told me about a motel down the road. She said, “Last I checked, rooms
were $16.00 a night.”I don’t care,” I responded, “I need a roof over
my head, any roof.” After I ate my soup and chicken sandwich, she
looked down at me while she was writing out my bill and said, “If it’s
just a roof you want, you can check out the shed around back.”
Somewhat surprised, but grateful, I thanked her and went out back to
see what she was talking about.

Nothing was normal. I was seeing things as if I were looking down the
wrong end of telescope. The shed was dirty and cluttered, but I
recognized it as home. After making a space on the dirt floor, I
crawled into my sleeping bag, and after ten hours of sickness and
forty miles of the most hellish biking of my life, I closed my eyes
and went dead to the world. In the morning I awoke soaked in sweat. At
7 a.m., after the sun was already up, I got some dry clothes out of my
pack and hung my sleeping bag out on the fence to dry. After putting
on warm clothes, I went back into the cafe for coffee. I felt a little
better. It was a brand new day.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to Bicycling Through The Food Poisoning And Rain

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    After a severe storm I was too scared to look at my own face in the mirror. It nearly belonged to someone’s else. But I would recover soon. I did hope so. 😉

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    These two posts (food poisoning posts) are/were extremely accurate accounts of the sickness I suffered, indeed, it may even have been worse than described.

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