Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cranked


I like this image because it represents functional imperfection. The crank is dirty, with little flecks of grease all over the place and a chain that begs for a good cleaning. It's scratched in places. The middle of the crank seems to be missing its covering. It won't win any cyclical beauty contests.

Despite the mechanical grunginess and ugliness on the surface, this is beautiful to me. It's a closeup of my so-called beater bike, the one I take to work, the one I ride when the weather's threatening, the one I ride when I don't want to get the "good" bike dirty or scratched.

I bought it about six years ago. I needed a bike I wouldn't have to worry about if I left it locked outside the office all day. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, yet it needed to be a better bike than the stamped-steel monsters found at the local Wal-Mart. Tall order. I needed a used machine, and I needed to be creative.

I took our eldest son, then five years-old, to a few local consignment stores (pause...yes, I went downscale. Surprised?) He spotted a purple mountain bike with yellow cables lurking in the shadows of a dusty old store. I looked more closely: it was a Miele - score! A good, solid bike in good condition, found by our little guy.

Because the store owners had no clue that this was a diamond in the rough, they let it go for a song. I said nothing as Zach helped me wheel the bike out the door and into the parking lot. When we got to the van, I popped my green water bottle into the cage, and Zach immediately dubbed it the Barney Bike, which it has been ever since.

It's got big, fat, knobby tires, and it's kinda slow on the road. But if I need to get to work and not concern myself with getting the vaunted "good" bike wet and mucky, this is my mode of transportation. I think of that afternoon every time I get on, and conclude that beauty can take on many forms. And an afternoon with our son scouring forgotten old stores certainly qualifies.

Your turn: Can you describe a unique day with an immediate relative or friend? What made it so special?

26 comments:

sage said...

Barney's bike--I like that. Most every day is unique with my daughter. I often go out alone fishing at dusk, my favorite time for the fish rise up to the surface so a fly rod is in order and even if they aren't biting, I love to watch the sky change colors in the water. This past Wednesday, I took her. She was thrilled and paddled the canoe like a pro and acted so proud.

Dean said...

I just want to say that I think there is beauty in function. I look at the steering wheel of my car, for example. It's well designed. It's wrapped in leather, which isn't too hot or too cold, and which provides a firm grip at all times. The leather has been polished to a beautiful soft shine by the hands of the previous owners, and it is a thing of functional beauty.

So I think your bike crank is beautiful too, clean or not.

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Wow sounds like you got an awesome deal!!! I LOVE those, I am very good at finding bargains as well and love a good consignment or thrift shop.

Canadian Mark said...

Good question.

About a decade ago, I attended my mother's University graduation with my sister. It was a good time, involving hard lemonade, and goofing around like we were kids again - playing silly word games, filled with dry Canadian wit. One of those "make your cheeks and belly sore" moments. I was probably 12 years old the last time I had such an evening of laughter.

My sister has kids now, and would never go on such a bender - well, she hasn't since. It was certainly a unique time, and well worth remembering. Thanks Carmi.

Mrs. Darling said...

Here from Micheles.

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Hello again, my friend.

I agree with sage, I try to make all my days with my son special and unique. I cannot think of a specific day though, yet.

Here via Michele's this time (imagine that, eh?)

Prego said...

I hate when you get me all sentimental. I was just thinking about my mom this past July 4th. I took her to see fireworks, but we wanted to avoid the chafe of a crowd, so we just pulled down an empty street and watched it from blocks away.

I guess what made it special is that it's one of many memories of my mother that I've retained.

Deana said...

My nephew, out of school, has been spending alot of time with me this summer. We've visited parks, seen movies, hiked...it has made my whole summer experience unique as I have never had a summer at home (as an adult) let alone with a child.

I like the name "Cranked" for that photo.

Oh, Michele says "hi". Happy Weekend.

surcie said...

My husband and I went out to fancy restaurant for a luscious meal--without our child!--last week and stayed out late. Hadn't done that in a long time.

surcie said...

My husband and I went out to fancy restaurant for a luscious meal--without our child!--last week and stayed out late. Hadn't done that in a long time.

Pearl said...

You're really good at storytelling. I enjoyed that.

Miele? the same ones that make washing machines?


A specific day or instance of anecdote? Good question. Nothing leaps to mind.

Michele sent me.

Nienke said...

The whole family was having dinner at our parents' house. I refused dessert and my young nephew (maybe 5 years then?) asked why. I told him because I wanted to lose weight. He told me not to do that because, this way, there's more of me to love.
{{{sigh}}}

Nienke said...

oh oh, forgot to say I'm here via Michele's!

Killired said...

another cool pix! i posted a pix of my bike on my blog yesterday! but it's not my pix... got it from the internet somewhere...

Paste said...

Nice post, I used to have a motorbike, I miss it. here from Micheles today.

mar said...

My immediate family is some 11K km away so I treasure every moment we are together, Carmi. It is alwyas special. Here via Michele's this time. Learned a new word, actually Fleck is a German word for stain I know, but didn't know there is an English expression like it... this is one thing I love about reading blogs!!!

KaraMia said...

"Finds" are the most precious of possesions I always think. My memory would be when my mom was in the hospital right before she passed away, She had been in a coma but had woken up and for the first time in weeks was alert. She couldn't speak but when she saw me this beautiful smile overcame her face and it was lit with absolute joy....for me. I knew in that moment how much she loved me. It radiated from her, it was the last time I would see her smile. It's my bitter sweet memory.

Dara said...

When I went to CT 2 years ago, I spent an afternoon with my best friend painting her living room a luscious purple. There was a lot of silliness and laughter involved, and the satisfaction of seeing the personality of the room change with each swipe of the roller. After seeing her daily as my college roommate 25 years ago, these brief moments we spend together every few years are even more special. Michele says hi.

The Flamingess said...

I spent a day in the mountains with my mother. At the ripe old age of 25, I had never been in snow (So. Cal girl). She insisted on pulling me around on a sled.
We thawed out from the snow ball fight with many Irish Coffees.

srp said...

Here from Michele.

What a wonderful day with your son. Last summer Nyssa and I got up early, just before sunrise and drove down to the beach. There were a few people there but we were almost alone. We sat on the beach towels, felt the cool breeze off the ocean and watched the seagulls. We waited for the sunrise, then reveled in the pinks, blues and finally, gold highlights that danced on the water. It was magic because it was just us and I knew we might not get to have this time again. When they are 20 their lives pull away and become ever so busy.

Sissy B. said...

Here from Michele...although I do enjoy your posts on AME's site. You have an extrordinary way with words.

Chrissie said...

Hi Carmi,
Visiting from Michele's.
I love to antique shop! I can't think of any "special" moments right off the top of my head, but I did find my favorite board game at Goodwill about a week ago or so, Balderdash. Have you ever played?

Enjoyed your post!

Plain Jane said...

I think mine would have to be the trip last year to the Amish country with my mom. I loved every moment of it.

Lisa said...

In most recent memory, it would be taking my oldest daughter out to lunch (letting her play hooky from school) and then taking her to get her ears pierece at the mall. All for her birthday. It was a special day for her. But I think even more so for me. She's a pre-teen now, and the time she'll want to hang out with boring old mom will be less and less...

Steph said...

Carmi - I love your perspective on this diamond in the rough. They're the best and most valuable finds.
And your previous post about your wife and family, well that just about made me cry. 14 years of loving and creating...and still you would choose it again...you should all be very proud. I can only pray that I find that too one day. That's one of the reasons I've been single for so long. I'm holding out for it. Thanks for reminding me that it does indeed exist.

Shan said...

Ah, another photo to add to the psych-list and you have certainly struck me as one, Carmi.