Day 405, April 26, 2021

Finding Joy in an Errand 

Tonight's soundtrack: The Stanley Carke Band, Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2017

After work I took a quick ride down to the quickie mart, also known as the Montague Center Mini-Mart. I perseverated on how to get there longer than it took to make the actual trip. In the end I changed into a sweatshirt, my florescent windbreaker, and exercise pants and made the quick ride down to pick up dump stickers and a loaf of bread.

One has to be intentional to ride the bike, even for short trips, mainly because it means carrying it up from the basement and getting dressed, on a day like today, in warmer clothes. But I chose the bike to get some fresh air, to get my blood flowing a little, to not use the car. One of these days the choice will be easier when we upgrade the shed or eventually put in a garage, but for now there is that added layer to the process that is almost enough to make one decide to take the car, even though it is only a mile or so away. It is one of those intentional things that I suppose marks a person as odd. Like people who carry a pocket watch, or use a flip phone, or drive a car with a stick shift. They are purposeful actions because they bring the purveyor pleasure of some kind. I have a friend who grinds his coffee beans by hand in a little box that bolts to the wall. Now that I remember his coffee grinder, suddenly that seems so much more pleasing than the jarring sharp scrawl of my electric grinder.

When the kids were little and we lived in Amherst, I walked, rode the bus, or rode my bike everywhere. It was convenient and it was almost easier to walk wherever I needed to go. Some days, I'd have my youngest in a stroller and walk up into town. She would fall asleep somewhere along the way and I would shop for records at Mystery Train until she woke up, and then I'd head back home and we'd listen to records while I played with her on the living room floor. 

When we visit relatives in New York, or friends in any city, walking is so much more a part of their lives. It is ironic that in our rural area, we have to be so much more intentional about walking and it has to be a part of an exercise routine instead of just how we get our groceries, or do any of our ordinary errands. The distances are so much greater and there are fewer sidewalks. It is amazing that there was once a whole network of trams, trolleys, and trains that crisscrossed this region. I wonder what that must have looked like. I suppose we can check in a year from now to see if the e-bike has transformed the more routine errands... but to be honest, it is not often that I forget to pick up trash stickers or need to run to the post office. But maybe I can make it something that is more frequent. 

The Montague Center Mini-Mart has been upgrading its offerings. There's now gochujang and a whole shelf of Asian noodles and sauces. I didn't get to look in the cold case, but I know the owner was talking about selling her mother's kimchee and eventually adding more Korean foods. That would be amazing. They also have fresh bread from the Franklin Cooperative Bakery, that was a wonderful find, and it is hard for me a resist a nice bread, so I picked up a loaf to drop into one of my fold out panniers. I need to stop in more regularly so I can see what else new shows up. 

This is all a slow process for me, getting more active again so that I can get to the point where maybe every day after work I will go for a little ride. There is a marvelous little ride past the Bookmill through farm fields and a pedestrian bridge over train tracks. When I am ready to take the road bike out again, that's where I will go. It is a brilliant way to end one's day, speeding down a hill, the wind whipping through your clothes, and the late afternoon sunlight on your face. The hills are a little daunting right now, but I can feel it in my bones, I'll be back to those rides again soon. For now, the e-bike makes short work of a quick jaunt into town and the return steep hill melts away with an intoxicating ease. I could enjoy this lifestyle, riding everywhere. It is like being a child again when the bicycle embodied everything about freedom, speed, and wild abandon. I think we all need to relearn how to capture that sensation, that ease in finding joy and indulging in it.

Take care and ride safe,


From Our Friends:

From Asian Americans Advancing Justice:

Please join Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles for the soft launch of our Bystander Intervention Trainings in partnership with Hollaback!. This is an opportunity for both community members and allies to learn how they can be a part of the solution in the event that they witness an act of hatred. 

We are offering preview sessions on April 29 to friends and family of Advancing Justice – LA and would like to invite you to register to join us for one of our sessions by following the links below. 

Our program will officially launch in May with more dates and times. 

Click here to register for April 29 (4pm-5pm PT)  

For more information on these trainings please visit our website.

From the It Gets Better Project:

Resources and Stories for AAPI LGBTQ+ Communities

To our Asian American & Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ family: we're here for you. Explore resources serving AAPI queer communities and view stories uplifting queer AAPI voices. 

From the NYT:


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