This was one of the best weekends of the summer, I think because it is one of the last and so felt all the sweeter. Soon, my time will not be my own, and when things get back to normal it will be quite solidly autumn. Late autumn. Winter looming.
So this sun-drenched, carefree weekend was especially lovely. Everything went right. We didn't get the scorching heat and soggy humidity that had been predicted. Boscoe had two excellent walks on Saturday, trotting along all the way through the park and past the Conservatory in the morning, and going willingly on an evening walk of more than a mile, over the train tracks and past the rec center.
Doug and I tried out our new bicycles (thanks, Burglars!) on the path along the Mississippi. It was lovely, watching the barges and the gulls and then swooping down through dark woods, the trail dappled with early golden leaves.
Both elderly mothers are doing fine.
We ate like kings (we always eat like kings).
The annoying neighborhood band had a party and the music didn't go all night. (They had said they would wind it up by 5 p.m. and they only missed that by two hours.)
I am reading an excellent, excellent book. ("The Post-Birthday World," by Lionel Shriver. What that woman doesn't know about people, and relationships, and how fickle the heart can be...)
I am eating tomato after tomato off the vine.
My book was reviewed quite favorably in the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer. They love me in North Carolina!
So what's my rant? It's my same-old same-old rant. It seems foolish in context, but it's an annoyance, to say the least. And it is this: Pedestrians on the bike path.
One of my late-evening joys is a spin or two around the lake on my bike. The sun is setting, the herons are skinny silhouettes against the pink and blue sky, the air is cooling. And there are people on the bike path. Walking. Walking away from me, sometimes wearing earbuds so they can't hear me come up behind them. Sometimes they are pushing strollers, or walking with dogs, or walking two or three or four abreast, clogging the trail that is meant specifically for, um, bicycles.
I try to be polite. I call out a cheery (and testy), "Hello! Passing you!" And they sometimes dont' even turn around (earbuds) or they scatter, looking annoyed, though I am not the scofflaw here. I'm pretty used to this, though I find it irritating and baffling--why do they walk on the bike path when there is a pedestrian path six inches away? Why, if they must walk on the bike path, do they walk in the same direction as traffic--which means they cannot see me coming? And why if they absolutely must walk on the bike path not facing traffic do they wear headphones so they can't hear the traffic, either?
I roll my eyes.
For several weeks, I thought the worst example was the family that decided to sit down on the bike path, at the bottom of a hill, to have their picture taken. If I hadn't slowed down and veered into the grass, that would have been an entirely different picture.
But now I have new villains: The two pretty blonde women who were walking up the bike path toward me the other day. They were walking side by side and chatting away on a lovely Sunday evening, and my bike was aimed right toward them. They glanced at me, continued chatting, did not get out of my way. I had to slow way down so as to avoid killing them, and as I did I said, as politely as I could, "This is the bike path, by the way," in case they didn't know.
As I glided down the hill I heard them screeching after me. "Yeah, thanks for letting us know!" one of them yelled, in tones of great sarcasm. The other one yelled, too, but I only caught the first part of her tirade because by then I was biking as fast as I could in the other direction. "Yeah, good thing you ---" was all I caught, but it was enough.
Yeeeeks. They looked like nice women, nicely dressed, perhaps in their early 30s, sensible mom-like women, not weeping, not noticeably in trauma, out for a pleasant Sunday evening stroll just as I was out for a pleasant Sunday evening bike ride.
Their reaction to my eight words was so extreme that I decided it had nothing to do with me, really. They must be upset by something else, or perhaps they just aren't as nice as they look. Still, I had to bike around and around and around the lake to get their reaction out of my system and allow the sunset and the herons and the lovely breeze to work their magic. Which, of course, in time, they did.