Last night, I was afflicted — as the gray day got grayer — with what I called “inexplicable melancholy.” But it was easily explicable.
I neglect the details of my life all week, from my kitchen to my laundry, and Sunday night always seems like my tiny, tiny space for getting everything done. I need to clean my whole apartment in two hours, and launder a month’s worth of clothes, and get all the dishes done, and then give my lonely cats some attention, or I feel REALLY bad about myself. It’s a cussload of unnecessary pressure that wouldn’t be so weighty if I’d just, you know, spread my chores throughout the week instead of relegating them all to a few sad hours of Sunday night.
So, as the melancholy settled upon me, I tweeted that I needed a bike ride.
My buddy Zach responded that he’d bike with me. “I don’t know,” I texted back, immediately reversing what I’d just tweeted. “I got a case of the Sunday sads, and I have a lot to get done.” “You’ll feel better if you bike!” he said. And so we agreed to ride together. Around 7 p.m., we met up (Zach on his vintage pink Schwinn, with its mind-jarringly loud brakes and its “you can hear it three blocks away” bell; and me on my Trek road bike) and aimlessly rode around our neighborhood. We pedaled up to the Lowry Avenue bridge (“I always forget it’s up there!” said Zach) and rolled past its beautiful but easily taken for granted view of downtown Minneapolis.
We rode up Marshall toward the Stone Arch Bridge, all the while talking about our jobs, and our relationships, and whatever else. I can’t really remember. “I always forget how much better biking makes me feel,” said Zach. “I think so much more clearly.”
At the Stone Arch, whose falls were roaring, I shouted at Zach, “Let’s bet on how many walkers'll block the bike path!” I looked ahead and saw three or four filling up the bike space on the Stone Arch. I’m often conflicted about riding on Stone Arch because it means dodging walkers who unthinkingly meander away from their zone without looking for bikes. But not this time. As the Sunday night walkers saw Zach and me rolling toward them, they cleared off the walkway and went to their lane of the shared space. They gave us our room. We gave them theirs. We shared. Lovely.
Zach and I stopped for coffee and tea, and drank our drinks outside the Depot off Washington Ave. We talked about watching Cosmos (I haven’t been, he has) and converting roads and highways into 24/7 solar panels that give energy to everything around them. We talked about how resistant people are to change, how stuck on the traditional idea of transport they are, how threatening bikes, transit, trains and car sharing are, for some reason, to convention. But all of that is so fascinating to us!
“I better go home and do my chores,” I said, and as the sunset neared, we pedaled through downtown Minneapolis toward our homes. With my “inexplicable melancholy” long gone, I spent the next three hours cleaning my apartment and went to bed exhausted.