I lifted (and gave a bit of a clean-up to) this from an email I sent my girlfriend the other day. I’m not sure whether I have dipped into self-indulgent three-hour bongo jam territory here, but this blog is kind of about how it all works and what I am thinking, so too was this text. (G, I hope you don’t mind).
I was thinking about what you said about my thoughts in the mail you sent and well, I kind of like that you like them, and I had a good one today and I wanted to show you how it took shape, it matters to me that - they are after all the key to me.
So I was riding today, (I do that sometimes miss). It was actually a great day for it, and I was solo, which makes my brain function and I had been trying to punch out a blog or some writing just before I left so things were still ticking over. And I came up with something, just a line, but one that I instantly loved (they either arrive here or in bed) and for the first time almost ever, I thought about how I got to it and I dunno why, but I wanted to tell you about it.
A guy popped into my head, I saw him when I was having my coffee in Vic park yesterday, he was begging, he had just got some coin out of a group of foreign Uni students and he came wandering up to me, filthy red trackie pants, dirty faded denim jacket and a floppy hat pulled low, and he was old baby, grey stringy stubble and a face that looked like the back of my couch. I knew what I was going to say to him before he even got to me, ‘I had no money’ and he must have known too by the look on my face. Not that I was offensive, but I guess a skilled beggar gets to know every single pantomime we play so well they know who is a giver and who is a no-no.
It was this moment, that for some reason, flashed into my head while I was riding up a short hill out the back of Weston, and it was accompanied by the phrase ‘he looked at me like he was about to ask for some years of his life back’. Is this good? I don’t even know if it’s good or not, but I liked it, I liked the desperation it held, I liked the impossibility of what he would be asking and the admission of all the mistakes, all the things that one would love to change but never can.
It’s not really money that someone wants is it? That’s a means to an end, food, shelter, whatever, that’s all that is, what would you ask for if you were really fucked after all? You’d ask the impossible, time and its reversal.
Anyway, no-one reading a cycling Blog will ever give a shit about a man in a park, but the phrase stuck with me and I kind of started to work on it, and build something out of it and I think I did… I took the good bit, the asking of time, forgot the tramp and applied it to myself. I got, after just a few attempts, and after getting to the bottom of the descent to this; ‘I felt like he had just asked me for some years of his life back’, I reckon that’s one nicely crafted metaphor for use at any time in one of my blogs, when I am trying to describe the feeling that someone has asked something of me that is impossible. ‘He’ in this case, would be a manager, or boss, or teammate. It hints at a desperation that goes beyond the normal limits of what you are asked to perform as a rider or even as a person, and that seems to happen all the time.
It’s a tiny, minute little part of something, but I love how it fell into my lap, inspired by real events, and I love how it may get breezed straight over by a reader, or it may stop them and take them to somewhere similar they have been themselves. I want each and every sentence to have that kind of weight, and to have taken a three-hour ride to achieve, and I love how I can show it to you, if indeed I have managed to do so. You watch, that line will sneak up in something I write and you'll know now, where these things come from.