I’m pushing hard on my bike pedals to get up this flat slope. There’s a head wind no matter my direction. My lung capacity is diving. Each coughing spasm leaves my legs weak. This twelve-day illness is perhaps asthma, perhaps pertussis. The air-con ducts spew mold that inflames my lungs. I’m on antibiotics and an inhaler. My sleep is broken up by coughing fits. I’m behind on my writing and reflection. I can’t participate in class for fear of ejecting pieces of lung. My brain won’t rise to the occasion. As they say, the wheel is true but the hamster’s dead.
And I’m still incredulous and furious that we’re spending summer and autumn in 98 degree, Where-is-everyone Texas. We’re missing the best that Montreal has to offer in municipal arts and inclusive culture. Montreal, where it’s 72 degrees and everyone is celebrating summer on the streets. We’ll get there in December, when these effervescent, joyous events are a long-ago memory and the town is bundled in yards of smelly wet wool scarves. When Dallas starts to come to life. Now that’s some backwards.
I found a silver lining to the Texas nonsense. After ten years of missed occasions, I finally get to see Corb Lund play live near Dallas in late August. I bought the tickets online in early June when I was still in New York. I miss the concert anyway. The antibiotics flatten me and I can’t leave my bed.
Alrik’s long-time friend comes to town to meet me and take us out to dinner. I can’t leave the bed that day either. I can’t wheeze through ballet class. I can’t hack in the dark at the movies. I can’t cough on the paintings in over-air-conditioned museums. I can’t choke on my dinner in restaurants. Dallas is off to a slow start.
If nothing else, I’m here for the coursework, which is everything I wished for and more. If I ever get there on this 150 pound bicycle with square wheels and flat tires.