They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it: Dallas on a bike. Four months. In hellish heat, in freezing drizzle, Maple Leaf carried me. In flipflops, in heels, in Wellies, in a good mood, in a foul mood, pulling the dog’s carriage, hauling groceries, going out to dinner, going to the opera. Dallas is flat and flooded. The streets are wide. Drivers are so surprised to see us, they come to a dead stop. When I wave at them, they wave back. Only two tried to run me over. Clearly, Dallas needs us. Drop your gym membership and get on your bike.
With only a month between school semesters, I didn’t have enough time to ride Maple Leaf from TX to Montreal. I had to choose: bring Tibby on the plane with me, or Maple Leaf. I left Maple Leaf behind. We explored Chicago and NYC together. You were preceded by Hot Pepper, Rinkydink, and Salmonella. Your chain fell off once a month. You had just three flats in 8 years. Your higher gears either never worked, or were the only ones that did, which was loads of fun going up the Harlem Hill and the Bronx hills. Maple Leaf was a therapy bike: pulling over next to nervous dogs to pet them helped them get over their fear of bikes (looking at you, Jackie the New Yorkie). I’ve not had a home, but I’ve never not had a bike. My wings are clipped. Farewell, Maple Leaf.
So after the 109 degree heat through most of September, which wasn’t supposed to be that warm, the monsoons came. We weren’t supposed to get 28 inches. Manholes burbled mud. Kids’ Halloween costumes turned to paste in the knee-deep puddles. When the rains left, it was 48 degrees, and me with nothing warmer than fishnet stockings because it wasn’t supposed to be that cold. Back in NY, I had wished for the wettest year on record in Dallas, thinking that would break the heat. Next time, I’ll wish for the dismantling of the NRA.
Some people in Dallas have so much money, they swap it. They donate to one another’s causes. They believe in culture, but not on their front lawns. Not a soul stirs in the residential streets. Keep that drumming, those festivals, those crafty markets in Deep Ellum, in Bishop Arts, gentrified for that purpose. On our street: order. We drive to Art on Saturday night. We greet one another and promise a dinner date. We won’t keep it because we’ll see one another at the next fundraising gala, over dinner. And every now and then, we run for president.