Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred moments, oh dear
five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure... measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets?
In in midnights, in cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife...
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

2014 is almost gone and... I'm getting old. I'm thinking back about my life and thinking: what have I done with all these minutes?

I decided I'm not going to measure this year's success by how much work I had to do. Somedays I don't do much and some others I, honest-to-God, see the light of day and say: Oh Fuuuu--- it's 6AM already? send a finished file and go to bed.

Money? Nah... that's not a burden, or a joy.

So, how succesful was this little piggy (me) during the year?

I snag a picture and had the shortest chat with Rigoberto Urán during Bike week.
Is that success? being more excited about meeting a two-time Giro D'Italia podium winner than meeting Idina Menzel before the now infamous "Let it goocooooooooooo"?
- yeah, I met her too -

A couple of months ago my friends Maria() and Rafa got engaged and a about month ago they told me I was going to be their cyber "Maid of Honor". We're all social network people so I was all: WHO???? MEEEEE!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!
Is that success? becoming an important part of an important event of a couple of strangers you happened to meet a long ago and now they're the geeky cool friends you like to hang out with and they patiently take care of you even though your super allergic to their cats and you have to drug yourself everytime you visit?

During that same day, they took me on the longest bike ride on-mah-life... 95 kms (almost 60 miles).
Ninety-five kilometers!!!!! 65 from the original route + 30 to and from home.
I normally do, 25-30 kms on a Sunday stroll. The longest ever I did in the US was 50, maybe 60 km but this was waaaaaaay longer, and I was alive.
Once it ended, I rode back to my apartment under the pouring rain, all I heared as I hung my bike on the rack was the doorman asking: "Besides all wet like a puppy, are you ok, Miss?"
Is that success? overcoming your own barriers and doing things you never though possible?

Mr. Big sends his love everytime he can... and everytime he makes me smile and pout a little because I'm not with him snuggled in by his side eating pineapple pizza and watching movies like I should.
Is that success? having someone missing you as much as you miss them?

My sister's getting married and she's been marriage-thoning every Saturday on the last 6 months finding a church, a place for the party, a car, an apartment, furniture... and I've been watching everything from a safe distance, offering help when and where I may be able to.
I remember she mentioned a while ago that I would be fun if I drove the car that was going to take her to the church, so... nice, my part on that wedding was going to be "Driver of the Bride". Sweet!
A couple of weeks ago, the bride and the groom gave me a little box with a wedding invitation with my name and the words "Maid of Honor".
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be my sister's Maid of Honor which means... like in all Hispanic cultures, that I'll be their marriage godmother... oh my God... what were they thinking?? 

Yes, that is success. Thinking, for the last 3 years, how big a failure you are as a role model to one of the most important people in your life and finding out YOU WERE NEVER A FAILURE.

Yes, 2014 has been a great year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Being innocent

Today I went out on my last Sunday bike ride of the year.
Today is the "Day of the holy innocents", it's how catholics call the day when Herod killed all the newborn babies while trying to kill baby Jesus.

Today was like a scene from a Disney movie, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm.
I kept seeing little children taking their Christmas bikes and skates for a ride, actually learning how to ride without training wheels.

I saw a little girl, wearing baby blue skates, with her baby blue helmet, baby blue knee and elbow pads... falling fat on her face, crying because she got her gear all dirty and scratched.

There was this other little guy who ran in front of me and I almost ran him over. All I could do was hit the breaks and scream "Dooooooooooooooooooooon't ever do that again dude!!!!". I think he was more freaked out because of the sound and high pitch of my terrified voice than the fact that I could've hurt him.

Of course, someone was funny enough to give his grandma a full-geared bike and found out she was in way bettet shape than any of the million and a half people out on their bikes today and was now running after her.

Three little girls were out with their parents, all of them on their brand new Barbie bikes, all of them without their training wheels, each one of them going in opposite directions and their parents freaking out, screaming, and most probably regretting having those little side wheels taken off.

It was like a Disney movie, everyone was happy, everyone was friendly. Even the mom of the kid I almost killed.

But, like every little happy story, it must come to an end.

As I got home, I found my Twitter feed filled with pictures of a guy I remember having met a while ago. I checked Facebook and it was just the same... he was dead.

He was friends with most of my bike friends and friends with many of my former students from 10 years ago. Oh... no.

Cesar was dead, a group of teenagers thought his bike had more value than his life and shot him while he was up-hill training in a small town 3 hours from Bogotá... as his mom and dad were pacing him, guarding him, so other cars wouldn't run him over. They saw him died. Is there a worst memory for a parent?

Regular people barely knew his name, but among the bike people, he was one of the most important people in the city. Not only he was a bicycle activist but he was actually doing real work in the real world -- in the real city, to make it a better place for bikes. He co-wrote the book on bikes I now treasure on my desk.

Today, we're all Cesar, we won't stop riding, we're not afraid.

I join Carlos Pardo when he says: "I know Saint Peter is a cyclist, and he'll send you to the deepest of Hells, to a frozen lake where you deserve to be with Cain, Anthenor, Ptolomeo and Judas, and every single bike robber who's had the stupid and God-forbbiden idea of killing a person.".

You deserve nothing... assholes.