Heave my Surly through the brownstone corridor, thinking, fretting. Checked gas? 3 times. Radio for Basil and Frank? Twice. Checked taps? Four times. Door? Three times. Checked sanity?
Mother with pram grimaces as I pass gingerly and head onto the road. Did I turn the kitchen tap off? Be present, fuck the taps. Underdressed again, gusts bristling. Double parking galore along DeKalb Avenue. I pass, apprehensive.
Through busy Brooklyn streets of wayward vans, slushy sidewalks and stampeding pedestrians, I approach the Bridge. Feast in the energizing tranquility of crossing the river, pulled toward architectural feats of curvy metals and steep glass panels. I pocket the peace to last my ride back, when throngs of tourists will enjoy this architectural feat, through selfie-stick and selfishness.
Body wakes up. in Chinatown, with bustling deliveries and shouting fruit sellers. Mid-life-crisis-fitness-freak-alpha-white-male zooms passed in unnecessary bike clothing. He disregards his fellow humans and topples eggplants from a vulnerable crate. He treats his bike like he treats himself — tuned, but punished.
Pedal lethargically up 1st Avenue. The hoisin wafts fade, replaced by seductive scents of dark coffee secreted by the East Village. Citibikers juggle coffee cups and smartphones, with minds on social engagements and weekly agenda, not. helmets and roadworks.
Turn down 29th. Truculent adolescent throws his rucksack to the ground as his bus coasts across Manhattan without him. No bike lane for me, so bullish taxis optimize my body heat. Sneak between lorries and pacey pedestrians, eyeing my desk and my first English Breakfast. I bicker with myself for not being more present on the journey, for lapsing into rumination and internal dialogues.
This fades as I reach my desk, re-energize with work, and gaze inward at my steeping brew. The processed sugar zings through me, helping me to zip through these early hours.