There are spiders on my legs.
Why are there spiders on my legs you ask?
This morning as the riders rolled out on their bikes, I drove to a park about 20-miles down the road, parked the car, and then parked myself under a tree to write for a bit. Ok, I'll admit I was angsty from not biking so I couldn't actually just sit without being distracted immediately.
So I did 20 minutes worth of random parking lot stretches and push-ups until I was out of breath enough to take a breather and enjoy sitting in the grass (and a little dirt too) by a good sitting tree.
I was casually sprawled out on my no-longer-clean towel, typing away on the cheap bluetooth keyboard I bought so my thumbs would stop cramping up while trying to blog via my phone. While talking to Gabby, our Dream Team leader, I had hyped up my idea for my blog post about Pittsburgh. I even had a quality first line written down. I was pretty excited and thought about it during long rides, but completely forgot it while off my bike. So naturally I spent the week procrastinating on delivering my overhyped and soon-becoming-irrelevant belated blog post.
Sitting in the park today, I finally committed to writing it. I made it through an entire paragraph. I was on a roll. Who knows, maybe I could have finished it by the time the bikers caught up to us. Unfortunately, I'm easily distracted when I'm a bit sleep deprived... and just in general, so it didn't take much for something to steal my attention.
Just ask anyone on the trip about my great dog spotting challenge. I'm up to 189 dogs, and about an equal number of derailed trains of thought, probably more, if I'm being honest. Maybe I should write a post about my great dog-spotting challenge instead of vaguely referencing it at the bottom of each post. Writing about dogs would surely be easier than trying to remember Pittsburgh perfectly - - the way that the sand squished between my toes at the giant artist's sandbox that was Randyland, or the way 6,000 bikes shined (and rusted) hanging from the ceiling and walls of Bicycle Heaven, or the way that regret never tasted so sweet as my dairy-filled raspberry chocolate truffle milkshake from The Milk Shake Factory.
I was trying to remember these key details when I saw a small spider dart across my knee. It disappeared pretty quickly, so I tried to retrace my thoughts. I mentally hopped back on my bike saddle, returning to the miles of two-lane bike paths that ran along the three rivers of Pittsburgh. With spider guest #1 well on its way to wherever it was going, I thought I was safe.
Far from it.
My fingers began type a very different story as my comfy seat by the tree somehow became the main bug attraction in the small town of Elmore, Ohio.
The gnats swooped by in a quick cloud, carried by the warm Ohio breeze. Scrunching my eyes, and swatting them away, I turned valiently back to my keyboard, only to have an extra terrible mosquito bite the bottom of my foot. I'm not sure if you've had the misfortune of this experience, but an itchy mosquito bite on your foot is worse than the nagging feeling that you should probably finish your story about Pittsburgh instead of writing about bugs and spotting dogs. Mosquito swatted away, itching my foot with one hand, and typing with the other, another spider began crawling up my leg. This spider was taking its time instead of speeding across me the way the other spider did.
I was never one to be afraid of spiders. My cousins and I once kept a wolf spider for a pet once. We named him "Wolfy" and successfully scared my mom a couple of times. I guess I'll admit that in some cousin-conspiracy cases, spiders are cool, but this one overstayed its welcome, and it was distracting me from finally recording my fondest Pittsburgh memories. So I swept it away with my hand, banishing it back to the suburban grasslands, only to have the ants come marching in. I'm sure they were trying to scare me away from my prime location by the tree, or maybe they were coming to eat the last little bit of my Clif Bar...
At any rate, a rational human would have fled to the safety of the air conditioned, bug-sealed car by now. But it was beautiful outside, I was comfy, and I was determined to finish my post, even if it no longer had anything to do with Pittsburgh, and had everything to do with my current predicament.
I looked up to see three people bike past in identical cycling jerseys that matched mine. I welcomed the excuse to snatch up my things and leap up out of the spider-filled grass, leaving my blog post lonely, neglected, and unfinished yet again - at least until late in the night when the rest of the world's distractions, whether they be bugs, chores, dinner, unpacking, or impromptu team haircuts, had died down and gone to bed. Sometimes I wonder why I'm most productive after 9 pm, late into the night. Sometimes I wonder why I can't direct my train of thought to daylight. Sleep deprivation makes me more easily distracted, but the only time I can really focus in the first place is when I should be sleeping, long after the distractions of the world are asleep or buzzing and crawling around so e other poor person trying to focus.
Weird sleep schedules are fine for college, but don't really work out so well when you have a 6 am wake up call to go bike 80 miles. As I sat in Elmore, Ohio, thinking of things to write about Pittsburgh, I selectively forget that I almost passed out while waiting for dinner the first night we arrived. (I'm ok now). That was not exactly a fun time to remember. I recall it now as the clock strikes midnight and I'm preparing myself for another 82 mile ride early tomorrow morning.
The spiders in the park today were a very real tangible distraction, yet I suppose in whatever kind of post this intended post-about-Pittsburgh has become, you could call them a metaphor for all my distractions (and yours if you have them too). It's only now that they're gone that I realize their effects. It's only now that the world and its spidery distractions are sleeping that I realize how many directions my thoughts are pulled in everyday. I'm sure other people listening to me speak notice them jump from topic to topic. Sometimes I notice the confused look in their eyes when my train of thought completely details and they're left lost in the surrounding wilderness.
Current Dog Total- 189