Countless members of the masses occupying this planet would fiercely debate the far-out notion that life is all smooth-sailing and nothing but a stress-free joy ride full of only walking-through-a-beautiful-meadow bliss.
We want a few bumps in the road anyway, don’t we? When we hit those bumps a little faster than maybe we planned to, as we deal with the damage in the aftermath, that’s when we learn to overcome challenges, that’s when we build character. At least that's what my wife and I have told our two sons over the years after numerous hockey game defeats.
Plus, doesn’t endless smoothness eventually add up to mundane, even dull? Bumps in the road shake things up, and sometimes when the chips fall where they may afterward, things are different, and sometimes different is better. We wouldn't want to be like Spongebob Squarepants in that one episode when he tries to become "normal" and in the process not only sacrifices his wacky personality, but actually takes on a smooth-around-the-edges, un-square-like physical appearance, would we?
But, sometimes, we want a smooth ride. We don’t want our bones jarred and our brains tossed around inside our skulls when life’s speed bumps sneak up on us and maybe we’re moving a little too fast. Even if it costs us a little money, in the end maybe we do prefer that flat, groomed pathway in life more often than not.
OK, enough with all the life-sized metaphors and philosophal prose. When you have a golf cart that’s more than two decades old, it’s going to provide you a pretty bumpy ride. When you have a bike that’s around 20 years old, and you purchased it in used condition in the first place, it’s going to squeak a little bit, creek a little bit, and you’re going to feel the bumps along the path when the aged tires roll over them. The ensuing discomfort caused by said bumps is only magnified when the design of the bike's seat is pictured next to "punishment...cruel and unusual" in the dictionary.
But, hey, the cart was a great deal. It runs great. And that bike? It’s a Trek mountain bike, and no one will argue the notion that Trek makes a pretty decent bike.
Pretty much every time I golf at Minakwa in Crookston or the Sand Hill River Golf Course in Fertile, our old cart "Linda" is providing the transportation. But one recent Friday afternoon, I snatched up our oldest son for an impromptu father-son golf outing in Fertile and didn't feel like strapping the old Yamaha on the trailer. The Fertile course had recently purchased a new fleet of carts, and I'll admit that I found the carts’ pretty silver color intriguing, even enticing, and I had wanted to take one for a spin for several weeks.
Page 2 of 2 - So we rented one, and during our round of golf, we were floating on air. We played well, but it was the smooth ride that had us giggling like little girls. Who knew carts had shock absorbers that actually absorb shock? I haven't looked at Linda the same since.
Then, the other day, while scanning our garage that's full of several bikes for our whole family, about half of them laid-up for various mechanical reasons or other wear and tear, my wife and sons ventured out and came out with a new bike. It belongs to no one in particular, my wife and I stressed; instead, it's the "family" bike to be ridden by whomever happens to need it when it happens to be available in the garage.
My wife and I took a spin the other evening, and in her typical fashion, she insisted on riding my old Trek so I could test out the new Trek. Suffice it to say, we ended up riding around eight miles because it was just about the slickest, smoothest-riding bike I've ever had the pleasure of sitting on. (Although, yes, the seat has about as much cushion as a piece of burnt toast.)
Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing, not that I'd want it that way, anyway. We picked pretty much the hottest, most stiflingly humid evening to take our extended bike ride, and neither one of us brought any hydration. When we made a pit stop in the RiverView Hospital lobby around the halfway point to chug numerous little cups of water by their water station, I was tempted to check-in with the receptionist, get myself a room and die.
But I didn’t check myself in. I persevered for a few more miles, mostly because of the quality of the company, but also because that bike, it was like riding on a cloud.
Sometimes in life, that’s all you could ever want, or even need. Now, about Linda...