Sunday, March 21, 2010

Timid and shy and scared am I/of things beyond my ken

I love The Sound of Music.

During my first bike trip 25 years ago, I ratcheted myself up the sides of Yorkshire dales and Highland glens singing Mother Abbess’s number when she exhorts Maria to Climb Every Mountain.

But when the movie first came out I was quite a little girl, and I had a crush on the teenage Liesl. I can still remember most of the words to her big solo.

Now, I’m not sixteen going on seventeen, nor am I innocent as a rose, but sometimes I’m still anxious about new experiences. However, it’s only by trying new things that we learn and give ourselves choices. Whether I want to do it or not, I know how to bake a loaf of bread, change a spark plug, and paint a wall. I can hem, split wood, and write a story.

But I was timid about fixing my bicycle. Oh sure, I can repair a flat and clean the chain and even, if pressed, tighten a cable or two. But after a Series of Unfortunate Events at my local bike shop last spring, I decided I really must be able to do more.

Recyclistas is a local bike cooperative that offers a three-hour Do It Yourself class on Saturdays, so yesterday I gathered my nerve and my grubbiest jeans and got into it.

The instructors were two young men with excellent teaching skills and, to my mind, quite extraordinary patience. They provided individual hands-on training for each of us four participants, all the while coping with a steady flow of cyclists who came and went with requests for advice or tools or bench space.

I – and by I I mean I – replaced brake and gear cables, adjusted the front derailleur, learned how my disk brakes work, and replaced the chain.

It took me about twelve times as long as it would have taken the mechanic/teacher, and still I feel so empowered.

No, never mind feel.

I am empowered.

So now I’m all about the Mother Abbess again.


  1. Good for you, Rachel. When you get tired of the Mother Abbess, you might try "I am Woman, Hear me Roar." :)

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