This is part II of the impromptu playground series… If you missed Part I, you can read it here.
So I’m not sure if my wife reads my blog. I asked her once if she read one of my posts, and she said she did with no elaboration, comments or words otherwise. I’m not sure if she was terse because she really didn’t read it and didn’t want to hurt my feelings, or if she did and didn’t want to start a big self-adulating discourse by yours truly (very likely), or perhaps she did not want to take away from our reality TV binge?
Either way, I’m going to find out really soon. This is a deep, dark secret I’ve yet to share with her. I got into mountain biking for about a season (I’m not actually sure when Mountain biking season is, but I’m talking about a three-month span). Subsequently, I bought a trailer so that I could tow Jack behind.
One summer afternoon about two years ago, Jack and I decided to trek to Tri-City Park; it’s about three quarters of a mile from doorstep to swingset. We hadn’t exercised our dog nearly enough, so I decided to bring Bruno along. I over-inflated the tires on the trailer for less drag, then hooked it up to the bike with a lynch pin system, fastened Jack’s helmet and secured him in the trailer.
Just before we left, I ran back in the house for something, came back out, mounted the Wahoo, closed the garage door and grabbed the leash. [Bruno on a leash is kind of like me snorkeling; I kind of freak out for about the first 30 seconds, then I become quite the apt pupil]. We made our way down the slight grade of the cul-de-sac, and, predictably, I had 75 pounds of Catahoula jerking my chain for the first 100 yards, but he hit his stride by the time we got to the outlet street. We traveled up another asphalt artery, crossed a 50-MPH street, and went down another residential downgrade for about a quarter mile. Every so often, I shouted back to Jack “how you doin’?,” assuming no news was good news.
There’s a inlet to the park that runs between two houses and requires significant maneuvering through with a bike and trailer. I approached it, hopped off my bike only to discover that “no news” was definitely not good news. No news meant THERE WAS NO TRAILER BEHIND ME! Yes, that’s right, I lost my kid. I panicked briefly, dropped the leash, and darted up the grade as if I was vying for a yellow jersey. I’m not sure if the phrase “Oh My God” is blasphemous in this context, but if it is, I’m going to hell 30 times over just for the return leg. I was hoping (to God) not to see a yellow carriage splitting lanes on Placentia Avenue. I didn’t. I re-traced my path and got to the end of a my street quicker than a synapse. A neighbor was driving down. I implored to help me, and I didn’t wait for confirmation as I threw the bike in the bed of his truck. Just then, I heard someone shouting to me from in front of my garage, “he’s up here!”
Turns out, when I laid my bike down to run inside, the pin became “un-lynched.” Jack was sitting in front of the garage the entire time. My neighbor to the north found Jack in a bit of sorts, but not totally inconsolable. After squeezing Jack like a lemon and bringing my heart down to <200 BPM, I re-engaged the trailer, and we retrieved the dog who was waiting patiently, if not totally bewildered, at the precipice of the park; I think we made it to the playground despite the trauma, though honestly, I can’t remember.
The whole debacle reminds me the Luci and Desi vehicle The Long, Long Trailer. The iconic couple are newlyweds who take a trailer on honeymoon. Their adventure follows Murphy’s Law closer than any map, and after several disastrous episodes, Desi’s character (Nicholas Collini) has the following exchange with a park keeper:
Nicholas Collini: Been married long?
Park Keeper: About 31 years.
Nicholas Collini: Have many fights?
Park Keeper: Nope.
Nicholas Collini: Then take my advice: don’t buy a trailer.
My advice: Buy the trailer, but check it twice… and if you do something as stupid as I did, wait at least two years before you tell your wife.
In a related story, I’ve got a slightly used, InSTEP 2008 Quick N EZ Bicycle Trailer for sale!