The Bailout Line

As a result of Barb Chamberlain tweeting my last blog post, I’ve made some amazing connections via Twitter, the DM, and email. All I can say is WOW! What a gal. Who knew so many people would be inspired by the tales of my own stupidity? So now I feel a bit obligated to get bloggy with it about bikes, so here’s a quick story.

I went on two fantastic mountain bike rides this past weekend, and during one of the rides, we met up with the co-captain of our cycling team. Ben Shaklee, or as we like to call him, The Shak Attack. Man alive, this dude can rip on a bike, and he does it on a single-speed hardtail. If you now nothing about bikes but you know about computers, then let’s say, he’s in full-on dial-up mode yet he somehow does all the same interwebs work like he was on lightening fast WiFi. He pulls up next to you, and you think, okay, I can hang with this hardtail dude. He can’t even shift and he’s going to wear out with no suspension. Wrong! He wipes the floor with folks on 100 miler races, and he’s super swell guy to boot.

We see Ben, and he decides to ride with us–I am not the get up early and ride kind of killer. I routinely respond to invites that I am in full-on hippy mode on the weekends, so no, um, won’t be meeting you for a ride at 8AM. Have fun! I get up way too early for the jobby job, so the hobby jobs have to happen on unstructured time or I will go insane. I like me some sleeping in when I can. Ben was out riding solo and it was awesome to see him. Join us!

So here I am, dropping in on trails behind two incredible mountain bikers. Possibly some of the best in the Bellingham. Alright, dudes, I think, I’m going to stay with you. Three switchbacks later, they are gone. Boom, out of sight. I had to hit the brakes because my mind became paralyzed with fear going that fast. (You are going to die, said my brain. Slow down, loser.).

I slowed down and took the bailout lines. A bailout line is an easier trail around something harder like an obstacle. Say for instance, there is a giant boulder that you could “roll” off of if you were badass on the trail. If you are not a badass, then you take the bail out line around the boulder. The easier route. The bailout line. For skiers/snowboarders–You take the blue run instead of the black diamond. I frequently take the bail out line, and I’m cool with that.

Queen of the Bailout Line: A Memoir

The dudes waited for me at the fork in the trail. I get there five minutes later (epic time delay in cycling). “Did you guys ride that boulder?” I ask. They looked at each other like a small kitten just spoke to them. (Lookie how cute. Let me tickle your belly. Awww).

“You mean that roller? Brah, you can totally ride that,” said my feminist loving husband who calls me Brah as a term of endearment when we’re riding bikes.

“He rode that way better than me,” Humble Shak Attack says, “but rock on, Alyson. High-five for the bailout line. That berm is hard too.”

YES! And Thank You, Shak Attack. Sometimes even the bail out line is hard too. And boy howdie, I think that’s a memoir title.

All I want to do is be outside…boo hoo. These lovely nice days make it really hard for me to focus on the jobby job, and I must. This morning, I found some tempting distractions for my thoughts and ideas from friends near and far in my inbox. I counted myself lucky. I petted my dog, sipped my espresso, and read a beautiful blog post from a friend of mine that I thought had given up blogging. To make a long story short, she felt that pervy dudes were checking out photos of her daughters. She connected her blog to FaceTheBook and some “Likes” came from strangers that didn’t seem like fellow Mama Bloggers. They *looked* like perverts. She got creeped out. So much of her life is very public: she’s a writer, she and her husband own a business and an art gallery. Her location is easy to find. Nobody likes their location being triangulated by pervy weirdos.

And this is a shame. Andrea is a force of nature. A writer’s writer. A fantastic bloggity blog blogger. A strong intelligent woman, and unlike some Mama Bloggers who want to showcase all the perfections of motherhood, she is straight up hilarious about all of the disasters. She uses humor, wit, and a keen blend of self-deprecation to tell how it is. She never tells you how it should be–that’s why I dig her. From the outside, Andrea’s life is Sunset Magazine perfect, but she’s so down to earth. Easy to love. Easy to be around. We always start where we left off, and so many other people–parents or not–can benefit from her writing. Pervs are on the Internets. True. But they are everywhere your daughters are, so what do we do? This is not an easy question.

But here’s what I do know, Andrea’s daughters will not have the wool pulled over their eyes easily. All I can say is look out future, these future women are going to be great and do great things. Aunt Alyson knows it. And yes, you can paint my face like Dee Snyder with make-up any time. I wish I saw you girls more. I miss your faces.

Around the time that I started graduate school as an English major, my friend Andrea just started dating Andrew, or Drew as she calls him now. Most of the friends I hung out with then we’re single or newly single like me. I didn’t know Andrea the day she showed up to help me move out of the apartment I shared with somebody–he and I were in the process of blowing each other’s life apart. I needed help moving my possessions, so what a way to meet a new friend!

She showed up with my good friend to help, and she was wearing this mini-skirt, cute but impractical shoes, and a very nice blouse. I thought, “Okay, how is this person going to help me carry my furniture? She’s dressed to go out.” My other friend was a Carhart wearing construction working girl, so I was bit shocked to see this beautiful “city girl” show up as her friend. Turns out, I was SO wrong. Andrea picked up my bookcase all by herself and carried it to my friend’s truck. She took over and got shit done while I cried through my directions of where my stuff should go.

Turns out, she’s native Alaskan–nowhere near a city girl–who is tough as nails and we were fast friends. She met me at such a low point in my life, right? I was closing a major chapter of my life and I’m so glad she showed up. When we went out there was always some forlorn dude trying to swoop in and take Andrea away from our girls’ outing. We started calling her Mandrea. To put it simply, she’s one of those women who is just as gorgeous on the inside as she is on the outside. If I was the jealous type, I’d really envy her. But I’m not, so I truly feel lucky to be her friend. She’s witty, smart, and above all, a fantastic writer (repetition here for emphasis, English major). She’s Drew’s dream woman, and I adore him equally as much. They’re a couple that makes you think: Yes, those two. Together. The universe is doing something right.

So, Andrea, and others who may not blog or share things on the Internets because of weirdos, pervs, mean girls, poorly behaving yahoos…you name it, we shouldn’t let them control what we share online or anywhere. And sometimes, I know,  readers,  you may not be too amused with how I am breaking the rules of grammar. Writing the way I shouldn’t. Breaking. The. Rules.

Thanks for the email, Rude Person, letting me know that you can’t believe I was an English teacher. I didn’t respond to you, in case you haven’t noticed. You did, however, use “their” when you meant “there”–but who I am to judge about your level of shit baggery? You took the time to email me that  “you aren’t too amused” about my writing? Seriously?! Watch me ruin; the semi-colon. Watch me–use the dash. I’ll, use, a, comma, any, where, I, want. For the record, I’m not an English teacher anymore. And I’ve stopped caring. (I just started a sentence with AND, mwhhhhaaa haaaaahaaa!)

People like you make it hard to share–but you know what–I’m a lemonade from lemons type gal so you reminded me of a song! Sebadoh, yes, “Not Too Amused” and Rude Emailer, “I’m tired of listening to you.”

If we don’t share because of the bozos, we’re taking the bailout line when we really should punching it off that boulder.

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About Alyson Indrunas

Always learning about instructional design, educational technology, #OER, professional development, adult education, and the federated wiki. A Memoir.
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