I remember my dad teaching me when I was 7 years old. It was right after Christmas and my gift from Santa was a brand new "big girl bike." It was beautiful. The body was purple and shiny and it had sparkly pink tassels hanging from the handlebars. Dad took me and my sister Mary to the park where I could practice on the basketball courts. Mary was only two years old and wanted nothing more in life than to run aimlessly around the playground in her spare time. Therefore, we often brought her along to do just that. Dad was patient when he taught me how to pedal, brake and balance. He pushed me around the sidewalk until I felt ready (which was probably hours later), then let me go all by myself. Freedom! I felt the wind in my hair as I pedaled around. I was a bit wobbly, but I was doing it. Suddenly, out of freaking nowhere, Mary was directly in front of me and I mean SMACK DAB in front of me. I forgot everything: how to turn, how to stop. I even forgot how to speak or warn Mary what was about to happen. I heard dad yelling from behind me but I froze, my mouth open and my legs dangling uselessly. My feet stopped pedaling and I feel spectacularly to the ground in an attempt to save my sister from her certain demise. I didn't ride a bike again (or attempt to do so) until I was 21 years old.
As I've mentioned before, I've worked at Disney World a time or two. Behind the scenes at a Disney park is a pretty incredible world. And by incredible I mean smelly and disgusting. You walk through a simple partition and suddenly the magic is gone. Boom. Just like that. There's trash everywhere, Snow White is smoking a cigarette in the corner and Mickey Mouse is walking around without his head on.
To get around "backstage," many cast members use bikes. These are owned by Disney and placed at certain spots around the outside of the park for cast members to get around quickly during breaks. One hot afternoon, I decided I was going to make it to the cafeteria to buy my food. Because it was so far away from my work location, I usually just brought lunch and ate in the break room near where I worked. But today I had an Icee in mind.
Icees (or any non-alcoholic frozen beverages) are the elixir to my soul. I dream about them. Even during the winter, I crave them constantly. There's just something about the icy sweet flavor and the consistency that makes me melt (no pun intended). If I'm cranky, I usually just need an Icee, problem solved. Many of my friends and loved ones cling to this certain knowledge. Well, the cafeteria at Disney sold Icees and I NEEDED one that day because it had been a tough day. Earlier a bird had pooped on me in front of a ton of guests (who proceeded to LAUGH at my plight) and I was just done. I made my way backstage and remembered what people had told me about riding a bike. Of course I could ride a bike. How does one forget to ride a bike?
I spotted one and lifted it up off the ground. I stuffed my money in my pocket, balanced myself and climbed aboard. My legs started to pedal and I felt a rush of exhilaration as I wobbled and moved forward. This was happening. I was suddenly a 21-year-old adult who could ride a bike and the world was mine. I could do anything. Suddenly, I felt the familiar feeling of my body cramping up. Again, all of my muscles forgot what to do and I fell in slow motion into the hard cement, my body scraping against the hot floor. To top it off, a large group of custodial cast members witnessed the entire event and watched as I attempted to casually limp back to my work location with a bloody knee. And I never rode a bike again. (I am now 26 years old).
Side note: I know the title of this post is misleading, because it's mostly about how I can't ride a bike, but my love for frozen drinks is so great I couldn't bear using any other title.