As I was loading up my car this morning with mail for my tour of the Saline Valley low lands a Letter Carrier and WWI (Ed Note: That can’t be right.) infantry veteran yelled out, “How do you like it now Pard!” He was referring to the fact that it wasn’t going to be an easy day.
I replied, “Couldn’t be better.”
“Wait until you get a taste of the real world, out here on the street,” he yelled back. Referring to the fact that Letter Carriers have to walk, “The Street,” while rural carriers get to deliver mail from their car.
I’ve always been fascinated by this phrase “The Real World,” It’s commonly invoked in grade school to warn about middle school, then high school, then college, and then in college to warn about life outside the ivory tower. I caught myself using it when I was a teacher and one day I told my class that it was dumb saying. I was like, “This is the the real world; school, college, your first job, your life at home, your last job, whatever, its all real. It all counts.
I caught myself thinking of the phrase the other day, see we’re approaching June, prime riding season. The last few days of May are both glorious and tough as a teacher. Tough because the kids are crazy, everything is done and everyone just wants it to be over, and glorious because you know that you’re about to get a wonderful summer break. I would have my bicycle tour paid for and planned out and usually in early June I would be heading out for an awesome week of bike riding then looking forward to a couple of months of more bike riding without the pesky “Real World” to get in my way.
Last Winter I formed a plan where I would train up and try my hand at the local mountain bike races. I should mention that the local mountain bike races are 3 hours away in Missouri. I realized back in March that I wasn’t going to do this. Despite my big plan I was hundreds of miles off my training goals and when it came time to go to the first race I decided it was too wet. When it came time to go to the second, I decided I just really didn’t want to.
When you do the math it just doesn’t add up, I could spend over a hundred dollars in gas and fees to drive 3 hours and do a 7 mile lap in some dinky little park, or I could get a ride with my good friends and drive 30 minutes to some of the best trails in the Midwest, and no one collects any fees, oh and when I bonk my friends will usually wait on me.
So I’m not sure if I’m in the real world yet, it seems real enough. I have plenty of time to ride and great people to ride with. Sure it’d be nice to have a couple months off to look forward to but I think I’ll manage.