For my birthday this year, my husband got me as bicycle. Sounds like a slightly strange gift for a woman in her early thirties, but it so happens that I asked for it on a whim- after all, what's life without a little mid-crisis?
For anyone who thinks that it's not the most romantic gift on earth, you had to be there when we bought it.
I was critically eyeing the various models on offer at the shop, and finally announced my sole decision criterion -
''I want a purple one''.
The salesman happily showed me an all-purple one, and I happily accepted it. I rode it around in the adjoining parking lot, teetering dangerously as daylight faded. My patient husband watched quietly, holding my purse as I rode.
''Sure, I like it'' I said and then addressed the salesman ''Wrap it up''.
The man began to get the cycle ready, but Vijay then gave me some quiet advice about how the bike looked a little too slender and unsteady, and perhaps I would benefit from something a bit sturdier. ''How about this one instead?'' He pointed to another bike.
I scoffed at it ''It's PINK''.
''Yes, I realize that, but it's actually a better bike...see the handles...and the tyres...and the...'' He went off into some technical sounding explanations, at which point I tuned out.
''No'' I said ''I don't want Pink''. As it is, I was keen on getting a basket up front - very practical, it would be, I thought, but the fact is it looked a little gay - and I mean that in as non-homophobic a way possible - how else can you describe a girly colored slender bike which has a basket up front? Purple was bad enough, actually. But pink? No way.
Eventually though, upon his coaxing I agreed to give his bike a spin and it turned out to be a better ride. Significantly. I was torn. They didn't have that model in any other color. Pink and better ride, or purple and inferior ride?
Vijay then also gave both cycles a spin to help me decide. I watched him with narrowed eyes. There he was, riding around and around the parking lot, on a girly colored ladies cycle, with the little ol' gay basket up front, and worst, still clutching my purse. The phrase ''Why should girls have all the fun'' went through my head, somewhat irrelevantly. This ludicrous sight then suddenly made me a feel a sharp pang in the heart region, possibly something like love. This man would clearly do anything to make sure I bought the ride vehicle. I thought I must take his suggestion seriously, for a change.
But I still couldn't decide, every atom in my body rebelling against a fully pink bike with a basket. Eventually, I asked the fellow to give me a full view of the bike, sans all the wrapping. He dutifully stripped the cardboard away from the body of the pink bike - and I was delighted to see it was not fully pink - I noted distinct streaks of purple on it.
''It has purple!'' I was terribly excited now ''This is the one! It doesn't look so gay now!''
Vijay nodded unconvincingly, obviously thinking it was extremely gay. But I told the man ''Wrap it up'' and we took it home.
You can therefore look forward to an upcoming set of Cycle Tales, as over the last few weeks, I have begun having my little (mis) adventures on my li'l gay ol' bike...