This morning I was riding my bike to work. I was all hopped up on some weird kind of euphoric energy. It was a mix of a couple of things, coffee, mostly. I always have three cups, and while they always feel great, they don’t always hit me this great, like great, great. Who knows, maybe it depends on how much food I have in my stomach, I have no idea. But I was feeling amazing, like I could do anything.
And so I was riding my bike, it’s below freezing out but I wasn’t bothered. It felt terrific, totally invigorating. Not only was my mood fantastic, but my body also, I imagined it an extension of my ultra-positive state of mind. Sometimes I’ll be riding my bike in the cold and it won’t feel great at all, my body won’t feel totally up to the task, like the morning commute might be a little bit more of a chore than I’d like it to be. But this morning it was a pleasure, a real treat.
I was pedaling away, the bike at its top gear, my legs pumping away, only feeling limited by the gears of the bike itself. I’m pretty sure I had enough energy to bike across the country if I wanted to. As I was flying down Crescent toward the Queensboro Bridge, I saw these people in front of a hotel, they were packing their bags into their car.
As I got closer to the car I see it’s a Quebec license plate. And I was just feeling so happy, so thrilled to be alive, and look, Canadians! And I wanted to share some of my positive energy with the Canadians, but I was going so fast, and so my intentions were hampered by the fact I didn’t really have enough time to, one, register their presence as being a foreign one and, two, think up something nice and clever or happy or funny or whatever to say to them.
So I wound up just screaming out, “Quebec!” and giving them a thumbs-up. But, and I know I keep repeating my words here, but I really was flying, like much faster than traffic. Obviously a car can go faster than a bike. But speed bumps? Traffic lights? I was definitely cruising down Crescent much quicker than any car. So quick that I didn’t even get to look at the Canadians as I shouted out to them their car’s point of origin.
And at that point I said to myself, “All right Rob, better calm it down a notch,” because, seriously, this was almost a good mood bordering on a manic episode. I wanted to make sense of what was going on, with my ebullience (that’s a pretty big word right there, but I’m demonstrating how elevated my mood was, like big-word elevated) with the Canadians. I stopped for a second and hopped off my bike, took out my iPhone and wrote “Quebec” in the little notepad application.
So now here I am, it’s after work, the sun’s down, I’m trying to get some writing done, and I open up the notepad app, and see “Quebec.” And now I’m struggling to put myself back in those happy shoes I was wearing this morning. I’m not in a bad mood, not at all. But I definitely wouldn’t describe myself as euphoric, or ebullient.
And I’m thinking about it from the Canadians’ point of view. How was their morning? Did their bodies respond to their morning coffee in the same way that mine had? Maybe they drank too much, it left them a little jittery. Or maybe not enough and they had a killer tension headache. That always happens to me when I’m away from home. I don’t have my kitchen, my coffee pot, my routine, and so I’m always feeling under caffeinated on the road.
And they were packing up, so, what, New York vacation over? Already? But it must have felt like they just got here, like there was still so much that they didn’t get to see. And did it live up to their expectations? Were they trying a little too hard to tell themselves that they really had a good time?
Getting ready for that long drive back to Quebec. Packing everything away in the car. And then this cyclist flies by and screams, “Quebec!” but he says it like a non-Quebecer, like “Kwa-beck!” instead of the “Keh-bec” that, now that he’s writing it all out, much later in the day, he always imagines Quebecers to say it like that, the second way. And maybe that was it, they were like, “all right, let’s hit the road, we’ve got a long drive, we’ve got to get to a gas station so we can get some gas and some coffee and let’s head back to Canada.”
I don’t know. I hope they had a nice trip. I hope the coffee hit them just right. I hope they got to feel during their stay here as good as I felt this morning, even for just a moment, that joy I got to feel just for my own fleeting moment.