What was in that slushie? Just look at the back tire. Your front tire is flat. No, your back tire is flat. No, that’s just the wind cutting you down. Someone is turning into this lane. Slow down. No, speed up. There’s a blue dress in the road. Oh, they’re not turning. Just look at the back tire. You’re so hyped up on NOS you might be going blind. Just look at the back tire. That’s all you can see; Peter’s back tire. And white lines on either side. Keep your head down. Just keep planning things for when you get back. Don’t think about how miserable you are. It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity that kills you. What’s going to happen to Highs and Lows after you graduate? What will you tell people when they ask you about this trip? How much further is it? They won’t know. And anything they told you would be disappointing. Hill. What was in that slushie? It tasted like NOS. lightly carbonated. I should wake up early next semester. What should I say when Mr. Benson asks me what art is? What will change for me now that Dr. Thornbury is gone? It’s harder to build speed than to maintain it. And Megan and Ally and Nicole aren’t going to be around either. What should I say when Mr. Benson asks me who my favorite artist is? What should I do after school? I’m not very creative but I can work hard. Just look at the back tire. There are branches in the road. I miss my friends back home. The light is red. The light is green. Drink some water. Never should have got that slushie. Just look at the back tire. When do Chase and Natalie get married? Where does Cameron live now? If I take my glasses off that means I’m ready to stop riding for the day. What camp is Sierra going to? It’s better to do twenty push ups every time you take a break from riding than it is to try and do a thousand on the last day. Florida just looks like all the other states. Break! The light was red. Ok, light’s green, go. I really want to read a book soon. I have had good heroes. I’m excited to see Kevin and Maddie tomorrow! Stopping isn’t really any easier than going, and it’s much more depressing. I need to get my stuff out of the commons as soon as I can after this trip so Zac can get to his stuff when he comes back. There’s glass on the road. Just look at the back tire.
Oh it’s hot, Summerlanders! It’s so hot! Today I could feel someone trying to crush my head while I was riding. Two enormous hands on either side of my face, hot palms pressed against my cheeks, long fat fingers wrapped over my helmet, thumbs on either side of my nose, just under my eyes, and merciless pressure. The word that kept coming to mind was “oppressive.” It’s not bright out, but it’s hot and humid and sweaty. It’s oppressive. And the 32oz slushie I bought titled “warning caffeinated” did not help. I was so tired. But earlier in the day something very special happened. Early in the ride Will and Peter took off way ahead, but I slowed down for a little bit so I could see the land crabs, so I was alone when I passed by a Disney resorts hotel. I remember when I was seven years old, or some such age, most of my extended family and my parents and my sister and I went to Disney World. We took a sleeper train, and the two places were very distinct from each other in my mind. There was a clear sense in which my grandparents’ house was one place and Disney World was another. The two were separate worlds connected by a magic metal shuttle, and that’s how I think of places. England is one planet and to get here from there you must get in a white, winged, metal tube and sit for many hours and the point of departure and point of arrival are not physically connected in any way. The cool thing that happened today was that I realized that I had biked the whole distance of the trip that the train had taken. I have watched the ground passing under my feet for this whole trip and I have proven to my mind that Florida and my grandparents’ house are connected by land. They have a measurable physical relationship to each other and are not separate or distinct at all but are only different loci in a large whole. The point of the class that I proposed to Dr. Thornbury almost a year ago was to witness this unity of location on a more personal and human level than could be experienced in a car. Seeing the hotel today achieved that. The class has now been successful and in my mind it is over. I learned what I was technically supposed to, so now I can finish out these last three days for my own personal reasons and for the sake of a job well done.