I am pleased to announce, I have accrued no frequent flier miles this month of August. I have filled my 1998 Jeep's gas tank once and that was because there is something wrong with the gas gauge and John, my mechanic's fix was, "Aw, just don't let it go under half a tank and you'll be fine." I have enough frequent biker miles to get new flip-flops. But mine are perfectly grooved to my feet. I have a very small carbon footprint.
My road most traveled is from my house in the mid-west end of old Provincetown either to work, to the post office, to the beach, to the dunes. I bought my bike years ago at a year end Ptown Bikes sale. It is still labeled #10 for their rental records. It has big sturdy handlebars, a big bike seat that absorbs all rain. It has one speed - me. The brakes are in the pedals. I share the bike with my neighbor. Sometimes he sprays WD40 on the rusting chain. He rides it all winter. Old Number Ten we call it. It has outlasted two other fancy schmantzy over-geared bikes, ruined by salt air and sand.
My un-mapquested route to work, takes me by my neighbor Gordon, the town barber sitting on his deck. "Hi, Katie," he says, "have a good show, dahlin." I'm Katie to all the old Ptown Portuguese guys. I ride by my favorite Tips for Tops'n restaurant/commissary where his wife is the cashier, and breathe in the fried scallops as I pass.
With the gorgeous bay glinting with less and less light each evening, I turn onto Commercial Street. Past late caffeine crowds at Joe's Coffee; the West End Salon bubble machine doing its Lawrence Welk best; nearly naked boys doing last minute flyering outside the thumping music from the Boat-slip t-dance; past Spiritus with returning, starving beach bunnies carbo-loading pizza just to get to their guest houses; past early birders at Front Street; past little kids in the tiniest crocs picking through intriguing sale bins outside the Army/Navy Store; past the barkers for shows at the Unitarian Church and on into the entertainment complex of The Crown and Anchor. It takes me five minutes to get to work, if I don't stop to talk with anyone.
Now when I come out from my shows, the sun has already set. The sky is often pyrotechnically pastel on the Pilgrim monument. We are heading into the big Carnival and Labor Day weeks, two weeks of flat out fun for tourists and the last laps for tired workers. Back to school ads have been out for weeks. The nights are cool. I am experiencing that unnatural fondness for knee socks that just the word September brings.