Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Doomed From the Start

Nearly every person I know has had one (or sometimes more) of those days when everything seems to go wrong. It doesn't matter what is done to try to correct the off start, it's as though the cosmos is on a mission of its own. These are the days when I find myself wanting to literally go back to bed to see if I can right the wrongs of the day and try again.

One such day recently presented itself, and I was not in a particular mood to contend with what the universe was dishing out. No matter what I did, it seemed to set off in a path to either keep me from doing what I needed to do or to sour what I was already doing. I really do try my best not to let the little things get to me, but there was something to the start of this day that was steering it in a bad direction.

Every little thing was getting under my skin.  Our dogs, who are always a bit on the clingy side anyway, seemed to be determined to kill me by planting themselves just behind wherever I was standing so that when I took a step to turn around, I'd falter as I tried to keep myself upright. The morning's oatmeal was overcooked and hard as a rock. I had received a couple of messages first thing that had kind of set me into a tailspin. I couldn't find my favorite water bottle and I wanted to go for a ride as well... and so, the morning continued on in this fashion.

Determined to get to my ride though, I grabbed another water bottle and headed out to grab the bike. As I went to put on my helmet, it felt wrong. It just wasn't fitting my head properly for some reason and I felt as though the sides of my head were being squeezed in. Had my head grown overnight? I couldn't help but wonder. The gloves I went to put on were disgustingly dirty. Reminding myself to clean them up later, I grabbed an alternate pair that don't fit quite as well, but that would do the job for a quick ride.

Checking the tires, I opened the door and headed out. About 15 feet down the path out, I realized that the handlebars felt as though they'd slipped. They were tipped too far forward, so I pulled over to try to remedy the situation. Admittedly, I was muttering to myself at this point, wondering why nothing seemed to be easy. After fiddling with the tool in an attempt to find the proper size wrench, I couldn't seem to loosen the stem so that I could adjust the handlebars. Hmm, I thought. Perhaps it was in my imagination that they had moved? So, I got back on the bike and continued to ride a few more feet until the handlebars moved under the weight of my arms.


Off the bike again, I was determined to fix the problem. Without loosening the bolt, I pushed the handlebars with all my might until they were in the position I wanted and then attempted to tighten the bolt.

No luck with that either. My hands simply couldn't grip the tool tight enough to get a more secure spot to keep everything in place.

I wasn't thrilled about this because having a sliding handlebar while riding is definitely unnerving, but I wanted to move on. As long as I didn't put much weight on the handlebars, they seemed to stay in place, so I figured I'd continue on the ride anyway.
At least I had pretty views!
As I approached the T-intersection in front of me there was a line of traffic that wouldn't stop. Unfortunately for my purposes, the cross traffic doesn't stop and it was a matter of playing the waiting game until things cleared well enough to dart across to the opposite side. Eventually a spot cleared and I was finally making my way down the road.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief - which was perhaps my mistake.

The morning was still cool and even though the day was supposed to be quite warm, it was fantastic to feel the breeze on my face. Then, just as I was beginning to feel at ease, a cyclist coming from another T-intersection that joined the side I was riding suddenly darted out directly in front of me, shaking me from my fantasy land state of mind. I wanted to yell something at him, but I refrained. Perhaps I should have... it may have lightened my mood or at least made this day feel somewhat better... but instead, I grumbled to myself about the rudeness of others as he rode two feet in front of me, apparently oblivious to the fact that he'd just about caused a crash for us both.

Instantly, I remembered that I'd forgot to put on sunscreen. M*!%$*F#&@$#!  I had been so good thus far about putting on sunscreen. The problem is I burn to a crisp quite easily after only a few minutes in the sun, especially when it's still somewhat early in the warm season and I haven't had a lot of sun exposure. I do keep a bottle of sunscreen in a bike bag, but it was unfortunately not in the one I was using at the moment. Wondering if I should keep riding, I decided it was worth the risk of a burn just to be able to get something out of this progressively irritating morning.

As I reached the first signal on the path to get me to some back roads, I was fussing with my jersey. For some reason, this one just didn't want to stay down and it kept creeping up to my waist. On any other day, this probably wouldn't have been as big of a deal as it seemed in the moment, but on this day, it felt like a final straw sort of moment. "You WILL stay down," I commanded the jersey aloud, as though it was somehow capable of independent thought and action.

I bent my neck down to firmly pull the hem into place and noticed something on my shorts. What is that? I wondered to myself, believing that it was a stray piece of fuzzy lint or something floating through the air. Running my fingers over it to pull whatever it was off of me, I realized suddenly that it was a hole in my shorts.
I have no idea where these holes came from, or if I had acquired them on this short ride or prior to it.
"Are you kidding me?" I actually said out loud, and let out a huge sigh. I had worn these shorts only three times prior and now... now, there were multiple holes it appeared? For crying out loud. "That's it," again, said out loud to no one. "You win, universe. I guess this was doomed from the start."

With that, I turned and headed back home, about a half mile from where I'd begun a few minutes prior.

As I rode home, disappointed that I couldn't seem to overcome the start of this day, I understood that nothing really so horrible had happened and I knew I was being overly dramatic about things that were, for the most part, inconsequential, but I still couldn't let go of that feeling of being wronged by the universe somehow and I couldn't bring myself to continue the ride.

The stench of the morning clung to me and it was though I had to wallow in all of it in order to get through and on to better moments. When I got home, I took a few minutes to let myself have a pity party over what felt like, in the moment, a horrendous morning, and then ended up going for a walk instead. Slowly, I worked myself out of the funk and the cloud that had seemed to follow me all morning disappeared, but it was a morning that I would prefer not to repeat in the future.

It was not so much what had actually taken place. I've truly had far worse mornings and even entire days, but I realized that I didn't like myself and the way I was behaving - even if it was mostly an internal sort of temper-tantrum, nor did I care for my inability to pull myself out of it quicker. I guess there really is something to getting up on the wrong side of the bed though, and I suppose I just have to remember which side it is and keep from rising on that side in the future.

How do you pull yourself out of a bad day? Anything that works to lighten your mood? Usually a bike ride does this for me, but it seemed to be more of an irritant than of help on this particular day, but I find that activity of any sort generally helps with balancing things out.


  1. When it rains , it pours! There is a childrens' story book titled 'Alexanders no good and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" that reminds me of your efforts to get out for a ride. It happens to us all.:)

    1. It sure does, doesn't it?

      I'll have to look up the kid's book... sounds like there's a lesson in there for me, even as an adult! :)

  2. How to pull oneself out of a bad day? Things that have worked for me in the past include having a cup of tea and a piece of cake or scone at my favourite cafe, buying/ borrowing a good novel to read, going for a walk, going for a bike ride, going for a swim at an outdoor pool, cooking my favourite foods and reading bike blogs (including yours of course!) Sometimes, though, the day is beyond saving and I feel I just have to go to bed and wait for the next morning. On such days I tend to go to bed early (kids and husband permitting) and I either read or bingewatch on Netflix. I usually wake up in a much better mood the next day!

    1. It is interesting that sometimes we can turn things around, and other days it seems as though it's just a bad day and we can start over the next. Sounds like you've found some great (and sometimes, tasty) ways to try work through those tough days when they come your way, Stephanie.


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