Let’s bypass the whole “I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while” spiel. You and I both know I have more important things to do than write blog posts, like pick my toenail lint while waxing philosophical about geopolitics. And I know you have more important things to do than read what I write, like trim your grandmother’s beard. So I’m going to dispense with all that nonsense about not having posted anything in a while. Instead, I’m going to get right into the story.
I was recently in Philadelphia visiting Pigpen before heading to Pittsburgh to see my family humans. While in Philly, we lodged with Pigpen’s friends in a tony little hamlet on the Mainline called Merion Station. The couple and their house were perfect. They had chard growing in their front yard and a pergola covered in some climbing vine. The lady of the house- we’ll call her Tiny- gave us a tour of their abode when we arrived. There’s nothing I like more than being reminded of the fact that despite my advanced age, I’m only just playing at being a grown-up. See, real grown-ups have houses and mortgages and guest bedrooms and offices and juicers and refrigerators full of food and drink. I have none of these. I have a mangy dog and cheap drywall and stairs that lead to nowhere. But I’ve got my health.
Anyway, so after Tiny took us on a tour of her house, we decided to take a walk and check out her ‘hood. That’s street slang for “neighborhood,” if you weren’t hip to the lingo. We walked along streets with names like Norwichingtonham Court Lane and Winhamptonshirewick Mews Drive, admiring the houses and smelling the blooming flowers. As we ambled down Skipwhistleburnsborough Park Terrace, we spied what appeared to be a Strawberry Shortcake bicycle. Yes, dear ones, Strawberry Shortcake is back with a vengeance, minus the plasticky strawberry smell.
This is what Lance’s next Tour de France ride will look like.
I have to detour from our story to tell you how much I loved Strawberry Shortcake when I was a lass. I wasn’t much into dolls of any pedigree, but I loved me some Strawberry Shortcake. Maybe it was because she had red hair like me. Or maybe it was because she had an aroma like no toy I had ever played with. Or maybe it was because she represented all that was good and holy with the world- desserts. Whatever the reason, I loved this character. I had a Strawberry Shortcake big wheels bike and a Strawberry Shortcake sweat suit, which my neighbor’s cat summarily shredded one fateful afternoon. I also had some Strawberry Shortcake Lipsmackers, but I accidentally ate them, thinking they were in fact, strawberry shortcake, but in tube form.
This is what mad steez looks like.
So when I saw this bike, there was but one thing I had to do- I had to smell it. Pigpen, Tiny and I briefly kibitzed about our shared love of Strawberry Shortcake before I bent over the bike and grabbed it by its miniature handlebars. No sooner had I put my hand on the bars when a voice came from behind a bush across the street. “Don’t touch that bike,” it boomed. It sounded like a girl’s voice, but there was an unsettling note of aggression that was most unladylike. “I was just going to smell it,” I replied. “We used to have Strawberry Shortcake when I was a kid and…” “I said don’t touch that bike,” the voice bellowed. Uh, right. Ok. I’m being yelled at by a child because I’m touching her bike. Pigpen, Tiny and I looked at each other and the feeling was immediately mutual. We would never have talked to an adult like that.
Then, as we three laughed in disbelief at our dressing down at the hands of a 9-year-old, the voice emerged from the other side of the street. It belonged to a girl who I’ll refer to as Ariel, because that apparently is what this she-demon is called. “You better put that bike down,” she called out from a driveway opposite of where we stood. As she said this, flames shot out of her mouth and smoke billowed from her ears. Actually, her head just waggled and her beaded braids swayed back and forth.
I thought she might be joking with all this bluster, so I sort of egged her on. “Oooh, you’re giving us the head-waggle. What next? Are you going to snap at us?” That was not the right thing to say to Junior Beelzebub. Next thing we knew, Ariel had picked up the bike with one hand and hoisted it over her shoulder. She then walked back across the street where she then chucked the bike, shot put style, into the driveway and walked back up to her stoop.
Needless to say, Pigpen, Tiny and I were just a bit shocked by this behavior. Even more shocking were the kids sitting on the porch from whence Ariel came screaming “Beat them up,” “Kill them.” With that, we bid Ariel, Hellspawn, good eve and returned to the safety of Tiny’s domestic wonderland. As I recount this tale, I’m still a bit rattled. I’m not sure what was more frightening- the fact that a child would speak to adults in such a way, or the fact that Ariel could heave a 20-lb. bike over her head with one hand without her back giving out. Either way, I learned my lesson. Never try to sniff a bicycle that isn’t yours. Nothing good can come from it.