Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Time Trialing for Commuters

I was about halfway home when the cellphone started ringing inside my bag. I pulled over to the shoulder, and dug it out, but by then the call ended. Caller ID said it was my daughter, Lyndsay, so I called her back. The conversation went something like this:

"Where are you, Daddy? Are you home?" She sounded worried.

"No, I'm about 3 miles away."

"Well, I'm locked out of the car."

"Where are you?"

"The grocery store, and Mom is with me."

"I'll be there in about 15 minutes."

Daddy to the rescue! I put my head down and started spinning the pedals as fast as I could. The tailwind helped. It wasn't a maximum effort, but it was close. The cramps kicked in as I topped the grade on 129th Street. It didn't take long to get to the store.

Lyndsay looked sheepish. Mary had a small storm cloud forming over her head. I unlocked the door, and started off toward home - fast. When I got there, I warned my son, Jordan, that Mom was in a foul mood. "Keep your head down and your mouth shut", I warned.

After getting a shower, I made a cup of decaf coffee, gulped down a chunk, and promptly aspirated it. The coughing was intense and uncontrollable. I gasped for breath, trying to draw air into my lungs. They were intent on seeing that nothing more entered, so breathing was difficult. I slowly drew in air around the constricted muscles, only to cough it out immediately. The kids were getting scared. I think Jordan actually had the phone in his hand, ready to dial 911. I was getting light-headed too, and it scared me.

In a couple of very long minutes, my throat opened up enough to let me breathe normally again, though I had a raspy, Barry White voice for most of the evening, so it wasn't all bad. I've done this before, but never at this intensity. Like I said, it was scary.

Mary was still growling. Lyndsay said she'd hit a curb driving down there, and that coupled with locking the keys in the car had set Mom off. After an almost silent dinner - a rarity in the Wagner house - I went back to the bedroom to finish reading a novel. Jordan holed up in his room and Lyndsay was in her's. But they all got together to watch some silly movie later, and the mood lightened considerably when I heard the laughter coming from the living room. It was safe to go out again.

I took care of some e-mail, then went back to my book. I was getting tired. Gravity was working overtime on my eyelids, and my legs, back, and neck felt as if someone had been beating on them with a two-by-four. I hadn't been on the bike for a week and it showed. Ibuprofen and Icy Hot were my best friends, but they didn't help much. The pain made for a restless night.


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