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Adventures in Lexington

May 6, 2010

Not that anyone’s keeping track, but it’s been a few days since I’ve posted, and I’ve been feeling oddly anxious about not having the time to sit down and write anything. Thursday I was gloriously, happily busy, but Friday I wasted a lot of time quietly freaking out about a tick bite (more on that later), and Friday night through Sunday afternoon were spent almost entirely in the service of musical theater, since City of Angels closed Saturday and then I had a five-hour music rehearsal for Rent, which opens in less than two weeks. And the usual days of teaching and more rehearsals, and being grouchy about the lack of clean water (a water main burst west of Boston, leaving some 30 communities without drinkable tap water for two days). So now I’m catching up.

Thursday morning I met my friend Meghan for coffee at a new place in Lexington called ride.studio.cafe, a one-stop coffee-and-bicycle shop. So far their website is mysteriously mum on the cafe side of things, and when Meghan called to ask about their hours, she was treated to the following reponse:

“We’re not really sure yet – it varies from day to day. When were you thinking of coming in?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Oh, yeah, we’ll be open tomorrow.”

Initial appearances to the contrary, they do seem to know what they’re doing. The shop smells of bicycles tires and two-thirds of the floor space is taken up by bikes and related gear, but everything looks clean and shiny, with huge, sunny front windows overlooking Mass Ave. I ordered a pot of chai (they serve MEM teas, like parent cafe Diesel) and it was enormous, enough to fill a big, wide mug three or four times; the sturdy metal pot kept the tea piping hot without oversteeping. Meghan’s latte was capped with some very respectable-looking foam, and we shared a huge pear-cranberry scone. I didn’t notice any pear flavor, sadly, but there were plenty of tart, juicy berries.

While in Lexington, I went for a walk up Fiske Hill, which is notable in part because of its role in the Revolutionary War, but more importantly because it’s a short, easy walk with some lovely scenery. And, apparently, snakes. I nearly tripped over a garter snake, who seemed quite affronted at my clumsy approach, drawing back in dismay before he slithered haughtily off the path. I hardly blame him; I’m sure I’m a good deal larger and noisier than most of what he usually encounters.

here there be ticks

I am far from the most physically fit or active person around, but when I come across a field like this — yards and yards of space, and no one around to see me — I have only one impulse: run. And so I did, avoiding winter-brittle bushes and animal burrows. I nearly squashed another garter snake, but this one fled much more quickly than the first. I ran, arms pumping, mouth open to the wind, until my chest burned from all that cold air and I had to stop and catch my breath. It felt wonderful. I think maybe there’s still an athlete in me somewhere, but one who loves the thrill of the wild sprint too much to bother with the tedium of actual training.

Disclaimer: In the shower the next day, I found a tick. I swear I passed second grade, but it was an awfully long time ago, and I guess I forgot the part about checking yourself for tiny little carnivorous arachnids after frolicking in tall grass. Besides bearing scary diseases, ticks are pretty repulsive, and I failed to remove mine correctly, resulting in a visit to the doctor – a round, pleasant Russian woman who at first declared she didn’t know how to remove the remaining black speck, then warned me that I might not like her after she finished. She was wrong: it didn’t hurt at all, and I liked her quite a bit when she finally succeeded. Bottom line: I do not regret running in the grass. But next time I will look for ticks.

You see flowers in these weeds

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