I’ve just encountered something unpleasant in the bathroom that I hadn’t seen in a long time. It wasn’t the reflection of the giant zit on my neck in the mirror as that will be gone in a few days. (The zit, not the mirror.)
It was the shimmer of a silverfish shimmying across the bathroom floor. I didn’t know what they were until I moved to Victoria for the first time back in 2004. When I mentioned to my then-roommate that I had seen an earwig in the bathroom, her response was:
“An earwig? Are you sure it wasn’t a silverfish?”
I miss the days of being blissfully unaware of silverfish. Like raccoons, silverfish were seemingly nonexistent in Montréal. In the four years I lived there, I found a house centipede in the bedroom once, and a total of three mice. I don’t believe any of the three mice I saw were blind, but one was dead and laid on the bed. It was a gift to us from our round son:
I considered posting a photo of the dead mouse, but I’ve decided to steer this post in a less-disgusting direction.
On Tuesday, Yann strapped our bikes to the roof of the Jetta and drove up to Port Renfrew. A little over a year ago, I fucked up myself spectacularly when I was thrown off my bike going down a gravelly hill.
There’s also an inch-long raised scar bordered by a crosshatch of fainter scars on my right hip. My knees seem to suggest that I had a rough few years in elementary school. But I’ve seen much worse, and it was time for me to get over my fear of tiny (but sharp!) rocks and sand (raw glass!).
Vancouver Island has an abundance of forest service roads. They’re meant for loggers but loved by gravel grinders. Was I going to fall in love too? Or was I just going to fall?
Before we left home, Yann asked me if I had my cycling shoes. I’m not sure why he did this because I’ve never forgotten.
When we reached the start of the Avatar Grove trail in Port Renfrew, Yann realized that he forgot something. Specifically the very thing he was worried that I’d forget. I could see him swallow up his rage as he put his Vans-clad feet on his SPD pedals and began the bumpy ascent of Gordon Road. What a trooper!
As for me, I had remembered everything, including my winning attitude.
At the beginning of the ride, a bug landed on my left wrist and nipped me hard enough to elicit a yelp. My left arm started itching shortly thereafter, but it wasn’t until I noticed that my right arm was also itching that I understood it was the vibration from my bike that was causing my young bingo wings to tingle.
I was fine. The trees were happy. The gravel wasn’t conspiring to get underneath my skin. Yann was riding with his toes clenching the pedals through the flimsy soles of his Vans. Should he slip off the pedals while out of the saddle, his nuts would have cracked on the top tube.
(Of course the road looks okay in the photos, we were not bold enough to photograph each other during the chancy sections.)
Two differences that made this gravel grinder fun rather than painful. I had dedicated gravel tires mounted on my wheels, and I could see where I was going. Last year’s accident happened before I had prescription lenses put in my sunglasses. I’m only mildly myopic (-1.50/-1.75), but my eyesight is just weak enough to miss any oncoming hazards while bobbing downhill at a speed of 30km/h.
I slayed that ride like I slayed my first silverfish in 4 years.