After U.S. Highway 12's most recent closure east of Roscoe, I thought it would be neat to drive my bicycle down the desolate railroad overpass. When you can see the lemons, there's usually lemonade to be found as well.
First, though, I encountered another lemon: I had to get the flat tire on my bicycle fixed before I could even ride it out of the garage.
Going uphill is never easy. But it sure was fun to coast down the middle of the highway bridge without any traffic to worry about.
After my bicycle ride, the boys in my house discussed how much they missed seeing the other kind of bikes. Every August, motorcycles roar east and west through town en route to and from Sturgis. This summer is eerily quiet in comparison ... until yesterday when (as if on cue) we finally heard a pack of motorcycles coming into town from the southbound highway. After that, it actually felt like August.
Although I don't miss seeing and hearing all those motorcycles of bygone summers, I do get pretty nostalgic every time I need to leave town. I fondly remember the days when I could travel east on pavement, without first needing to jag south, east, and north, prior to finally going east again in my dusty, gravel-filled car.
It is frustrating when the things you'd like to be open, won't open.
As a kid, it was the silver push button on the horizontal handle of the pickup door. It looked so easy when adults did it. But I could never get that knob pushed in far enough. It was the most annoying feeling, waiting for an adult to open it for me.
When I was still little enough to generate treats just for being little, I often rode along to the elevator with Dad. Upon entering the office building, the manager came rushing over to me with the key. We'd head to the refrigerated machine filled with colorful bottles of soda pop. It took me a while to decide, there were so many choices.
After I picked one, he locked it up again. How maddening to know that the treat in my hand was inaccessible, since I didn't know how to use the bottle opener on the door of the machine.
Mom struggled to open a few things, too. There were always stubborn lids on the jars of pickles, beans, and peaches she canned every summer. But with enough passing around, someone eventually busted the seal.
Now, most pop machines carry plastic bottles or cans. Glass bottles have twist-off caps. If I'm struggling with a jar, Pampered Chef has this handy tool to open all sizes of lids. You can even mount it under your cupboard.
However, certain doors still give me trouble. When I visit the field, Dennis routinely opens and closes the tractor and combine door for me, just like a proper gentleman. Although, I think he does that in order to avoid hearing me complain (again) about why a machine that costs more than a house, with auto steer and a pneumatically controlled seat, doesn't come with a user-friendly door handle. It's just easier for him to practice chivalry.
Then there are those protective seals on the insides of everything from Advil to ketchup bottles. For our own safety, we get to open things after we've already opened them. The manufacturers must not realize that most fingers aren't nimble enough to grab onto those centimeter-long tabs meant for easy removal.
Today, my visiting brother watched me struggle with a new bottle of allergy medicine. He offered, Do you want me to open that for you? I defensively poked a hole in the seal with my fingertip and yanked it off before he could grab the bottle from my hands.
How quickly we return to childhood with a sibling. When that stuck jar ended up back in Mom's hands, it was one thing. After she opened it easily, we soothed our bruised egos by claiming that we'd already loosened the lid. However, it is even more humbling when a brother or sister cracks open the very thing with which we were just struggling.
Which is why blocked roads, tricky doors, and stubborn lids are great equalizers. They can remind us that we are just as weak as the next guy. Such reminders might even keep us from getting full of ourselves.
Even still, given how many roadblocks and other setbacks this summer seems to be holding for so many of us: it's satisfying to get to be the one to bust the seal; to take a bit of control over things that are otherwise out of our control - kind of like coasting downhill on a bicycle.