Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just call me "JOE"

Last week I got my "baby" all tuned up and repaired. This "baby" of mine has been long neglected. It got new shifters, cables, a chain, and even new hand grips. It's just like new! As soon as I got it home, I took it out of the van and zoomed down the block sans shoes! Ahhh, that one ride brought back so many great memories. :)

I remember when this bike was my LIFE. I used to ride it to work and back everyday the following summer -- 16 miles roundtrip. Wow, I wish my legs could still experience that everyday! I also remember how my bike got stolen about a month after I got it. My Dad's friend heard an ad on a local radio station yard sale/auction thing and actually found my bike! Thanks, Reg! And no, we did NOT have to buy it back, but I did have to go to the house of the guy that stole it and had to identify it -- just a *bit* awkward since everybody knows everybody in my small hometown.

I remember writing an essay about it when I was a Senior in High School... I wanted to share it with you here just for fun. Now, remember, I was 17 when I wrote this... almost TWENTY years ago. Oh, I was/am so dramatic! In some ways, I hope I have REALLY changed, but as I read through it again I thought, in other ways, I hope I'll NEVER change.

Here it is, unedited, for your reading "pleasure"?

Lacy R. -----
Narrative Essay
College English 101
"The Ride of a Lifetime"

Today was the day! All summer long I had been anxiously waiting for it. I felt so fortunate that this day actually came. Three years of hoping and wanting were beginning to disappear, as I pictured myself proudly riding away into the beautiful August sunset. More than anything, I wished for the sun glistening in my hair, and the wind gently teasing my face, as I rode freely on a mountain bike of my very own. Now, which surely was a dream, I was finally going to get one.

It was August 25, 1992, a beautiful summer morning. My mom and I were on our way to Provo in dad's large blue Chevrolet truck. We needed the bed of the truck to take home my new bike.

"Lacy, you know we can't afford this," Mom lectured, "but I guess we'll call it your early graduation present."

"Ok, since I'm already getting my present, I won't have to worry about graduating at all." I teased, slyly turning up " X 96 ", my favorite radio station.

"You'd better graduate, because $500 is a lot of money for a mountain bike!" Mom laughed, innocently turning the radio back down to a low hum.

"Well , Mom, I can use the bike for transportation at college" convincing her, "besides, you know I'll graduate." I promised.

We took the University Avenue exit, and headed straight for the mall. There, we tried to eat lunch, but we were so excited we couldn't eat anything. So we decided to leave , and get on with the important stuff — my mountain bike.

Across the parking lot of the mall stood "Gorilla Bicycle Company" complete with a gigantic grey gorilla above the doorway. I'd heard many good things about this store, all of which convinced me to check it out: awesome bikes, good deals, and gorgeous sales-clerks. So far, it sounded perfect to me.

Walking through the door, I saw hundreds of different bikes. Glancing at me, my Mom figured we would be there until closing before I could decide which bike I wanted. I just smiled back, quickly looking over as the salesclerk came to help us.

"Hi, are ya thinkin' about gettin' a bike?" asked a tall guy with purple and yellow hiking boots, plaid shorts, and a "Red Hot Chili Peppers" concert T-shirt.

I was in love. His long shiny brown hair was casually-pulled back with a leather string, to reveal a small name tag just below his shoulder. In bright green letters, it read simply, "JOE".

He showed me a group of bikes, and I nervously searched for the right one. There it was! Sleek and powerful, it hung from a large orange hook in the ceiling. A 16-inch, Mongoose Alta , with 21- speed 300 xl shifting , and with
Shimano brakes.

But it wasn't all of the high-tech components that caught my attention — it was the appearance of the bike. The beautiful color was a rich earthy tan with hints of silver, shiny, yet subtle. The sales sticker said it was 'light champagne'. Joe said it was the color of my hair. All I knew is that it was gorgeous. With a chrome-ally frame and black rims, I knew this was the one.

"Ok, with tax and total, it'll come to $464.87," Joe declared, as his deep coffee-brown eyes looked up from the cash register to meet mine.

I eagerly smiled back, while mom nearly fainted. Whether it was because she just pulled $464.87 from her wallet, or the fact that a 23-year guy with long brown hair and a tattoo was flirting with her daughter; it was a funny sight to see. Joe helped me wheel it outside to the truck, and watched patiently as I carefully lifted it into the back of the truck.

"Thanks a lot," I smiled, looking directly at Joe to let him know that I appreciated it — and that I was extremely available.

"Hey, Lace, anytime," he promised, "and if you need anything just call, okay?" Joe assured me, writing his home phone number on the business card.

"Sure, thanks again, see ya!" I called, carefully driving out of the parking lot.

Mom and I drove to my brother's house in Orem, just seven miles away. My Mom kept smiling at me and looking back, constantly checking to make sure my bike was okay. Soon after, we pulled up to my brother's house, I nearly jumped out before I even turned off the truck. Gently, I lifted my "baby" out of the back and walked it out to the sidewalk, careful not to scratch it or bump it.

"Thanks, mom," I whispered, fighting back the tears of joy.

"You're welcome, Lace," Mom smiled, "I know you'll graduate, because the smile on your face is thanks enough.”

I smiled again and looked down the block. Ahead of me was an endless stretch of road and I was going to ride it.
Excitedly, I lifted my leg up over the seat and checked the brakes. Then, I zoomed down the road, the sun glistening in my hair and the wind gently teasing my face. I rode faster and faster; free as the wind itself.

Coming towards a street corner, I slowly came to a stop. Breathing hard and smiling proudly, I reached in my pocket for the "Gorilla Bicycle" business card. Looking around for the nearest
payphone, I headed down the next block to 7-11 — I was going to call Joe.

I wish I had a picture of me and my bike way back when, but I did NOT like having my picture taken (just ask my Mom)! I was a teenage nightmare.
Anyway, here's me and my "baby" almost twenty years later...

Just for the record, I didn't really call Joe!


  1. Oh, I loved reading this! Hahaha! Oh, the memories! And ps, you do NOT look like you are 20 years older...

  2. Ditto what Bridget said. (seriously, she took the words right off my keyboard!) :)

  3. I loved reading that!
    Just call me Joe reminds of You've Got Mail - one of my favorite movies. Ever.

  4. Man. You just HAD to steal my writing thunder today, didn't you? SHEESH! ;) I kid...

    That was fabulous. And I kinda wished you had called Joe. And had sneaked away for some little bike shop lovin. Or, you know, um...something...Not that I know about such things.

  5. I remember the day you brought your sweet ride home, and the day you were so devastated it was gone from the porch. :O) So cool you still have it! My first bike was from Gorilla too... but I was looking at who was buying my bike for me and not at any sales guys. :O)

  6. You are an entertaining writer :) Ditto too to what Bridget said.

  7. I have to tell you I thought this was going to be a post saying you just watched one of my favorite movies "You've Got Mail". But this was so much more fun to read!!! First, you are totally adorable and look like you are about 23-seriously! Second, I loved "The Ride of a Lifetime" and I am so impressed that you could actually locate a copy of it. That is one awesome bike. I wonder whatever happened to Joe...This would make a really great romantic comedy if you never got married, after 20 years had to replace your bike, went back to the same store, only to find the love of your life, Joe, still worked there...I take that back no one would pay $9 to watch that. I like the real story much better:)

  8. how cool that you still have your same bike after 20 years! i love the story. it's so much fun to read stuff years later...but it cracks me up because i too was dramatic and to think of the problems i had way back when, they're nothing compared to all the responsibilities i have now!

    hope you're having a lovely week! enjoyed your story a lot!


  9. I was totally thinking of the quote from "You've Got Mail" when I titled this post. To quote my friend, Lora, who was quoting the movie yesterday, "Just call me "Joe" As if you were one of those stupid 22-year old girls with no last name? "Hi, I'm Kimberly!" "Hi, I'm Janice!" Don't they know you're supposed to have a last name? It's like they're an entire generation of cocktail waitresses."

    It's one of my favorite movies ever! Thank YER!

  10. Fun post! I can't believe you still have your bike! I did just sell mine from college before moving to Michigan...but I felt it was just beyond hope.

  11. Thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog! The charity race is on July 30.


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