Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Boy in the Hood: First Winter Ride

Me in my hood this morning.  It fits under the hew helmet. I put on warm gloves after snapping this photo.
The title of a movie made in 1991 confused me, because I was already old in 1991 and easily confused.  It was called “Boyz in the Hood,” and I wondered what nefarious acts were committed by people in parkas.  I had no idea that “hood” was a contraction for where Mr. Rogers spent his lovely days:  the neighborhood.

Well, while the “hoodie” is sometimes a hoodlum disguise, the hood, I think, is more nerdy than menacing.  Today, for the first time, as I rode through my ’hood, I wore my winter hood.

I was testing my new helmet with my winter regalia.

It passed with flying colors.  Not gang colors.  I just mean it passed.  No, not that “passed.”  I mean it was acceptable.  As a hood and not a ’hood or even hoodlum.

Back to our morning ride.  This was the day after a cold front roared through Iowa, dropping temperatures by 20 degrees and also dropping the first raindrops this arid desert has seen in many a moon.  I actually drove a car yesterday, something I rarely do, anticipating the rain and having an evening appointment at Coe College, and I was pleased as punch that the rain fell.

It made for a breezy, cool ride this morning—cold enough for me to try my winter outfit—my wind-breaking jacket, with the hood that can fit under my helmet, and gloves.

It wasn’t the complete winter outfit.  No need for long johns, yet.  I suppose it was just under 30 degrees as I rode in, and I did miss the fuzzy warm winter socks I would normally wear in colder months—about 1/3 of the way on my journey, my toes were colder than the nose of a Chicago hoodlum hanging out without his hood in the ’hood in January.

But, honestly, my head was getting a bit too warm.  I had a little sweat stored under that hood by the time I crested the Warde Hall hill to finish the morning commute.  And my feet were fine by the time I arrived—the heat generated by a big person moving a bike 4 ½ miles eventually took over.

It was a beautiful morning.   And I could not be happier about my hood fitting under the new bike helmet.  Well, I guess I could be a little happier.  Felicia Day could have been commuting to some Guild filming in northern Hiawatha, and she could have sung out as she rode her pink road bike past me (headed north, as I headed south), “hey, stranger, nice hood!”

So I could have been happier.  But not much happier.  It was a lovely day in the ’hood with my hood.

PS:  So how did I do, class?  Students are spending a lab time writing an opinion column.  I told them their upper limit was 650 words, but to aim for 500.  Me?  I did other work for 10 minutes and wrote this in 20.  And “20” was my 500th word … pretty good for an old man in the hood!

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