Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In Which I Wonder About Chemicals and My Brain

Francis, Wednesday morning, parked between Regina Hall and the library.

I've got something I’ll call ’Nam brain.

I thought it was because I’m approaching the biggest public event in the Mount Mercy University Fall Faculty Series “The Stories We Tell: Legacies of the Vietnam War.” I coordinate that series, and this will be The Week, when The Wall (a traveling replica of the National Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial) arrives on campus.

So maybe being sleep-deprived (the first newspaper was this week, too) is just normal. But I’m on edge, like a kid before Christmas. I want tomorrow to come. But the anticipation is part of the pleasure, so I don’t want tomorrow to come.

What has all this got to do with biking? Well, for the first time ever, it’s possible my wife and I might bike to work together this week on Friday. We’ll see, but that would be Earth-shattering biking news. Parking will be messed up for a few days, but on Friday the campus bike racks will still be open.

Or maybe I’ve been exposed to dangerous plant-killing chemicals. It was nothing serious like Agent Orange, but I was delivering the newspaper bundles on campus this morning and I drove my old pickup truck of a bike and locked it up at the bike rack nearest the library. (Media grammar students—count the clauses in that sentence.)

That bike rack came complete with a dire warning:

Not the most comforting sign when you have parked your bike and you're wearing sandals.

Well, I don’t always wear closed shoes for biking. If bad things have been sprayed in the grass, I may be vulnerable. On the other hand, crabgrass was looking a bit brown, to me, in this sprayed area, and lawn chemicals don’t work instantly. Chances are the flags have been up for a while and the chemicals are all dry, and I’m OK. Which means the forgetfulness, anxiety and lack of sleep are all normal. It’s just another case of ’Nam brain.

Anyway, y’all come down to Mount Mercy. Bike if you can—it will be a heck of a lot easier than driving. The Wall will be here Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday—it opens officially on Thursday (tomorrow! yikes!) at 4:30 p.m. in the lawn of Warde Hall. A veteran’s panel shares stories that night at 7 in Flaherty Community Room, and information about the Wall will be presented at an open house Saturday.

And the wife and I are volunteering to staff the Wall early Saturday and Sunday at 6 a.m. Will we bike to campus then? Probably not, it’s dark that early—but we’ll see about Thursday. There may be some epic biking saga yet to come.

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