I set off—nay, I sally forth!—on my single-speed steel-tubed steed through the perfect Brooklyn day. My steed? An 1887 Croker Wheelman Penny-farthing purchased from an antique dealer in Pennsylvania and lovingly restored to its original glory. The air? Crisp and cool, but not too cool. The breeze gently tussles the strands of my beard that peer from beneath the chinstrap of my cleverly named Nut Case helmet. What a killer logo, too.
I pause at a red light to catalogue the memories that I am simultaneously creating in the mental Moleskin of my mind as the day also sallies forth.
My feet pedal me all the way up and past the glorious farmer’s market adjacent to Fort Greene Park. I admire the delicious-looking fruits and vegetables, but I cannot stop to purchase and then taste their delicious flesh right now. No, right now I must continue riding north past the Navy Yard and on yonder to South Williamsburg, and yonder further to Middle Williamsburg, past the Williamsburg Bridge, until I reach my destination under the BQE.
Old R. Moses never expected to find me here! And yet here I am, more than 50 years hence cursing the shadow his dream now casts upon my Brooklyn streets. I spit on the ground at your imaginary decrepit, stinking corpse, Robert Moses! My frown soon turns upside down as I walk into the store to purchase a silky smooth chocolate bar. It was handcrafted from single-origin cocoa beans transported on a schooner directly from South America and only costs nine dollars.
Also, I wonder what the equivalent of nine dollars was more than 50 years ago?
I am sitting at my good old desk—Danish, circa the middle of the last century—listening to “Good Old Desk” by the late, great Harry Nilsson.
As the mellifluous sounds spill out of my wood block iPhone speaker (my Sonos is already packed away safely), the irony of the juxtaposition of the song and the desk at which I sit is not lost upon me. Nor is the fact that Harry Nilsson, native son of Brooklyn, probably also sat at a desk in Brooklyn at some point, thinking about his impending move across the nation to Los Angeles, the city of Angels.
The momentary reverie complete, I get back to the task at hand. Namely I finish wrapping up my collection of Adbusters magazines, carefully enfolding each issue within a page of a Village Voice newspaper I obtained for this very purpose. Yet more irony! Literary-illy.
I comb special beard oils through my beard and lay my head down to sleep.
I am flying! A co-pilot is likely navigating, and it is a commercial flight. However, this miracle of modern engineering is still something to behold from my perch here between 17A and 17C. I must admit it is somewhat uncomfortable in the middle seat. But, I am probably not as uncomfortable as my furry companion Jean-Luc Dogard who sits in his carrier, which sits beneath 17B. Jean-Luc is a French Bulldog, and he is joining me on this journey which will take me almost 2,500 miles from my former home in New York City to my new home in Los Angeles. Not to mention the psychological distance this move will create between Petra and me.
I am sitting atop a cardboard box, the contents of which have unfortunately sustained some fortunately non-fatal injuries. No doubt the metaphorical blood is on the rough hands of those careless movers. However, I don’t let the severely scuffed spines of The Corrections or Middlesex get me down.
“California Stars” by Billy Bragg and Wilco spills out of my just-unpacked Sonos system and instantly cheers me up. The irony of listening to this song here in Los Angeles is scrumptious indeed.
Aside from the one box of damaged books, this move has been smooth sailing. Speaking of sailing, I imagine a ship carrying me all the way South down the east coast of America, then West across the Panama Canal, and finally heading back north in the Pacific Ocean to a port somewhere in Los Angeles. Likely the county, not the city.
I continue unpacking.
Back on the bike. The lofty view from my Croker Wheelman includes palm trees and succulents now. What a refreshing sight for my jet-lagged eyes. I imagine chomping off the top of the most luscious looking one, like the bushy part of a broccoli stalk purchased from a local farmer’s market. I chuckle at my own whimsical imaginings.
Petra, I am way more than 100 yards from you now! The local constable isn’t interested in our interpersonal disputes because it is a completely different jurisdiction.
I digress and aim my high and mighty metal cruiser further down Sunset Boulevard. Who built this impressive street? Certainly he was more gentle and sensitive than that ogre Robert Moses. I imagine shaking hands with this still-handsome chap despite the fact that he has been dead for many, many years. Thank you, kind sir, for creating this lovely tree-lined boulevard for me to ride my Penny-farthing down.
Pedaling past a sturdy looking woman selling mangoes and papaya slices, I spy a quaint looking shop down a side street. Could this be the jackpot I’ve been searching for? I can almost taste the fruit from California’s proverbial horn o’ plenty already.
I lock up my trusty single-speed steel horse and go inside to peruse the fine-looking baked goods and gently finger the perfectly imperfect organic citrus fruits. Lo and behold, there it is! The chocolate bar of my dreams both past and present. And for a mere 10 dollars. Just a one dollar premium for some kind soul who was probably wearing a brown UPS uniform to carry it all the way from Brooklyn to greet me here in Los Angeles. I take a bite and savor the infusion of lemon rind essence and pink peppercorn that fills my soul and makes me feel at home immediately.