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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bicycle Race

People will forget
what you said
People will forget 
what you did
But people will never forget
how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou

We were talking modern and post modern stuff in communication technology. Somewhere in the discussion was a mention of old bicycles. Professor R drew an example of what bicycles were like around the early years of its invention. I thought her drawing was enough to make me recall the same figure I saw on encyclopedias as a kid. Classmates chuckled their amused curiosity.

My own association with this ancient bike model has since been psychological bashing around a paper I presented at a national research conference. It turned out Professor R was chair of the steering committee that decided the fate of my thesis, one of many under Humanities. She launched an eloquent critique looking like she was going to eat me alive in front of those co-presenters. Academically vicious. She is beauty and brains personified.

Mentally comatose from the scholarly beating, my eyes were probably as wide as the rear wheel of this bicycle when I was called up on stage the next day. There was an award for my paper. It had nothing to do with bicycles. I worked my neck on communication apprehension- rolling up and down, waggling right and left. Much like someone learning to ride a bike.

Which brings me to a fact: I can't ride a bike. Really. I marvel at this innate balance on wheels most people possess.  And a deceased older cousin's craze for the Queen. He would play their hits over and over all day long. Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions were steady background to those jacks and hopscotch I played with other cousins. It was the late 70s. We were a close family. Amazing how I would sing along a sprinkling of lyrics here and there now well stuck in my head - 

"You say black, I say white; you say Rolls, I say Royce ... give me a choice!... I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman..." and I truly believed in all three of them then. Oh, to be a child! Some childhood. It was the Queen, without Her Majesty, instead of the normal princesses or knights in shining armor. Someone who has zero poise on a wheelset misses Freddie.


12 comments:

  1. What an interesting analogy between your grad school experience and the bicycle. Finishing with Freddie is great -- what a voice!

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  2. Why was your paper so criticized by Professor R?

    The video was so perfect for this post.
    Nancy

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  3. Nicely written post Hazel.(And I love Queen as well!)

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  4. I do believe you when you said you can't ride a bike as long as you refer to the one shown in your picture. If you also refer to today's bicycles, just lower the saddle to the level where your feet can always touch the ground.
    I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!

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    1. Thank you Peter. I must have stayed away from bikes altogether to never have thought of your idea. Once I tried my son's bike when he was not looking.

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  5. Isn't it strange how those lyrics stick in the head? Great video.

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  6. From a Penny Farthing to Queen. Great!

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  7. And did you know ... that one of those chaps featuring alongside Freddie in that video is a fellow Sepian? Not officially, perhaps, but I have little doubt that Brian May wouldn't mind being summarily described as such. He published an annotated collection of stereoscopic photographs, A Village Lost and Found, and has "had a lifelong interest in collecting Victorian stereophotography."

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    Replies
    1. Wow! I didn't know that. I went to the link and would read more about it.

      I must confess Brett, that for a second I thought Brian May was participating in Sepia under some pen name. Jesus, my heart somersaulted!

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  8. That is one of my most favorite quotes- it's so true! Nice post!

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  9. You can imagine getting on that penny-farthing bike and taking a pleasurable little ride - going here, going there, driven by nothing other than the bike and fascination : just like your post.

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  10. I enjoyed following your train of thought.

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