I had just repaired a flat tire on my bicycle, and disappointed with the performance of my hand pump, I decided to ride by the local bike shop to fill the tire on my way to class. So I briskly finished off my Folgers coffee, put on a sweaty T-shirt, and took to the road on my two-wheeled terror. But the misery of my day, which usually climaxes with the discovery of a flat tire, was only just beginning. After swinging my leg over the back wheel, wheelie-jumping off the curb onto the road, and swerving back and forth a couple of times to check my alignment I sat down and proceeded to cruise leisurely to International Bicycles around the corner. But it was exactly at the moment that I rested my behind on the seat that I realized the true cause of displeasure for the day.
The ride from my apartment to the bike shop is a short one, about two blocks. But when your seat feels like a bed of cactus, an eternity can pass which each pedal stroke. At last I arrived, two minutes and five hundred swear words later. I gingerly walked my bicycle from the shop's entrance to the repair stand in the back, all the while smiling and looking generally chipper. I filled the tires, made sure the air kept, bounced the bike a couple of times, re-checked the alignment, and otherwise extended my services to avoid the impending trip to campus. I asked in a defeated tone whether or not the shop sold any soft doughnut-shaped bicycle seats. The shop worker gave an acknowledging smirk then a pardoning headshake. I was going to have to endure the trip on my hard racing seat. I departed.
With my tires now fully inflated, every bump, ridge, and hole sent violent vibrations straight through my bicycle, directly into my tender tuchus. The ride to campus from the bike shop would usually take about twenty minutes, but given my inability to sit and really plow through traffic at high speeds, it was more like half an hour. Usually I keep the bike in low gears and use my hefty muscles to propel me forward. But now I was forced to either pedal standing up (and therefore coast a great deal) or keep the pedaling soft and fast. I tried both - neither works particularly well. The result of the combination, however, produced some interesting side effects.
The most pronounced side effect was the wedgy. Each time I switched from standing up to sitting and pedaling it seemed to have the byproduct of cramming my pants (I don't wear underwear) further and further into my ass-crack. This, of course, served to increase the abrasion to my sensitive sphincter and worsen my disposition. Combine the cotton-crammed crevice with a profuse amount of sweat and we have a condition similar to the climate on Venus. The fibers of my jeans then began to entwine the hairs on my behind, forming a union stronger than anything Jimmy Hoffa might have instituted. And this continued for the whole thirty minutes: bumping, rubbing, grating, and pulling on my raw rectal orifice.
Other side-effects include various gymnastics performed on the bicycle aimed at dislodging the abovementioned wedgy. Swerving, crouching, standing fully erect, but all to no avail. Riding on the sidewalk proved too unpleasurable to bear - every crack in the pavement throws a shock of pain into my rear. So I did my best to keep to the streets and make sure I stood up before coming to any obstructions on the road. If you've ever been to Boston then you know that this is impossible because there is a pothole, raised manhole, lowered manhole, gutter, crack, or other bump every five feet. And since I can't literally fly with my bicycle (although traveling five miles in thirteen minutes comes pretty close) I was forced to endure an unabating series of random vibratory attacks.
Passing in front of the museum almost ended me. Cobblestone. I swear a woman must have invented cobblestone (actually women get hemorrhoids as well, but far less often). But since I could see my classroom from that point, I had the extra bit of endurance necessary to ride through the pain. I locked my bike up and took the elevator up to the fifth floor. I would normally take the stairs, but I was hot and sweaty already and I was hoping to cool down a bit before class started. I got to class early and dropped off my books. I proceeded to the bathroom, and pealed the fabric from my butt in a gradual but forceful maneuver. I could feel several strands of my bum-fuzz being torn away with the material, having been fused by the extreme heat and pressure of my crack. Thankfully screams of despair are common in mathematics departments and nobody took notice.
And that was it. All I had to do now was sit through an hour-and-a-half of Analysis sitting in a hardwood chair. Not so bad. It wasn't hot, there was no sweat, and my gluteus maximus are strong and large enough to provide a comfortable cushion when not in use. I coasted through class taking notes dutifully and forgot all about my earlier troubles. I was talking briskly with another graduate student as we descended to street level. And as we walked by my bicycle on the way to the street my shoulders slumped into themselves like a collapsing soufflé. Was I now to ride home? Was I expected to get back on my bicycle in my current condition and pedal my ass back home through the same thirty-minute course? I was. I did. Life is unbearable.