“I am so incredibly lucky”, I thought, having scaled the last hill, Santa Clara Ave to Monterey Blvd, only 3 downhill miles of the City Loop left, and it wasn’t even noon yet.
The day was sunny but not too hot. Along my route, there were touristy sights, tough but not too scary industrial looking city blocks, dreamy Italian resort town-like views, the Ocean, a lake, parks with awesome trees. There were neatly paved roads with freshly separated bike lanes, and there were run-down roads with bike signage half faded off the shared lanes. There was smell of eucalypti. There was wind from the Ocean – not too much, just a tease. I started the ride early and went counterclockwise, so the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge crowds were still tolerable. Around Fisherman’s Warf, I sneakily adopted myself out to a guy who seemed at ease with the mixed traffic there and followed him to the Fort Mason Park, where I came clean, we wished each other a good day, and I sped up the hill. Riding Maddy was like riding a wind. She wanted to go downhill so scary fast, I had to hold her back with both hands. Uphill, she served me well. My body felt OK when I got home. I could easily do another loop. In a physically challenging yoga class in the afternoon, I felt the hip and sacroiliac joints, felt the neck (from the bumpy roads), but also plenty of strength left.
The wonderfulness started the night before. I felt tired when I got home from work, but decided to go to the milonga nonetheless, because gotta show up. It’s a short bike ride away; the worst thing, I’d just ride back. Didn’t even bother with the outfit much: wore yoga clothes (cute ones) with pink shoes and earrings to glam it up. Danced several sweet tandas, mostly with dear friends. Danced well. And then it happened. Two tandas of complete bliss with a total stranger. We were eying each other since the beginning, and finally managed to complete the cabeceo. “You are so alive”, I told him mid-first tanda. He was. Warm, confident and playful, fluid and precise. I could wait, and I could move. I could play. The embrace flowed: close, open, back together. After our second tanda, the light went up for the announcements. “You know what,” I said, “I’ll just go home now. It’s not going to get any better.” And kissed him on the lips. As I walked past Vita, told her (in Russian): “Did you see the guy I just danced with? Go get him immediately. He is from Berlin, leaving tomorrow.” “Yep,” she said, “I saw your face when you danced with him.” This is tango. You show up on a random night, just like any other. Show up a bit tired, dressed one level up from PJs, with zero expectations. And then the total sensual mind-blowing bliss happens, of the kiss-a-stranger-on-the-lips-and-split kind.
I am incredibly lucky. I am healthy, I am smart, I am weird just enough to have to find my ways, and that works. Yet it’s so easy to be miserable. So easy that I am writing this down, as a reminder to myself. A reminder to just show up. Get my butt on the bike and ride day in and day out, and then one day it’ll be like riding a wind. Get myself on the mat, and move, to stay all alive. Put some clothes and shoes or whatever on and show up at the metaphorical milonga. With intention and good will. Without expectations. There will be wind from the ocean, smell of eucalypti, roads and vistas. There will be strength and connection. There will be life.