Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overcome Fear with Groups

In my quest to make friends in Chicago, I continue to go out and do things. Sometimes this results in me meeting new people, and on at least one occasion I’ve managed a new friend. I try not to get bogged down on the glacial speed it seems to take to meet anyone or make significant new connections. I keep doing it though. I have worked to not allow myself to become disengaged because of the lack of engagement from others.

As the weather has defrosted a touch, but not really, I figured riding a bike would be a nice way to meet people. Actually, I discovered the Sex on Wheels group, and it seemed like we might have something in common. The group rode on a somewhat regular schedule, so I decided to join up for the next one happening on a night that would theoretically be warm enough for me to ride and not have an asthma attack. The goal was to ride around five miles from downtown, then uptown toward my regular somewhat weekly dinner with the kinky folks, with my love picking me up after for the drive home.

The issue, then, of course, became one of having a bike. That problem was partially taken care of by the city of Chicago, which offers the Divvy bike service. However, the Divvy bike presented its own special sort of challenge. The bikes generally were only used for thirty-minute rides, and anything over thirty minutes would cost a bit extra. There was also the challenge (sometimes) of getting a bike as popular locations tended to run short of bikes sometimes. However, the overcharge fee was relatively low, the bike ride was only around 4.5 miles all together, and it would be a chance to meet new people.

Of course, the breezy May afternoon on which I was slated to take my first ride was frigid. I had a jacket and gloves, but it was still barely above fifty, and close enough to forty that I was mildly concerned that my asthma my try to reassert its authority. All things being equal though, I figured I would live through it, so I got to the site early, found a spot near the Divvy bikes to sit and wait for the rest of the gang, and did just that.

Within a few minutes a handsome gentleman dressed all in black, with black hair, black fingernails, a black topcoat, on a black bike, pulled up.

“Are you here for the ride?” he asked.

“Indeed, I am.”

“Lovely. Where is your bike?”

I explained my situation, which he smileed politely about, and we exchanged a minor amount of pleasantries, mostly about Australia, as he was headed in that direction soon, and I had been before (still a little upset about the lack of midget tossing). We waited for the final member of the troupe that planned to arrive and I grabbed a bike off the rack before the ride was scheduled to begin.

“I am absolutely terrified,” I said out loud, more to myself than anyone else.

“Really, why?”

“No idea. Never ridden on the streets in Chicago before.”

“Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fairly sure. I find when something scares me I like to do it in groups.”

“Really. Does that work?”

“Got me over my fear of sex,” I smiled back.

“You were afraid of sex?”

“Not anymore.”

“Because of groups?”

I just smiled.

Our troupe’s dear leader smiled back.

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