Subtle Gear Shift

When the cub came back from Bulgaria he brought a delightful array of presents for me: a family ring to solidify our fake marriage, coffee mugs from his parent’s trip to moscow, and a bicycle to take me here and there and, on a good day, back again to him. The bike is something that makes me squee inside. A friend once defended his reasoning for getting his daughter a bicycle as it being a rite of passage and an experience in responsibility and freedom. In the gridlock of Istanbul that freedom is a breath of fresh air. There is nothing quite like being able to control my pace and speed and get to where I want to be, hills and effort be damned. But the bike has one thing strange for me: the gear shift. I am used to indexed gear shifters. You know, the type that click thoughtlessly into place with the flick of a finger. This shifter requires a little more thought and finesse. Effort, time, whatever you will. It isn’t that I can’t handle it, but I definitely have been spoiled by magic for my entire life.

Riding home the other day I realized how much my relationship outlook is like a gearshift. I have always been the type of person that locks immediately into place in a relationship. For me there is no “dating – for – fun,” phase. There is love, or not-love and there is no reason to dabble in a relationship if the connection is not there, just for amusement or companionship. At the same time there is no reason to pretend that the connection isn’t there when it is. I have never been the type to play hard to get. People think that this is an unhealthy way to live- that it betrays some personal attachment issue deep within me. Maybe this is true, and maybe not. All I know is that it has been the only thing that makes sense to me. If you feel love, then say it. If it is important to you then care for it. It seems quite simple to me, not some twisted form of desperation. However, finally, this bike has helped me to understand the other perspective. There is no commitment in the shift. You can get halfway towards the next gear and decide that you were wrong and back down without consequence. There is no stopping, no turning, no jolt in the indecision. At the same time, sliding up to the next level is an awkward experience with a bit of friction until you are settled, sometimes not worth the intention that it requires. I get why people find it so difficult to find a relationship and settle into it; why they date so many people that it will obviously (even to them) never work out with. Well, call me easy and automatic, but I will stick to my indexed life. 

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