At family gatherings, I usually sat at the “kids’ table.” This usually consisted of me and my sister, plus the few cousins that could still relate to us. Given that my mom - the youngest in her family - pushed me out when she was 37, this meant that aforementioned cousins were at least 11 years older than I was. The kids’ table [or “the young people’s table” as it was later called] was fun for my sister and I, but looking back, I’m impressed that my cousins were able to even carry on a conversation with us. With the exception of cyclists, I find it difficult to talk to anyone who is over 3 years younger than I am. Toddlers and babies just make me awkward. I’ll point and pull sleeves of friends and say how cute they are, but when people give them to me to hold, I tense up. I’m deathly afraid of dropping the child or not holding him/her right or doing something wrong which will enrage the parent and result in them slapping me.
Which is why when Mike told me I could sit at the “kids’ table” at his family’s annual Lobsterfest, I muttered something like “um, nevermind” and found something busy to do. I imagined the scenario that unfolds before me when my mother has threatened the same thing: me sitting at a separate small table with my cousin’s 6 year old tyrant of a son, getting abused by a toy train or verbal abuse that’s meant to be funny but is just annoying, until I snap and then he cries to his mother who probably wouldn’t really care but everyone else will remember it forever and judge me by it, including my own mother. But hey, Mike’s American. That means he has loving, accepting, nonjudgmental parents [this is true]. The kind that dispenses hugs and stuff. And the hugs are of the cute, warm variety, not the stiff, awkward ones I’m forced into when my sister tries it.
So I agreed to go. Even with the threat of being dumped at a separate table with small children whom I wouldn’t know how to talk to [what are they even into these days?]. But again, these are American children, which means they are adorable. And have blue eyes. I even got to hold one. And no, I wasn’t there as the Asian nanny.
I didn't even drop the baby! A few minutes after I relinquished him to his mother, as more family members and their respective children filtered in, Mike offered to walk his mother’s new Specialized Ruby Elite [with 105] out to the garage. She said I could try it out, and I got to ride my first ever women’s specific CF bike.
It’s a 48cm, but easily fits my towering height of 5’2.5 [Mike’s mother is about 5’1]. Despite what everyone says about CF, this bike felt solid, like there was something there. It accelerates well [even in my Vans on clipless pedals], and although I only took it out on a quick spin, I bet it’s an awesome bike to take out on longer rides. Pedaling up the driveway, Mike appeared beside me on his father’s new Specialized Roubaix, another CF bike. With a fairly minimal paint job, the raw carbon of the Roubaix makes the bike look like the equivalent of a muscle car: fast and strong. The two bikes together make for an impressive pair and Specialized moved up on my list of wish bikes. I’d totally get one if Velo carried them [ahem!].
But then I rode this, and my life changed.
JUST KIDDING. And yes, that’s a Harley.
Then, as we were finishing up playing outside, food started coming out. Cheese, crackers, and fruit in the kitchen, steamers on the stove top and after we swung by the fish market in Mike’s father’s truck [I got to ride in a truck! Oh man, I love trucks!], lobsters. A big boxful of lobsters. We attacked them after we stuffed our faces full of steamers and after I ripped that crustacean apart, I was just about ready for a mid-feast nap. Mike and I just sat there for a while, feeling full and/or pregnant with food babies, staring at our swollen stomachs, until the entire family got together for the annual photo meticulously staged and taken by Mike’s father, Gene.
Then there was dessert. Oh yes the Spriggs like their dessert. I saw the cake on the table and silently thanked Mike and Cassidy for making me ride as much as I did last week. Then I grabbed a fork and ate a big chunk of that thing. I mean, it said “Mike/Rapha” and “Kaiko, JD.” WHY ARE AMERICANS SO CUTE AND NICE???
So after that, I went into a diabetic coma and had to be carried to the car and rolled home. But not before we flipped through the Winning magazines that Mike's uncle, Andy, brought for him [he had saved all but the first three issues]. We laughed at the awesomely 80s ads, and kept pointing things out to each other. It's a treasure trove of design ideas and just good cycling stuff in general. At least half of the issues featured some kind of pro female cyclist, too, which was definitely cool and appreciated.
Before I got into the car, I think I said something about how I have to ride and all that but that coma lasted well into Monday. But that’s okay, there’s always tonight, and tomorrow, rollers in my room, and from what the Internet tells me, Thursday Trick Nights at Superb...! So that whole fitness thing might win out over the whole flabbiness thing. Might.