Penny-farthings And Pony Rides

Ordinary bicycle, Skoda Museum, Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, photo by: Agnieszka Kwiecień Nova, date: 2003, permission: GFDL

It was early afternoon when I drove home. Having just finished a meal of egg casserole and fruit with friends, I sat in the car contemplating whether eating eggs at noon constitutes a brunch or whether I had just participated in a very confusing lunch. My wife, sister, and I were about halfway home when I noticed something outside of my window.

In the bike lane was a biker. He was clad in the usual spandex biker attire, his helmet strap tightly fastened around his jaw and dark sunglasses protecting his eyes from the brightness of the midday sun. If you were to just look at the man in the bike lane, nothing would strike you as unusual. It would only be if glancing at his bicycle that you would find something off kilter.

This man was peddling away as if he were just another biker. The only difference was this man was on an old-timey bike, the kind where the front wheel is taller than a small sedan. This man, seeing that the weather outside was fantastic, had decided to dust off his Penny-farthing like it was 1885 and gone for a nice ride along a busy city street.

Having never seen a person ride a bike like this, I was quite taken aback. I excitedly pointed out my window, shouting “Old-timey bike! Old-timey bike!” Then we continued on our way.

At the next stop light, the car had grown very quiet. Suddenly, my sister broke the silence.

“Why are there pony rides at the Hardee’s?”

To the right of the car, there was a red and white tent set up outside of the fast food restaurant. Inside the tent were several horses all walking in a circle. The cars continued through the drive through as if this were an everyday occurrence. After all, who would not expect to see a tent full of farm animals while getting an X-tra Bacon Thickburger?

Between the bike and pony rides, I began to get a strange feeling. It seemed that somehow on our ride home, we had driven into a dimension where we live in a carnival. I expected to see Ferris wheels and a cotton candy booth at the next turn. I glanced at the cars around us, wondering if they were filled with clowns and exactly how many clowns would fit into the blue Honda Civic to my left.

That’s when I remember that I had not had a single glass of water today. My liquid intake had consisted of coffee and juice, but no water. Maybe I was severely dehydrated and these were just hallucinations. Worse, I was so dehydrated that somehow I had sucked my sister and wife into these hallucinations with me. It was a bizarre Inception type of dehydration where people were able to travel into my thoughts.

When we got home, I drank a cup of water. I still do not know if the bike and the pony rides were real. I also do not know if any of the cars near me were filled with clowns. In all of this, though, I did decide on one thing.

If it happens after noon, it is lunch, not brunch. Also, I should probably have some water regardless of the meal’s title.

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