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Angle Two – Camaraderie

I don't think it would be possible to assemble a more disparate group of six people (five cyclists and guide). Granted, it was an all-woman adventure, and – to my knowledge – our group did not include any evangelical Christians or Buddhist monks. However, we had quite the mixture of sexual orientations, ages and life stages, relationship statuses, ethno-cultural backgrounds, belief systems and life philosophies. As it turns out, some of these perspectives eventually presented as being in direct opposition to each other. This is a polite way of saying that some of us rubbed the others the wrong way, from time to time.

However, in that interesting way that people who are thrown together over a short but intense periods of time have of making it work, it worked. We were in this thing together. My soliloquy on open relationships on Day 2 (rarely a popular topic) vs. deeply monogamous B's penchant for brandishing a Really Big Knife. M's need to needle and instigate, as well as her habit of moving on to the next song on the iPod before the current one was finished (argh!!) … T-1's concerns about keeping pace and staying connected to the group … T-2's slightly wide-eyed, positive spin on everything … exhausted K's struggle with maps, directions and her complete lack of attention to, and interest in, touristy sight-seeing … all of this notwithstanding – we laughed. Together. A lot. I had no trouble imagining that if I wound up bleeding by the side of the road, that B would show up with her Knife and a tourniquet. True, it might have resulted in an amputation of some sort … but still …

It became evident that a peculiar bonding between us had occurred over breakfast on the Friday morning, as we were preparing to go our separate ways. The "in jokes" that had sprung up between us over the short four days were recycled, over and over, resulting in helpless giggling amongst us each time. These jokes also completely baffled and excluded others who had not been part of the group for the past few days, as is the way with people who have just been through something together.

A few among the group are hesitant to have their photos online, for a variety of reasons, so I'm showing admirable restraint, really. In lieu of this, and for the posterity of a very small group of people, I shall try to capture some of the key phrases and concepts here.

  • dill pickle chips
  • "Is this the flat part?" You see, each of us had been assured that Manitoulin Island is very flat and perfect for inexperienced cyclists. Right.
  • "There is always another hill …" See above.
  • "Are we there yet?"
  • "… on yer bike …"
  • "My hoo ha (hoo hoo, who who, whatzit, bits ..) hurts"
  • "Ibuprofen, anyone?" See above.
  • "Where's the Knife?"
  • "As long as there aren't any of those f*cking poppydums …"
  • "Those deer? Thems in-breds."
  • "Is there toast with that?"

If you look carefully, this road drops off rather steeply, about half a kilometre ahead, where one is greeted by a stop sign. And loose gravel.

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One comment to “Angle Two – Camaraderie”

  1. It's amazing how a simple post (or two) can capture the tone and texture of an entire week. My guess is that had you known exactly what to expect – the other women, the sadistic qualities of a bicycle seat, etc., you probably wouldn't have gone. And my other guess is that you're very pleased you didn't know all that in advance, and are thrilled you went. And – if I can be permitted one more guess- in about three weeks you will have forgotten all the irritations, and this experience will become one of your most treasured and fun ones.

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