Take It Easy

This morning, while I was listening to NPR in the shower (thank you, BlueTooth), I heard an interview with Annie Lennox.  Ms. Lennox, half of the Eurythmics, (can you hear Sweet Dreams yet?) is about to release a new ablum called Nostalgia.  Interestingly, in the course of the interview (which you can read or listen to here) Lennox made the following point, referring to having lived through an interesting time (she was born in 1954):

“[T]here’s a part of me — kind of, sometimes — wants to slow it down and go back. And the one thing you cannot do — and this is inherent, the sort of irony of the title — you cannot go back. There’s no turning back of the clock. You’ll never do that. So nostalgia is a dip into an imaginary space, really.” (Italics added.)

I engage in a lot of nostalgia here, as you know, and it has been an interesting time, and I enjoyed the interview (and the music) a lot.  But music tends to form chains for me (as you may have noticed) and her remark–you cannot go back–put me in mind of Don Henley’s line from The Boys of Summer:

Out on the road today
saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
Little voice inside my head sayin’
Don’t look back. You can never look back
(Italics added.  Again.)

And that, in turn, lead me to the Eagles’ Take it Easy (and hence the title of this post):

Well, I’m running down the road
tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on
my mind,
Four that wanna own me,
Two that wanna stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine
Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy
(Yes, I have added italics yet again.)

It’s been a long time since I’ve had even two women on my mind, but something in the verse spoke to me.  And then I realized that it was something trivial.

(Bicycle bell, please)

Last night, I was stressed about a lot of things.  I have obligations to about five organizations, a full-time job, adjunct teaching (at which I’m seriously out of practice), my family, and my brother is arriving for a visit tonight.

But I didn’t work on any of those things.  Instead I went down to the Bike Cave.

See, for the past couple of weeks, the cranks have been knocking on my bike.  I isolated the problem to having too narrow a bottom bracket spindle, which had in turn lead me to use spacers.  Just a little loosening up was enough to make a clunk and a wobble.  So last night I pulled out off the cranks, removed the 116mm cartridge and replaced it with a 127.5, moving the crank arms outward by a tiny amount (mainly the non-drive crankarm, since I’d put 3mm worth of spacers under the drive-side flange of the bottom bracket).

I also put a new cassette on the rear wheel and a new chain, while I was at it.

With everything snugged down nice and tight (and thanks to Wolfram Alpha for torque conversions), the bike was ready for its test flight.

Now, this bike has always had a front rack and, because it has, it has always carried a rather large front bag.

When I put the bike up on its workstand to make pulling the cranks easier, I took off the bag (since it makes the fork flop around).  When it was time to take it out for a run around the block, I didn’t bother replacing the bag.

The bike felt different.  Not better, not worse, but different.  A little more sprightly, somehow.

So I thought about that, and I have a conclusion.  The bike was telling me last night the same thing that the song chain was telling me this morning.

Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy

Maybe I will…

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