Thursday, September 1, 2016

Merckxx's Mistress

An adaption of David Markson's mesmerizing Wittgenstein's Mistress.

In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the streets. Huy! Huy! Huy Certain of the messages would say. Or Ventoux.



Naturally, they could only say that when I was in Belgium or France. Libby! is what they would say when I was in Richmond.

No races came, naturally. Eventually I stopped writing messages in the streets.

To tell the truth, I only left a few messages. And they were small and not really in Belgium or France or Richmond.

I have no idea how many I left and how long I was leaving those messages.

And of course I was quite out of my mind for a certain period too, back then. Quite cycling mad.

I do not know for how long a period, but for a certain period.

Time out of mind. Which is a phrase I suspect I may have never properly understood, now that I happen to use it.

Time out of mind meaning mad, or time out of mind meaning simply forgotten?

But in either case there was little question about that madness. As when I drove to that obscure corner of Philly, for instance, to visit at the site of ancient Manayunk Wall.

And for some reason wished especially to look at O'Brien's garden hose that I had read about as well as the Lemon Hill and Lyceum Avenue.

I had forgotten the sprinkler, which was actually a mister.

At any rate, I did not mean Manayunk, but Roxborough, which used to be called Rocksburrow.

The name of Philadelphia being changed too, naturally. Lenape, being what it was changed from. Or rather who it was taken from. Lenape Native Americans, that is.

In many ways my visit was a disappointment, The Wall being astonishingly short. Little more than your ordinary difficult Mid-Atlantic climb and a Category 3 according to the French.

Somebody's conscience once went there to die, I believe, in one of the old races. Lance Armstrong's, perhaps.

I mean the Lance who paid off his rivals to claim the $1M triple crown prize.

Still, certain things can touch a chord.

Such as for instance a day or two after that standing in the barnyard of a Merksem family watching Schaal Sels pass between the barn and the house in the afternoon sun.
photo: Kristof Ramon
I am not certain I was mad when I visited Belgium with my Bianchi to lose my first bike race.

Why is it that I have written that it was a Bianchi?

Colnago is what my first race bike was.

Time out of mind. Meaning one can eventually forget the make of one's first race bike, which would be 10 years old now.

How I left those messages was with white paint. In huge block letters, at intersections, where anybody on a bike coming or going would see.

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