People who have mental health problems sometimes complain about feeling ‘out of control’. This might refer to chaotic, impulsive behaviour that is associated with symptoms of Bi Polar Disorder. Typically sufferers experience life ‘in the fast lane’. Thoughts whizz by, decisions are not so much made, as barged into.
Recently, cycling felt a bit like this, too. I found it hard to put on the brakes – quite literally. That was because my brake pads had worn down to a point where no matter how hard I pressed on the brakes I wasn’t slowing down at all. This was particularly disconcerting since I live half way up a steep hill, I can’t really leave home without relying on using my brakes to glide down to the main road safely.
The other day, as I skidded down the hill, one foot scraping the ground in an attempt to slow my descent, I remembered what happened to Roger Rivèire on the descent on the Col de Perjuret, on the 14th stage of the 1960 Tour de France. I don’t know if it was a problem with his brake pads, or the fact that he was careering down the mountain too fast to retain control of the bike, but he fell over the edge of the mountain and into the ravine, breaking two vertebrae. Although he initially did blame mechanics for faulty brakes, he later withdrew this accusation and admitted having used drugs.
So, this week I took my bike to the bike shop to get new brake pads and a new front tyre. How I wish it was as easy as that to get me back in good working order.
Unable to sleep properly for the past few weeks, I realise that my new medicaation will need tweaking. The trouble is that it is not as easy as popping into my local bike shop. What I need is the ear of my psychiatrist. However, these days, that’s easier said than done.
Thank you to everyone who sent in poetry for last week’s post. Here’s something that should be familiar to most of you.
Slip Slidin’ Away
And I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life
She said “A good day ain’t got no rain”
She said “A bad day is when I lie in bed and think of things that might have been”
And I know a father who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he’d done
He came a long way just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping, then he turned around and headed home again
And God only knows
And God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man
We’re workin’ our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe were gliding down the highway
When if fact we’re slip slidin’ away
Paul Simon (1941 -) and Art Garfunkel (1941 -)