PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIESee^:There is always something to celebrate

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By Kirsten Laskey

There are those who never want to share their stories, at least not publicly. When the newspaper featured “Man on the Street” every Sunday, it was a real chore for the reporter to scour the sidewalks in search of willing participants to answer a question. To make it easier on people, the questions were simplified: “Who would you like to win the World Series?” or “How often to do you wash your car?” The editorial staff was stumped when some people would refuse to answer those questions. It was as if these individuals believed their daily thoughts and routines were not good enough to share with the rest of us.

They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s fascinating what can happen in the span of just a few days.  If you look closely in enough places, it’s amazing what you will discover.

Take last Tuesday, for instance. I made my first-ever baked good on Jan. 19. Sure, it came from a brownie mix that I bought at the grocery store, but I still needed to mix in the eggs and water and study the batter as it baked in the oven. I was thrilled to see when I pierced through the brownies with the top half of a matchstick (I have no toothpicks so I needed to get creative) no uncooked batter coated the stick of wood.

When I took the brownies to the weekly potluck gathering I attend, I practically stared down the poor soul who took the first piece and as he munched away on the dessert, I barked, “DOES IT TASTE ALRIGHT?!”

Later that night as I walked to my car to go home, I beamed at my almost empty pan and concluded that my first effort at baking was a success.

This weekday milestone is small potatoes compared to how others will seize any opportunity to celebrate. Even in the windowless exercise room in the far back end of the Family YMCA, people find joy pedaling madly on a stationary bike during a Y Ride class on a Wednesday evening.

For last year’s Chinese New Year, for example, the instructor balanced a paper placemat from a Chinese restaurant on her bike’s handle bars. She proceeded to read off a description of each of the zodiac animals that were represented by the riders in the room. As an added bonus, she brought in a bag full of fortune cookies.

Furthermore, in tribute to the late Michael Jackson, a few months ago, the instructor played a mix of his songs; and to honor the King of Pop, we all belted along to “Billie Jean.”

Last Wednesday, the room was so full of riders that the instructor had to give up her bike and lead the class on foot.  

She warned us that this setback would not make the class an easy one. In fact, since she personally wasn’t going to get tired, things were going to get tough for us.

I gulp when I hear things like that but there are others in the class who laugh in the face of danger. One man will whirl the pedals so fast his legs become almost a blur and one of the women will release her hands from the handle bars to clap and sway to music.

The chance to hang out with this group that embraces the small, yet still significant details of day-to-day life is a real treat for me. I will watch the clock at the office just to make sure I leave myself enough time to get to the gym and socialize with my spinning class friends. This joy is infectious; you want to share it with everyone.

Case in point, one time as the class laughed and joked around, a fellow rider leaned over and told me it looked as though I had something to write about for the paper. I told her, “I was wondering what I was going to write about, but now I know.”