An ode to a jumbled gear room.
It’s about three feet wide and six feet long. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s clearly just a furnace room lackadaisically converted to a storage area. From my outlook, it’s an oasis, a room of one’s own, a little slice of carrot cake that’s calling my name on ovulation day.
On a good day, it’s chaotically organized by the size of each item. Four bikes stand directly in the middle, taking up the majority of the small space. A townie to get me from brewery to brewery, a roadie with enough dust on the top tube to remind me that I’ll never be in the same shape I used to be, a mountainie to remind me that I’m far from invincible, and a fixie to keep the calves thick. In the left corner, a sloppy pile of skis creates a teepee home for ski boots. Shoved in another corner is a large red backpack that’s meant to transport climbing gear but now stores it. In the small spaces between it all lie random items including, but not limited to: a large water jug with stale leftover liquid from my latest escape from Bozeman, a small teal cooler with a “cake fart” sticker carefully placed in the middle of it, and a machete. I can attest that placing these things in their corresponding spots was equally as satisfying as putting the final jigsaw piece into a Vermont Christmas Company puzzle.
While some of us ponder the items we would save from our homes in the event of a fire, I panic, thinking that I’d never have enough time to clear out my gear room.
As you can imagine, removing items from the gear room is no mean feat. I consider myself a skilled equilibrist when I balance myself on two bikes, my hobbit feet clutching the seats, to reach an item that’s calling my name from the back.
When it’s necessary to remove a bike, there’s a combination of leaning, holding, and grunting to finagle it out of the box. Once out, the battle isn’t even close to being over. Doors have to be positioned at a certain angle, the bike held above my head. Once I’m up the stairs and out the front door, the journey continues; I carry the bike on my shoulders and shove it in the back of my truck. My swagger increases as I return to my basement abode.
While some of us ponder the items we would save from our homes in the event of a fire, I panic, thinking that I’d never have enough time to clear out my gear room. My apologies to the dogs for not prioritizing them, but I feel confident that they could run out the front door much more easily than I could while carrying bikes, skis, and anything else I managed to grab in the rushed escape. I like to believe that they would agree.
I do realize that having an actual gear room, or even the corner of a garage, would be more ideal for most, but the je ne sais quoi of mine holds a soft, warm place in the bottom-left corner of my heart—specifically, next to the nook holding my endearment of elderly, smelly dogs. Maybe one day I’ll add some hooks or even some storage containers to contain the madness. In the meantime, I’ll continue to speak of the room as my oasis.