I’ve had one pet and no children in my life, so I have little practice and even less success with naming things. I adopted a kitty the week Barack Obama was elected president and dubbed him Obi, then spent seven of my cat’s nine lives explaining to people his name was not a “Star Wars” reference.
Establishing an identity for my new bicycle has been challenging, both creatively and emotionally. The first moniker to pop in my mind was “Dank,” but as a chronic stoner it felt a little generic, like calling my firstborn son Junior.
“I was also thinking about ‘The Mister,’” I told my friend over the weekend. “But that would imply we’re married, and I’m just not sure —”
“If your commitment issues also apply to your bike?” my friend asked.
“No, not that.”
“You’re not sure if you should treat your bike like a human?” my friend continued.
“What? No!” I said incredulously. “I’m not sure if my bike is gay, and I don’t want it to feel like it has to be gay just because it’s my bike. What if that’s not its nature, and I’ve already made it my big gay husband?”
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sliding down the slippery slope evangelicals warned America about when they were rallying against marriage equality. I’m awaiting the completion of a custom-built bike, and the nerves and giddiness I’ve had are the closest I’ll ever get to wedding-day anticipation, turning me into a Ridezilla.
We could have had a formal, well-catered ceremony for the amount I paid for my bike-to-be, but will instead exchange vows in the company of my cycling crew, who have been getting glimpses of the bike’s progress and hyping up the big day. I’ve already booked one of my friends to take our wedding photos, but haven’t decided whether there will be any cake.
All of this is fancier and more serious than anything I’ve ever experienced. As a matter of practicality and frugality, most of my bikes have come from cycling co-ops or Craigslist, so, as you can probably guess, they did not inspire any long-term commitment or even require a name.
I settled on calling my new bike “PeeWee,” as its candy red and crisp white color scheme is reminiscent of the bicycle in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the original dream ride for me and so many other 80s babies. In the movie, Pee-wee Herman goes on a cross-country hunt for his stolen bike, and in real life, I’ve never been more expectant of being robbed.
There’s always a chance that walk down the aisle won’t end in happily ever after, but I can’t let my fear of bolt cutters and buzzsaws deny the pleasure and possibilities that a new relationship brings. Neither life nor love come with any promises, except for adventure.