One evening on the way home from an interview, I was scribbling interpretive notes to myself on the subway. I happened to look up and made eye contact with a very pretty elderly woman. She smiled and commented, “You write like a torpedo!” I explained what I was doing and why, and her eyes widened. “Oh!” she turned to her friend, and then spoke animatedly in another language to her. They turned as one back to me.

The woman is Yugoslavian by birth. When she was a child, there was no metal for luxuries like bikes, there being a war on. She had never had the chance to ride one in her youth. When she moved to Canada as an adult, she tried a few times to learn to cycle, but she could never quite get the hang of it. Someone suggested to her that her balance had not been challenged as a child and so she might always be at a disadvantage. She finished this explanation of her enthusiasm for my project by saying to me, “At night, sometimes I dream of riding a bicycle!”

This blogpost is dedicated to Catya. May your dreams come true.

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