I rode my bike to the library on Friday. For some reason, this made me feel good on so many levels. I love the library, know I need to exercise and am happy when I can conserve fuel and benefit the environment. Okay, the first two are the ones that are really true. The environment thing is just a happy byproduct but I thought I should throw it in. It sounds good. I do recycle though.

The town library is only a few miles from my house. I go there about once a week, in the car. I’ve been doing this for a few years. It is closer than the nearest bookstore and a lot less expensive. My kids are avid readers and go through books very quickly. And I love being able to not feel guilty if I start reading a book, don’t like it, and don’t finish it. On Friday, I had some books to return that my son had finished reading and had two books to pick up for him that had been on hold.

I had never ridden my bike to the library before but felt inspired to. I had the time because the kids were at school and I wasn’t working. And I have a little extra vacation weight hanging around my mid-section. I picked up my son’s old backpack, the one I had taken on my travels a few weeks ago to Saratoga and Las Vegas. It has a special space for my laptop which I brought on both trips. I hadn’t emptied the backpack out yet, except for my laptop of course, so I needed to do so before I got on my bike. There was a pair of socks, a sweater, some magazines and a few Southwest Airlines snacks inside. There was also a brown banana from the gym at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. Kind of gross, but I just threw it out.

I packed up the books, my wallet and the bike lock. Put on my bike helmet (didn’t want to but it’s the right thing to do) and went on my way. I was hoping to make it out of the neighborhood without anyone seeing me. The helmet paired with my prescription sunglasses makes my nose look bigger than usual and the whole effect is that of an overgrown nerd. But of course, coming my way in her car was my friend. She had just gotten her windows tinted and could only talk to me by opening up her door. It was kind of humorous. Especially when she told me I looked 12 years old. My son is twelve and thank goodness he doesn’t look like I did on Friday, helmet and all. She was running late, as she tends to do, so we said goodbye and I hustled out of my neighborhood.

There are sidewalks the whole way to the library and the trip there only took me about 15 minutes. I parked my bike, locked it up and went in to the library’s bathroom to take my helmet off and see how scary I looked. My hair wasn’t too bad. I got a drink of water and walked around. I wandered the stacks and found a mystery to read over the weekend because my husband was going to be working and my kids were going to be with their dad.

But all the while, I kept smelling banana. The scent was particularly strong when I was waiting in line to check out my books. I looked around to see if anyone was breaking the library’s “no eating” rule. Nobody was so I just figured it was my imagination. I checked out and packed my backpack up with my new books, put my helmet on and went on my way. There is a Publix three quarters of the way home so I stopped there to get a sub sandwich (turkey, swiss, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, green peppers, and onions with light mayo). Their sandwiches are really good, made to order and you can get them on healthy seeded whole grain rolls.

The whole trip, purchasing the sandwich included, took me an hour. I got home and was ready to sit down with my new book and eat my sandwich but decided I should unpack all of the backpack first. The banana smell had gotten stronger. I looked into one of the outer pockets and saw the two pens I had taken from the Wynn and reached in to get them. I love free pens from hotels. But as I was reaching for them, my hand hit something soft and slimy. It was another banana, completely rotted, almost liquid. Nasty, but at least that explained the smell. I didn’t remember that there were two bananas in there. But as my husband later explained, he put the second one in the backpack. Thanks for that. And for the rest of the day, I couldn’t get the joke “Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” out of my head.

So, I took the backpack out to the trash can. No way that it could be de-bananafied and it was pretty beat up from already going through a year of middle school. Then I sat down, started my book and had my lunch. And I was in heaven except for the rotten banana smell under my fingernails. My life’s not perfect. But it’s pretty close.