We saw J. Edgar, a bleak, intense movie about J. Edgar Hoover, starring Leonard DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, and Naomi Watts. The acting is magnificent, there’s an old-fashioned, stylized, dark look to the cinematography, over-the-top makeup (DiCaprio grows stoop-shouldered and wrinkled, and the beautiful Armie Hammer becomes grotesque with liver spots all over his face), and a convoluted narrative that goes back and forth in time. Did you know Edgar was a cataloguer at the Library of Congress before he became director of the FBI? That he developed a scientific system of analyzing fingerprints? That he solved the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s baby? That he unscrupulously targeted radicals? That he was gay and had a long-term relationship with Clyde Tolson, associate director of the FBI? That he collected private files on public figures?
I think DiCaprio should get an Academy Award, but the last time I checked I had no clout there.
It was pitch-dark when we got out of the film and I had cabin fever. All that darkness.
So on Saturday we rode our bikes.
The wind was from the south. The first 18 miles were fine. Woods, fields with hay bales at artistic intervals, goats and chickens, grain elevators, a restaurant in a shack, and a bar in a quonset hut.
We knew we had arrived in Audubon when we saw the baffling 45-ton statue of Albert the Bull (touted on its website). Yes, it looks like something out of a carnival. It was a Jaycee project.
Then we rode 10 more minutes to Casey’s, one of the only stores open, where we bought our snacks.
The problem is there’s nowhere open in small towns on Saturday afternoon to drink coffee and get warm. So we huddled at John James Audubon Plaza on concrete stools in front of a talking building. Yes, you press the button and a shack tells you the history of the town.
This is one of the few bike rides where I haven’t cracked a book on our biking break. It was just too chilly.
The temp dropped five degrees in 15 minutes, according to the bank clock, and then we rode into the wind. It was very difficult to make any progress at all. I put my bike in low gear and leaned over the handlebars, but it was very, very cold and difficult. After an hour’s riding like that into the wind, I sat down on the trail and rubbed my legs.
“Do you want to sit here and I’ll come back with the car?” my husband asked.
Well, not really. It was cold and almost dark. I’ve been on long cross-country bike rides before, and there are often moments when you want to cry. I usually just sit down for 10 minutes. But this time I did cry when it got dark and I rode into a scratchy branch.
It was getting darker and darker.
“It’ll be dark at 5:30.”
I know these things. I hate the dark. I feel depressed as soon as we go off Daylight Saving Time.
My husband was amazed that I knew the EXACT MINUTE it would be dark.
The sky got dark, low, and the purple-pink light slanted depressingly into darkness.
He has a bike light, so he turned it on and that helped. The poles blocking the trails from the roads are fluorescent, thank goodness.
It was pitch dark when we made it back to the trailhead.
I would have liked to bicycle today, but one of my thighs is sore. I guess I strained it slightly?