The Bridge School

I have been trying to train for this bike trip, but am approaching it in a holistic way. Instead of just going on long rides each weekend, I am trying a whole-body-improvement thing. It started by finally watching the Star Wars movies, which, being a human, I obviously now love. Then last week I changed my first bike flat tire. I would say that it’s impressive I have been biking for about seven years and have never changed a tire; only it’s actually just embarrassing. I don’t know how I avoided it for so long. In high school I somehow never got a flat, then in college I had friends who would change them for me. After moving to Denver it became one of those things that was so embarrassing I had no excuse but to avoid it at all costs. One time last year I got a flat and walked my bicycle four miles to a bike shop and bought a new tube so that they would change it. Each weekend I intend to go for a long ride, but I compromise with myself by learning more about The Bridge School instead.

I grew up in a household where Neil Young’s music was played every day. When I look back on my life, that and episodes of Seinfeld fill the background of every memory. It wasn’t just Neil’s music that I grew up loving, but through my parents I learned about his projects with other musicians, his LincVolt car project, and, obviously, The Bridge School. I used to think that The Bridge School was for kids with cerebral palsy, because Neil has two sons with it. I would listen to his album, Trans, and try to grasp the difficulty Neil and Pegi had communicating with their son, Ben. As I grew older, my understanding of the school branched out slightly, to where I associated it more with the annual benefit concert each October, but it wasn’t until deciding to fundraise for them that I took the time to learn more about the school apart from Neil Young’s influence.

Pegi Young, Jim Foreder and Dr. Marilyn Buzolich founded The Bridge School in 1986 in the Bay Area of California. The school is known for being a leader in the field of argumentative and alternative communication (AAC), working with students with severe speech and physical disabilities to teach them how to best thrive in their communities. So many Bridge School students enter the school unable to express themselves in a way others can understand, but the school works with them to help the students be heard.

When people ask why Kloe and I chose The Bridge School, I realize that the answer is a lot less exciting than I think it is. In the same way that the entire trip fell into place, so did this decision. We had been brainstorming different organizations for about a week before a friend inadvertently suggested it.

“Why don’t you do something related to your dad,” she said.

My dad is all about Neil Young, bricks, and gardens. Duh, I thought, Kloe and I can raise money for overweight bricklayers who grow tomatoes. Google didn’t turn up too many results, though, and then it finally hit me that The Bridge School would be perfect.  The more I learn about it, the more I respect the school and all that it does. I have also been into watching the BridgeSchooler YouTube channel, which is really interesting and I highly suggest it.

Calling All Drivers

I am strangely good at finding the right size Tupperware for leftover food. My roommates will cook, and I’ll run into the kitchen and offer to put the leftovers away for them, just to get some practice in. Someone once told me to find the one you think will fit and then go a size down; the advice has proven to be flawless. This weekend I learned that I have a new skill: tiling.

“I am surprised at how good you are at laying tile,” my friend, Becky, told me. I was surprised too; it does not seem like something I would be good at. I had actually been avoiding it because I thought it would be dreadful, but we have to finish tiling our laundry room by Passover because it is becoming my bedroom.

It all started when I decided to move out this September. We convinced our friend, Heidi, to take over my lease, but it worked out for her to move in sooner rather than later.

“I could just live in the laundry room,” I said. It has always seemed a little too big to be a laundry room, but we had no use for it to be anything else. Until now.

I was face-timing my sister, Leah, the other day about it, when she brought up that it won’t be much different than when I live with her because she doesn’t even have a couch for me to sleep on.

“But how much space do you have, really?” I asked.

“Not much, it’s a one bedroom,” she said.

Normally this would not bother me at all, but unbeknownst to my sister, I have been using her apartment as a selling point to people when I try and convince them that they should be Kloe and my support-van drivers for the trip.

“And then you can be in LA and live at my sister’s place with us. It’ll be great, it’s really close to the beach and awesome,” I tell people. I have no concept how close Leah lives to the beach or how she feels about long-term guests, but at this point I’m desperate to find a driver because my packing list keeps growing.

I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find a driver. While “come drive 90 miles a day by yourself for a month,” is appealing to me, less of my friends are willing to quit their jobs and come across the country than I anticipated. I have gotten a lot of replies along the lines of “maybe, let me see what I’m doing then,” but no solid yeses. I’m confident, though, because like I said, they can stay with my sister as long as they want after, and she lives in LA, pretty close to a beach, I think.