Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Monkey Butt Is a Real Condition

by | May 3, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

Sightseeing Downtown Austin on an Uncomfortable Seat

Texas, Austin. April, 2024. All Photos by Author.

Don’t you feel like when you go to a new city but only go to the hotel from the airport and back, you haven’t been to that city? It’s almost as if it doesn’t count.

This is especially true for me as a salesperson. Conventions are all-consuming, and it is hard to escape even for an hour.

But sometimes the stars align, and I find myself with a morning or an afternoon.

I had such a rare occurrence while in Austin, Texas.

I was looking for things to do when my friend Travis called me and said, “What if we rent bikes and do a few loops around downtown? In that way, I can train and sightsee at the same time.”

Travis is training for a triathlon. He does at least once a year. I sometimes walk to the park by my house.

But what I lack in physical training, I make up with unfounded chutzpah.

So when we got to the bike shop, I insisted on getting the same bike Travis got.

Travis said the loop we were doing was about ten miles. Once we finished the first loop, he would leave and go for another two loops, which was fine with me. Somehow, I figured I hadn’t biked one mile in more than twenty years and that I could do ten, but more than ten would be too much.

Travis suggested again that I rent an e-bike or at least a hybrid. I wasn’t having it. So I started needling him, “Relax, I’m going to keep up. This bike is a major upgrade over the donkey I used to ride in Colombia.”

Towards the end of the first two hours, I found myself suffering from a common ailment cyclists call “Monkey Butt.” I felt the pain once I left the shop, even though I told the clerk three different times the seat was too high. After asking anything three times, you can’t help but feel like you need to give it a rest.

What he didn’t understand was that I am built like a tennis racket, heavy on the top and short on the bottom. My body is built for swinging burlap sacks full of coffee over my shoulder, not cycling.

In any case, I felt the beginning of monkey butt a block away from the shop, and my condition quickly turned from acute to chronic at the end of two hours.

I don’t know who first called it “Monkey Butt.”

Maybe it was Jane Goodall.

Maybe she saw monkeys in Tanzania signaling at each other how they were suffering in their butts in places they didn’t even know could hurt.

Of course, that’s silly!

Good old Jane is a great observer of nature, and she would’ve not gone for the euphemism when she would’ve called it what it really is “Baboon Butt.”

I’m not going to lie. My pretension to keep up with Travis was pedaled off at this instance, and I wished I had an e-bike or, even better, a donkey. Donkeys are slow but reliable, and bike seats will never be as comfortable as a saddle — even bareback riding the donkey would’ve been more comfortable.

One of the benefits of having a photo hobby is that you can stop at any point during a bike ride and take a picture of anything that you find remotely interesting.

Then you can ride back to where your group is and innocently tell them, “I’m sorry I fell a little behind. I had to take a picture.” When, in reality, your comment should have been, “I had to stop because I struggled to breathe and pedal at the same time. I was about to pass out into oncoming traffic.”

The drivers in Austin were very respectful of bikers. That made me happy. I’m very respectful of drivers here at home. But it doesn’t change the fact that it takes only one driver to run over your head for your bike ride to be forever ruined.

One of the benefits of getting lost during a bike ride while exploring a new city is that you stumble upon abandoned structures like this one. Who made this? What was its purpose? Who were they worshipping? I have come to learn that paleontologists called the tribe who built these structures “Texans.”

Fascinating creatures. Do not stare. They shoot.

Once we were done, Travis and I talked while waiting for our Uber. He talked about the swimming portion of the triathlon in Panama City and how the last time he did the same triathlon, there were tons of jellyfish. “Oh, the little ones that don’t sting you,” I asked.

“No, they sting you. A lot!”

“Why are you doing this to yourself?!?!? You know you don’t have to.” This is my question for all triathletes.

Triathlons are insane enough, but imagine if you had to start your hour of swimming and get stung by jellyfish. That’s a “Fear Factor Triathlon.” At the finish line, instead of getting a medal, he gets a smoothie of raw animal intestines.

We jumped on the Uber; I sat on my hip instead of my buns because I was suffering from baboon butt.

Some nights, if I sit wrong, I can still feel the pain. I have come to learn that it is called “Phantom Baboon Butt Syndrome,” and one of the symptoms is that I can tell people I have visited Austin.

I biked and sight-saw about fifteen miles of it.


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