There’s 1000 things I want to talk about, but what I’ve got today is a shout out to some of my favorite podcasts.
Tuesday night and Wednesday, I just felt sick to my stomach. Despair splitting my heart open and filling up my gut. Today I am so angry. So fucking angry.
The are 1000 thoughts running through my brain, but before I spill a few of them out onto the page, I wanted to get to some links first:
Radical Pragmatism (from the Bush years)
Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts.
To elected Democrats – obstruct. Filibuster. Filibuster. Filibuster. Get your talking points together. Support Obama appointing Merrick Garland to the supreme court. Remind the public of outstanding lawsuits http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/10/75-lawsuits-against-president-elect-trump.html against Trump. Call for an investigation of his abuse of women. Call for an investigation into his ties to the KKK. Call for the designation of the KKK as a terrorist group. Remind the public of the more 500 lies he told on the campaign trail.
Also: Don’t go to the inauguration. Don’t go to the White House. Don’t have a meeting with him, unless his ass will come to Senate or House and then the agenda is resist, resist, resist.
To my people: Love is resistance.
To the silicon power people, you are not seceding. You are staying right here. If you have a bunch of money to fund a campaign: Fund a fucking campaign to do away with the Electoral College. Set up life time funding for the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. Fund Black Lives Matter and National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Fund services for trans and queer youth. Fund the free press. You get the idea. Do something that matters with your precious elite power and all the money you’ve made off commodifying our social lives and need for work. You are nothing without us, so fucking do something real for us.
To all the people that couldn’t be bothered to vote. What the fuck, man! There is no magic candidate that is going to fix everything. Not Obama. Not Bernie. Not Nader. Not Lincoln. Not Kennedy. No one. So what. Our job as citizens is to hold our leaders feet to the fire. Make them do the right thing. Sometimes, like FDR, make them do great things. If you’re all boohoo, they are both fucked up, let me tell you that the lesser of two evils is really fucking less evil. And Trump is troll and bully with the heart of despot and soul of a dictator.
Another beautiful day. Second one in a row. It looks like winter riding is over (fingers crossed), which means more miles in the daylight, and that always inspires more confidence, at least for a little while. Yesterday, on the ride home, I felt like I wanted to ride as fast as I could, not that I did, because that’s not my jam around car traffic. Still, I had that very boundless feeling of happy energy from the sunshine and the 70 degrees temperature, which I channeled it into pushing myself on the hills.
I remember a ride back in February, when it was still dark in the morning. I was stopped at a light in the Rose Quarter, and I noticed birds chirping. It felt so hopeful. Like, oh thank god, twilight riding is almost over. There was a time when I liked my pre-sunrise and post-sunset commutes. They were kind of quiet. My routes felt generally calm. But as car traffic in Portland worsens, I am finding late fall and winter riding to be much more mentally challenging than they used to be. Or maybe every year, I forget how it felt. Anyway, I just deleted a bunch of stuff I wrote about winter commuting because the sun is out and we have entered the season of longer days. Be here now. Right?!
Flat front tire this morning. First thing. Before I even started pedaling. Not sure how I missed it last night when I rolled my bike from the garage to the house, which is how I do – prep for my morning commute, as much as I can, the night before. Maybe there was nothing to notice, as in it was a slow leak. But even then, you think I would have caught a deflated tire when I rolled my bike over the front door trim and out of the house this morning. It just doesn’t seem possible that it was a full tire until I stood up on the pedals and somehow pushed out all the air – whoosh. When does that ever happen? Like a flat tire in waiting.
But I don’t know; maybe it was partially full?
I am belaboring this point here much longer than I belabored it in reality. Which is kind of how writing works. You think something for 10 seconds and then write about it for at least 10 minutes. But also, I just had a flat tire on Friday. Seriously. Three days ago. Back tire. And it was a bigger ordeal because I had already biked in more than half of my commute when my tire went flat. So there was some walking and taking the max and walking again. Really, it could have been much, much worse, if for instance, I lived some where without something like a max that I could put my bike on. But I digress. In reality this morning, I was like: fuck. again. ugh. wish I woulda caught it sooner. work. email work. why am i embarrassed? make coffee. don’t change your clothes.
When does Bike Gallery open?
In my life, I’ve changed out a flat possibly two times. So, yes, I can change one (although I am slow-ass-slow), but if I don’t absolutely have to, then I don’t. Portland’s got a bajillion bike shops. Bike mechanics have changed a bajillion flats. That makes me, not a bajillion times happier, but happier than I would be if the aforementioned weren’t true. I would be a bajillion times happier, if more than one of these shops had early morning hours. Like last Friday morning, I would have been ecstatic if Metropolis, the bike shop I walked by on Williams, would have been open. Isn’t there a business case for early morning bike repair hours? Especially post the spring-forward time change, lots of people bike commute in pre-bike shop hours, i.e. before 10am. And chains break. Spokes break. Lights stop working. Flats happen. Bolts wiggle out of eyelets and racks come loose. But I imagine bike shop people can make a very convincing lifestyle case for not starting work before 10.
The guy at the Bike Gallery on Sandy was super fast. Kinda curt. But he didn’t go down the mansplaining hole. This points to the low bar I’ve set for the bike shop customer service experience, which is so defined by mansplanation overload, that the absence of it counts as a win, regardless of the quality of the work. The thing is I don’t have the expertise to assess the work. If I did, maybe I would just do the work myself. And admittedly, I don’t think to check up on the work either, or at least whatever I can figure out to check up on. I think I should be able to assume the mechanic has correctly fixed whatever they said the would fix (and charged me to fix) and then put my bike back together so that it won’t fall apart as I am riding it. (In a sec, I will explain why you shouldn’t make this assumption). But also, it’s pretty common for mechanics to talk smack about the work of other mechanics. Like the Bike Gallery dude didn’t find anything that had punctured the tire and tube, so maybe he was talking out of his ass when he said that what caused the flat was that someone had installed a tube that was too big and there a fold in the tube that caused a hot spot that resulted in a slow leak. I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember the last person who fixed a flat on my front tire and I think it at was my regular shop and I just can’t imagine those guys fucking up the tube. The Cat Six guys are the best.
Anyway, back to checking work and not assuming things got fixed up right. The silver lining to this morning’s flat is I discovered a fuck up on the rear tire that was caused by the Tram guy who fixed the flat last Friday. The tire was bubbled out by the stem, so much so that it was almost unbeaded from the rim. Had I ridden on it many more days like that, it probably would have blown out on me. The Bike Gallery dude said that what happened was that before the Tram dude fully inflated the rear tube, he either 1) didn’t pull the tube stem all the way through the opening in the rim, or 2) didn’t get the tire bead fully seated in the rim, or 3) locked down the nut on the valve.
I told the Tram guy about his fuck up when I finally got to work this morning, although I didn’t call it a fuck up. He didn’t argue with me, but he didn’t look like he really believed me either. I immediately wished I would have taken a photo. I don’t know why I didn’t ask for my money back, as it was a shitty repair job. But mostly I wanted to impress on him that it could have ended up in bad scene for me. So check your work, dude.
Running out of energy two thirds of the way through my morning and evening commutes and lots of unhelpful self talk ensues. Maybe I had too much weight in my panniers or started out too fast. Or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep or my legs are tired. Or maybe I am more out of bike shape than I thought I was because I’ve not ridden regularly since Thanksgiving. The wind picks up in those last 30 blocks on the way home. My mind stares down the Prescott micro climate and dusk. I tuck away the traffic fear. I fantasize that my legs are stronge than they are. I think I should wear my glasses at night
1. Walking across the sky bridge this morning at the cusp of dawn and feeling like I’m on a set of a Star Wars or Star trek movie – a 660 foot long cooridor in the air, held in place by repeating x’es of thick white steel beams and enclosed in glass. Epic and sterile and full of purpose. Then glimpsing, the beginning of the sunrise behind the silhouette of Hood.
2. Walking from the conference room to my cubes, maybe 30 steps total of cubes. Been sitting too long and my gate makes me feel like I am lumbering giant.
It’s cold. Which is what happens here in the winter when the rain stops and the sun comes out. Especially if the wind picks up. Shivers. Even the puddles at the dog park were frozen over. So starts 2016 – all bundled up and wearing sunglasses.
I have a plan for this year. Read more books, start writing again, make some art, keep playing music, work out more than not working out, make food, see my friends more often, get rid of some stuff, stay curious, say yes more than no.
Fifteen months after moving in with MTB and I’ve logged over 4000 miles and around 318 hours on my bike. Just getting back and forth from our home to my job. Whew. That’s almost like riding from here to Indy and back.
My work commute is about 20 miles round trip, and I telecommute one day a week, but do I ride year round. Thank you, gear! And by gear I mean fenders, rain jacket, booties, gloves, wool shirt, etc., all of which gets me through the larger chunk of my commuting days. Some weather does keep me out of the saddle, namely snow and ice. And while I fucking hate wind, and I will talk about it at length later, even on the windiest days last year, I rode, as long as the temperature or wind chill didn’t drop to, or below, the low 20’s. Once it gets that cold, my hands and my face can’t stand up to a 45 minute ride. It just feels miserable, even after I get off my bike, warming up my hands is so painful that sometimes I cry a little.
These day, I’m actively trying not to think about those kinds of conditions. I’m conserving my mental energy to adjust to the fall — to dark mornings, shorter evenings and cooler temperatures. And to the rain.
It’s supposed to rain every day for the rest of this week and weekend.
When it comes to high temperatures, I have lots more tolerance. When it got into the upper 90’s or hotter out here this past summer, I was fine. I just drank lots of water and slowed down my pace. On a couple of occasions, like when everything was on fire and the wind covered Portland in smoke, I loaded my bike in my car, drove half way to work, parked and then biked in the rest way. And a couple of other days I rode to work in the morning, and then met MTB afterward and we loaded the bike up on her car for the drive home, which, interestingly, took us about as long as it would have taken me to bike the same distance. Portland car traffic is real. Stupid real.
Since moving, most of my bike mileage has come from my work commute, and, on the books, that makes sense because it’s a longish commute. But, also I’m doing less of the other kind of riding that I used to do, which was a combination of biking around to run errands and to go out, or to meet friends, or just to take a ride because riding is fun. I think I do less of this kind of biking, in large part, because I live further out now, and getting to places takes more effort and planning and logistics, and all of this, I will also talk about more, later. But even though I don’t bike to as many different kinds of activities as I used to, during fair weather I do ride more. And that means that for 3 months out of the year, I might be averaging more like 100 or 120 biking miles a week. And that means that I’ve probably biked somewhere upwards of 4500 miles since I moved in with MTB.
All this to say, I spend a lot of time in the cycling world. Most of it biking, for sure, but there’s also time spent maintaining my bikes, dealing with gear, staying up on the biking news, planning my routes, checking the weather forecast, which I do every night when I am riding the next day, and transitioning on and off my bike, which means anything from packing and unpacking my panniers to waxing and/or venting about my ride. It’s a big part of my life, and it kind of snuck up on me, as in, I never planned to be riding this much. But here I am and I want to talk about it.
We’re not even going to cry about this. Even though I did after you left. And felt bad that I vacuumed while you carried stuff out to your car. I think I just couldn’t figure out what to do and was sad. You moving in this house two years ago was the best thing. Now, you’re like family. Pretty much like when I lived with Bec in Bloomington. I can barely believe I’ve struck gold twice. Thank you world of housemates/friends/family. RJ, as long as I have a home, you have a place to stay.
The end of the era has ended or will very, very soon. The moving truck should be here within the hour and I am sitting here waiting for them, amid my neatly consolidated pile of boxes, trying to be patient. The movers are delayed by their morning move, which unexpectedly turned into an all day move because there was so much stuff and a tricky layout out at their customer’s new house. Whatever. Sigh. For a while I weeded to distract myself. My neighbor, who knows I am moving, saw me and said I must be feeling really guilty about the yard. But after I told him about the movers, he agreed with me, that pulling weeds can be kinda meditative when you’re killing time. Now my hands are dirty and the scrub brush is packed up. Who know’s where? I wish Phil were here. I took him out to MTB’s this morning, trying to give him some time at the new house while the dogs are at dog care. MTB said he is settling in. Fingers crossed that blending Phil into the animal family will go well. Or as well as it can go. Not spinning out on that right now, though. Concentrating on the movers who I want to get here. I’m running out of patience. My car’s been packed for hours. I’ve thrown out the last stuff to throw out of the fridge – the old hummus, the half jar of peanut-butter, 6 radishes and two open bottles of siracha. The evening traffic has picked up. Motorcycle, car, car, car going too fast, bus. I am ready to jump into line with them. Let’s go. Let’s go. I’ve been saying good-bye to this house for a year. I said goodbye to RJ yesterday. I sat in the house by myself and turned up the stereo and cried. Enough. Let’s get this show on the road!