I could have had lunch with the guys, today. Instead, I'm sitting here
waiting for my darling wife to pick me up for lunch
– she may never
You see, while I was away in Santa Maria last week, I got a call at 11 PM one evening. I startled awake in a strange place, stumbled out of bed searching for my ringing cell phone in the dark running into every piece of furniture in the room. When I finally laid hands on the cell phone, tethered by its charger cord, I pulled the lamp off onto the floor and missed the call.
When I was finally able to focus my eyes, the cell phone display
Missed call from Jenny.
So, I called back and got Christopher. He was in Pullman.
Dad, I borrowed April's car to drive to Pullman, he dove right
and on the way out of town I stopped to get a coffee. (This
must be significant.) "At the stop light, my foot slipped off
the brake and I bumped into the back of a Mercedes.
"Now, their insurance company is calling and they want me or you to call them back."
(This conversation did wonders for my ability to obtain a good night's sleep.)
I told Chris I'd call him the following day. And I did!
At 7:00 AM, sharp, I returned the favor and rolled him out of bed with a cell phone call. I told him not to contact the other driver's insurance agent, but, rather, to call our agent, give him the details, and let him handle it.
What, you ask, does this story have to do with the fact that I'm sitting here waiting for Jenny?
We had a lunch date. She called me shortly before noon to tell me she had to take April's car downtown to have pictures taken and would stop by the office on her way home so we could get some lunch. Three minutes later, I got an invite to go to lunch with the guys.
I called Jenny right back to release myself from our failing lunch date. I got Christopher. In Pullman. Again.
Seems he got himself in some financial difficulties at the end of
last semester and hasn't yet earned enough money to pay off his
cell phone bill. After months
– nay, years – of pleading,
the kids all have cell phones, why can't I have one? I got
Jenny her very own cell phone. And to what end? It goes to
which ever baby bear can't make their own payments and I still
can't ever get in touch with my wife.
Just think, if it hadn't been for that damn cup of coffee Chris had to
have last week, I'd be having lunch with Jenny or the guys
– at least
not sitting here writing this – and you wouldn't be wasting time
reading it. Talk about a domino effect…
Disclaimer: The facts in this article should not be considered facts. They should be considered hearsay and stirred with poetic license. They should not be considered suitable for admission as evidence, should, say, a claim of injury resulting from describedbump into Mercedesbe made. Which it has. Apparently. …another domino falls.
Last night on the way home from work, a car load of punks passed
screaming insults and throwing coins or beer caps
– something metal
bounced off my left hip and went ringing down the pavement.
Jenny was right behind me in the car. She and I had spent the evening riding on the Centennial Trail. I had ridden up the hill to the office to retrieve my pack. She met me there, took my pack, and was headed home.
While in the left turn lane from south-bound Pines to east-bound
Broadway, I heard shouts somewhere behind me. The shouts got louder
when I turned my head to my right to see if someone in the car to my
immediate right was trying to speak to me. I never did hear what they
said, but Jenny had her windows down and heard the work
bike. So, she
was already in defensive mode.
Just after the turn, the punks passed, threw some projectile, quite accurately, but with no ill effects, and headed down Broadway. Jenny pulled along side and I told here to get their license plate number.
She caught up with them right away and took down their number. I almost caught them at the next light, McDonald; it turned green just as I arrived.
I did catch them at the following light, Evergreen.
The young punk in the passengers seat got a bit wide eyed when I pulled along side. I'm sure he didn't expect to be caught by a old fat guy on a bicycle.
Words were exchanged, the light turned green, and, as they pulled away,
another coin or bottle cap was hurled my way
– a miss.
Having a license plate number, descriptions of the car and passenger, I called Crime Check as soon as I got home. The operator informed me she would need to send an officer to take the report in person since the incident would be considered an assault.
A report was filed. Now, we'll see what comes of it. The officer who
took the report was completely humorless. If I said he was rude, I
might be mistaken, but not by much. Perhaps it is the required
demeanor of law enforcement
– I don't know. His parting words were
less than encouraging, though:
This will go the the detectives. They might follow up on it.
I spent last week at a client's site in Santa Maria. The bike went with me. Several years ago, I made a similar trip with the bike and had some great evening rides. It was long enough ago that I couldn't remember the routes I had taken.
Monday, just before closing, I stopped by Main Street Cycles where I found a very friendly and helpful young man tending the store. He provided me with some route advice and one of the best cycling maps I've ever seen. The map is available free of charge. A description and details are available online: Bicycling in Santa Barbara County.
I was able to get in three evening rides:
The weather was great! Spokane was experiencing near record highs while I was away, so highs in the upper seventies were very welcomed.
Santa Maria has plenty of bike lanes and I was quite comfortable riding
there. The bike lanes were much, much cleaner than here in the Spokane
Valley where I reside
– not free of debris, by any means, but ridable.
However, I only saw two other cyclists in my 70 miles of riding there. And I was warned by a few non-cyclists that the area isn't very bicycle friendly despite the bike lanes and maps. Fortunately, I didn't have any negative experiences to validate their assertions. I look forward to my next trip to Santa Maria.
The one truly frustrating experience on the trip was getting the bike checked as baggage. First, it cost $100, round trip. The extra charge for transporting a bicycle is outrageous, but that's a dead horse issue I won't beat.
The real problem is new
heightened security. I have an
for packing my bike for travel. I take a lot of care when packing the
bike to ensure nothing gets broken, bent, scratched, etc. I pack the
bike, tools, grease and chain lube and a few rags.
Coming and going, the TSA had to open
and inspect contents of the bike case. I was allowed to stand by and
answer questions, but I was not allowed to
touch. So, the contents
were shuffled and repacked far less optimally than I liked.
Fortunately, no damage resulted, but it was a concern.
In Spokane, on the way out, they confiscated my chain lube, perhaps 1/2 ounce of White Lightning. The bottle says flammable, so it is obviously an inherent danger to the passengers. Of course, I'll bet it is no more flammable than those mini bottles of booze they store in the galley. But why argue. The TSA agents just follow the rules as illogical as they are.
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