Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Second Bike Ride

Today I stand before you less sweaty and less exhausted than I was last time, but more adrenalized. Today, rather than risking death by riding off a pitch-black bike path, I risked death by being hit by several tons of mechanized steel. It started pretty much the same sure-- only without the wandering around Bethesda for an hour bit. I did the Metro to Bethesda, Crescent Trail to Georgetown thing, did a bit of shopping (including the bell and mirror, which I shall install before my next ride... future purchases will probably include a luggage rack and a headlight, eventually a better seat).

Saw a matinee of "Lost in Translation" in Georgetown this time. Are you supposed to be rooting for them to get together? The whole time I was kinda rooting for nothing to happen, maybe because I utterly lack a romantic soul, maybe because I'm not very approving of infidelity, no matter how bad a light in which they portrayed both marriages, maybe because there aren't enough filmic portrayals of just how deep and rewarding platonic love can be... who knows. I think because of that I missed out on most of the enjoyment to be had from this film (except, of course, the great soundtrack). I also thought Bill Murray was just playing a sadder version of himself. His role here didn't impress me as much as in "Rushmore."

Once again 'twas dark when the movie let out. So I walked my bike up the hill, got an eggplant sub at Cappucino's Pizza (Italian name and food, Asian manager, Russian news playing in the background, tableful of people speaking I have no idea what language next to me... quite the cosmopolitan experience for a little greasy spoon), and hopped on my bike down P Street.

This is the route the guy at the bike shop recommended when I first bought my wheels (I bought the mirror and bell from him today, but he didn't recognize me... *sob*), which I didn't take at the time because I had left my helmet at home and was not yet confident in my riding abilities. Now I am much more confident, aside from waving cars on ahead when the light turns green. This time I rode all the way over to DuPont, then dismounted at the bridge and walked it through the heavier traffic area.

So I was walking toward the Soho Tea House, and I saw a man in a grey business suit coming toward me. As he got closer I heard a sound from him, like he was talking to himself. Closer still, it seemed more like a steady hum. As he passed me I heard the changing timbre and whistling harmonics-- he was throat singing! In the middle of square-ass Washington, DC (though, yes, in DuPont-- possibly the single least square part of the District) there was some guy randomly walking down the sidewalk engaged in Tuvan Throat-singing.

I rode the bike lane up New Hampshire. I hate walking NH Ave because of the associated memories of a walk to a bad job, but the same overfamiliarity meant that I knew about the bike lanes. It was nice. I didn't feel a single moment of mortal terror. They need more bike lanes in the District!

Stopped by the Cafe to grab a soy mocha. Coworker said, "Hey Bob, your wiiiiife was here yesterday."

"Wife? When did she go from girlfriend to wife? I don't even remember a ceremony!"

The amount of shit I take at that job is astounding. On occasion I give some back...

The new co-owner was in, I showed him what his salary was going toward (but didn't mention it had actually been my tax refund that paid for it). He chided me for riding at night without a light. I countered that since I don't smoke every free moment, I have to do something to bring my life expectancy closer to that of my fellow employees.

Got home, didn't get hit by any cars or anything. Blatantly ran a yellow light, quickly realized just how much less wise doing that is on a bike than it is in a car...

I'd never ridden a bike in traffic before. Period. Full stop. Never. I'm still getting the hang of handling stop signs and traffic lights, of remembering to downshift before stopping (had that same problem when learning to drive, actually)

And carrying the dang bike up the stairs was more tiring than riding it all day. RIMSHOT!

Hope I'm not becoming (becoming? ha! TOO LATE!) a bore with all the bike talk...
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