So, I’m feeling pretty confident in my bike fixing skills. I think I can manage another long ride before it’s professionally adjusted. I decide to go before work to find the path that leads down to Marine Drive, a street that follows the Columbia River and has a path down by the water.
I set off from the house with about 3 hours before I have to be home to get ready for work. It’s a beautiful ride, mostly downhill from my house and I dread the trek back up. But for now, it’s amazing. I finally come to Marine Dr. It’s only about a 15 minute ride from my house and it goes off in both directions. It’s a beautiful morning when the sun is out but it’s still overcast enough to not be too hot. It was incredible! Riding along the flat path next to the river, I lost track of how far I’d come and how long it would take me to get back home. I just wanted to keep riding.
And then this happened.
I was about 8 miles from home. And I had to be to work in 2 hours. And the items I had in my possession were my cell phone, debit card, and ID.
This would have been the perfect time for my squatter housemate to come and save the day. An ideal moment for redemption. If there ever was a good time to have someone living in your house rent free with no job and minuscule responsibilities would come in handy, it is right.fucking.now. However, most opportunities for “being in the right place at the right time” or “coming to the rescue” or even “being a good guy” have been lost on him in the past and continue to evade his nonchalant approach to life. Most of you might be asking me, “why would you write such terrible things about a person you’ve been friends with for 13 years?” To that, I say, A.) You don’t know him. B.) I know he will never read this because he doesn’t care about the things his friends care about unless they coincide with the things he cares about. This is not one of them. And finally C.) You don’t know him.
After several phone calls and text messages, I decide to seek alternate means of transportation. I need to find an ATM so I can catch the bus. I’m in a very industrial part of town and there aren’t a lot of businesses or ATMs around. But I do happen to be on a bus line that will take me directly home so I walk and walk and walk until I find a convenience store. I pull out $20 (with a $2.50 service charge) and take it to the counter to buy a $1.75 water so I can get exact change for the bus. I figure out when the bus is coming and head to the nearest stop. It’s been 2.5 miles since my chain broke. I’m tired. My feet hurt. Some dude just yelled at me while driving by. I just want to get on the bus and get home before I’m late for work.
The bus pulls up and the bike rack on front is empty. I was secretly hoping there would be another bike there to guide me on how to secure mine properly, but there was nothing! What do I do?!? I forced a forgiving smile and leaned my head through the door and said, “hey! This is the first time I’m hooking my bike up.” He was not impressed. He sighed audibly and quickly gave me directions while his eyes made at least one complete rotation in his skull. I attempted to follow the directions but when it took longer than he deemed appropriate, he honked at me, yelled at me, and made inconclusive gestures with his hands through the windshield. Blowing on it, or turning it off and back on won’t work in this scenario. Thanks for nothing, Nintendo.
I finally figured it out, with very little actual help and a lot of exasperation from the bus driver. I sank into my seat. Holding my head down and keeping my sunglasses on to hide the shame and defeat of the day. Hiding the tears welling up in my eyes and thinking about how different this morning had seemed. How a bike can give you freedom and exhilaration. And a moment later, take it all away and leave you stranded, publicly shamed, and nearly late to work.