i take to the night in cadences unexplored
i do not pioneer or arrive in prime
it feels a sort of slither,
a waltz swung out of time
a dog that catches his own tail
an eighth of a measure
before the metronome breaks the spell.
tonight is a magpie stood in front of a mirror, wondering
the wind rushes
(but I do not)
my patience is rewarded
and the city bows at my request,
its green lights flowing
to the emperor in my chest.
of the somnambulisms that I wander there is one I cherish most,
its path a plain, pinched charity to its walking, waking host.
Scott Baker, PBM
Time for the true test: Bike through the city to downtown Portland. I’ll admit I’m still a little apprehensive about riding a bike downtown and on busy streets, even though most have a bike lane. But I decide today is the day. And there’s no crying in bike-riding.
I take a slightly longer route through back streets to avoid traffic and the possibility of being mauled by soccer moms. It takes me about 45 minutes to travel the 8 miles to PBM’s place. After an hour or so, it gets super dark and starts to sprinkle, so I decide to catch the bus back. This time, I’m prepared. I know exactly how to finagle the hardware latches and mechanisms necessary to secure my precious cargo. I go through the motions in my head before the bus arrives, mapping out each move before I make it and how that move will impact the next. I’ve calculated the time it will take from start to finish, even with a slight cushion to compensate for rain and slippery hands. When the bus pulls up, it’s game time. I’ve been practicing for this exact moment in my head for at least the last 45 seconds. Minimum. Grab the top handle, squeeze, pull down. Done. Lift the bike into the tracks. Boom. Pull the rubber arm over the front wheel. Uh, nailed it. I wiped my hands together in the universal sign for “job well done” and proudly ascended the steps to my chariot. This, my friends, was a much different experience from my previous attempt at bus/bike riding where all I felt was shame and defeat.
I paid the man the standard fare, finger-snap-pointed to one passenger, high-fived another, and dance-walked to a seat in the back. Well, I would have done that if I didn’t instantly realize that I was on a bus populated with people who gave up on life and the celebration of small wins long ago. So, I grabbed a seat and played on my phone like everyone else.
By the time I got to my stop, it was straight up raining. No more dainty sprinkles. This was big ass rain. Which supplied me with my very first bike ride in the rain. It was very slippery and (thankfully) only 2 blocks. And I don’t recommend it to anyone riding without a helmet and/or bike lights. Seriously. That shit is dangerous.