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Going for the Green by Tom King
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We're now well and truly stranded up here in Washington State out in the middle of a swamp surrounded by West Coast liberals with our truck back in Texas and three miles from the nearest store of any kind (and did I mention that I'm 59 with bad knees and and a spare tire that weighs more like an anvil?) We're in spitting distance of a live volcano that is overdue to go off and I'm having to figure out how to write for a living.
So, somebody lent me a bicycle. Taking it as a sign from God, I decided to go to town to "pick up a couple of things."
My Sweet Baboo didn't want me to go. She figured I'd keel over dead alongside the road somewhere and she'd never know what happened to me and be trapped alone in the apartment and have to eat the dog to survive. The dog went, "Say, what?"
But when I hinted I might be returning with chocolate, she relented and gave me a list with "a couple of more things we really need".
So I pulled on my backpack and rode off toward the nearest Safeway. The dump truck did not run over me thanks to the handy driveway and all those tiny rocks that cushioned my fall. Once I got to the store, I chained up my bike and grabbed a basket.
Stores are insidious things. The things you put in your shopping cart reproduce. I stuck to the list pretty well and got all the stuff she needed and then I thought of the poor little thing sitting back there all alone and started tossing "a few little treats" into the basket. By the time I was done I had a pretty formidable basketful for someone who was planning to carry it all home on a bicycle.
Into my rucksack, I packed a six pack of Coke (in the glass bottles), cans of spaghetti sauce, a large bottle of laundry detergent, twenty pounds of cleaning supplies. a block of cheese and 40 or so pounds of dog food, potatoes and enough oatmeal to last the winter (next winter). When I attempted to shoulder the pack, I discovered that someone had poured concrete into it. That thing weighed 85 pounds if it weighed an ounce and I still had three bags I was going to have to suspend from my neck.
What I did next is how I know I'm getting old.
I called a cab and went over to Subway and ate a sandwich till the cab got there. I know the cab driver. When she arrived, she got out and loaded me, my bike and my concrete rucksack into the cab, laughing the whole time. The woman laughed all the way back to my house.
I either need to go to town more often and buy smaller quantities, or hitchhike back to Texas for my truck. Either way, I'm getting too old for this kind of "bikering". I'm seriously considering buying a Vespa and I don't care how wimpy it looks.
My knees are giving me hell this morning and my calves decided I needed a good double cramp, when I tried to get out of bed (which was a circus act in itself).
During the night, the wife had pinned me in on one side and the dog had pinned me in from the other and those two females were not letting me sneak out again for any more bike riding this morning- even though they loved the BLTs we had for supper immensely..
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain