Journal of a mature, non-Olympic woman in the process of converting to cycling as a method of daily transportation. Dealing with weather and assorted perils; exploring equipment, psychological fortitude, and diet; experiencing our surroundings on a smaller, closer scale; saving gas & boycotting the car industry.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Rain Gear Mysteriously Reappears
Miracle. I just found my lost rain pants and shoe covers. They’ve been lost for weeks -- maybe longer -- and it’s really been turning me into a wimp about riding in the rain. The whining was getting out of control – just ask Lindi. I've even had her drop me off at the MAX station a couple of times in her car. (I can’t believe I’m admitting this publicly, but there you go.) The silent internal whining has been even worse. I was starting to not like the person from whence it came.
This just goes to show that the clothes make the cyclist. You think those people are out there riding in all that mess because they’re tough? Because they’re stronger than you? Because they have more guts than you? Not. It’s because they have the right equipment. That’s all. You get the right equipment and you think you’re Wonder Woman – which I am decidedly not, but I do enjoy the illusion. People peering out their rain-streaked windows don’t know whether to pity or admire me. But they know this – or at least they think they do -- they couldn’t do what I’m doing. Of course, they’re wrong – if they got the right rain gear, they could.
Anyway, regarding finding my lost rain gear? I kept re-playing the tape I had in my head of folding up the pants just so, then the shoe covers, noticing how impossible they are to fold, then slipping them ….. somewhere…. into some kind of a ….slot… But where? Tonight while eating dinner my gaze fell upon the shoe-shelf we had built to put by the front door. “I wonder if I could’ve tucked them in there……. gasp!!! There they are!" I ran over and -- presto!
I’m all set! I can do anything!!! Yay, life is easy again!
The fare inspectors wait at the Hollywood transit center every evening now. I heard them tell someone tonight that they’re there till one o’clock in the morning, or maybe it was two. They wait at the bottom of the stairs and stop everyone. There’s no other way out of there other than to step down onto the tracks and walk along them out the other end, with no space to jump aside when the train comes.
The woman in front of me handed over her ticket. The other inspector was dealing with another customer, while this inspector, a large man in his fifties, his uniform enhanced with blinking Christmas lights, very respectfully asked, “OK, and can I see your Honored Citizen ID, please? She must've pressed the button for Honored Citizen on the ticket vending machine, which must be the current euphemism for old person. She was about twenty seven. Nice try, hon. The inspector got on his radio and hollered her name and details over to someone else, I guess to check if she’d done this before. Then he told her, “OK, Jessica, this time I’m going to write you a warning. But if it happens again, that’ll be a ninety four dollar ticket.”
Public outcry leads to marked increase in uniforms
I’m back. That was a much longer hiatus than I’d planned. When we left off, the public was in full complaint mode about the dangers of riding the MAX trains. After I last posted, I started seeing uniformed people on the MAX every time I turned around. They were on the trains and at the stations. Starting one week ago, this was thinning out a bit.
There are 2 kinds of uniformed figures on the trains. One kind wears the chartreuse jackets that say Transit Security on the back. They don’t appear to do anything except stand there. They don’t even check people’s tickets -- just stand in pairs and chat with each other about various experiences they’ve had on the job elsewhere. The other kind wear black and yellow jackets and some kind of shoulder patch. They are checking people’s fares and asking people not to leave their bike standing there unattended while sitting in a nearby seat (me).
I’m a little confused about who’s who, and for what. I asked one of the fare inspectors what those other guys do. “Nothing,” he answered. “Eye candy.” This appears to be true. Last time I posted I wrote: "I think that if they just walk around and look decorative, that will do the trick." Now I take that back. Looking decorative isn't enough. I think they need to look intimidating. The ones I've seen look like scouts of some kind.
"She's no spring chicken," my mother would disclose mercilessly about women in their thirties trying to impersonate youth. Now, I'm even past the no-spring-chicken age. So don't think you have to be 12 to start riding a bike everywhere. I'm working out all the pesky details for you in case you want to do this yourself. But even if you never do it, you'll still know what it's like because I'm going to shrink you down to the size of a little rubber elf and glue you onto my handlebars. No changing your mind, no matter how much you beg me. So don't even start this unless you're sure you have the guts.
PS: My other bike is a broom.