I’m staring a four-day work week and a four-day weekend in the face. Cowabunga!

I haven’t had a long weekend just to have one in a long time; all of my weekdays away have been related to medical matters, which tend not to be relaxing at all. Waiting rooms are really the antitheses of relaxation. Who can revel in leisure with months-old magazines while sharing a room with people who are obviously much sicker than you? I’ll be waiting on the missus, who is either having a relatively minor procedure done or is consulting with her physician du jour, as I sit surrounded by elderly people who are there in a desperate bid to NOT DIE. Add to that the fact that waiting rooms make me sleepy, so along with the tattered magazines and the sick people I also get tearing eyes and a screaming yawn beating against the back of my clenched teeth. I know this smacks of Allen-esque angst, but I hate to yawn in hospital waiting rooms as if I’m bored with everyone else’s struggles to stay upright and breathing. “Oh, are we boring you? Get a load of this tumor!”

So this coming (four-day!) weekend, I intend to do a long, unhurried bike ride to Gresham and back.  [Edit: Perhaps I’ll carry a length of lead pipe with me, whaddaya think?]  I haven’t ridden that side of the Springwater in ages; actually haven’t ridden those many miles in one trip in four years, in fact. This morning’s newspaper (The Sunday Oregonian) included a community guide titled “Destination GRESHAM”, which I suspect is an error on the part of the distributor; a couple weeks ago we received the morning paper two hours late and delivered by a sweating, panting man, and two days later we were delivered the previous day’s issue. These people have issues with time and date, so it’s not outside the bounds of possibility that they may also have a tenuous grasp on place as well. Anyway. This newspaper suppliment is what gave me the idea to ride to Gresham.

I’ll ride it, that is, unless my bicycle flies apart. An ominous ticking noise is emanating from my drivetrain and it’s driving me mad. Every revolution of the pedals, tick. tick. tick. I suspect it’s a bottom bracket problem, but when I took the bike in to be serviced, the mechanic’s conclusion was that I’d (once again, just like last year around this time!) worn out my rear cassette and chain and needed them replaced. Well. Son of a bitch. Okay, let’s just do that again, shall we? I also needed to replace my rear tire due to broken glass and debris provided by winos waiting for buses along my route to work. So. One tire, one cassette, one chain. Nearly $150.00 American. Nifty, y’know, because I just have it lying around.

Picked my bike up from the shop, rode it to work the next day. Tick. Tick. Tick. You might say I was ever so gently perturbed.

I don’t necessarily blame the shop guys because they see the same stuff day in and day out and this was likely the most common solution in their experience. A spanking work-load (the lads behind the counter were all bustling about looking harried the day I picked up the bike) leads to on-the-dash diagnoses, and sometimes they’re just wrong (I suspect that physicians work the same way, which is why after major surgery and several consultations and tests over a two-year period my wife still has the same pain in the same places; The docs don’t get a simple “tsk tsk” and a pass though. People aren’t bicycles). I’m not outraged and am not going to go scream at them for it. I trust them when they say I need things replaced because they have always been great. Often they have pointed out less-expensive alternatives to me, which says a lot about their ethic (this is Bike Gallery on N.E. Sandy in the Hollywood District I’m talking about, by the way). I will be going back for a re-evaluation if I didn’t manage to rectify the issue myself yesterday, testing and tightening every bolt on the thing. That’s pretty much the limit of my abilities and available tools. I can’t touch the bottom bracket itself because it takes a special (expensive) wrench, and in my hands that probably wouldn’t do me any good anyway, the dexterity to butter a slice of bread being the limit of my legerdemain.

Today I will do a few household chores and then I’m burying my nose in my current book, pausing only to snuffle treats and quaff whiskey. That’s what Sundays are for.

Quote of the day:It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” – Morarji Desai, Indian Statesman and Prime Minister


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