For all things Tooks, and some things, er, relating to other people. As well as to other things. You get the picture.

01 October 2005

first, a recommendation: if you like sad songs, download death cab for cutie's "title and registration." exquisite. i have no real reason right now to be recommending sad songs, but when you hear one this good, you have to spread a little blue around.

oh, wait, come to think of it, i do have one sad thing: my mom called yesterday to tell me that our last remaining greyhound, the beautiful Lady, aka Ladybird, has passed on to the great canine beyond, the land of fountains gushing cool, clean water, of bushes sprouting milkbones, of rows and rows of red fire hydrants, and of soft, fluffy sofas for dreaming the kinds of wonderful dreams that make doggies yip in their sleep and kick out their legs in somnolent joy. we love you, lady.

oh, and one other thing, mainly for my austin people: the irrepresible Virginia is in the icu with congestive heart failure. if you're a praying type, please say a little prayer for her and the whole crazy family.

it's hard to radically shift gears after that, but here goes--bear with me:

i've been on this gas-conservation kick of late, especially since it's so expensive these days. i bought a bicycle last month, and i've been super psyched to ride it. also, terrified, since i live right off a six-lane (busy) road, and cars are scary. but i found a good route to work, and i have managed to get up early enough in the morning--mostly thanks to my insano dog, who has decided that six a.m. is an awesome time to start the day. i even managed to nail down the logistics, which involve packing my backpack with my work clothes and riding in shorts and a t and a dorky helmet (but also cool, with a sweet futuristic-looking visor), and then changing at work, and reversing the process when going home at noon. (i work part-time in the morning at my old job, teach g.e.d. classes at night, and spend the middle part of the day hanging out with my dog, watching reruns of m.a.s.h., and napping.)

so, everything is going ok--until i bust a tube in my front time. boo. but i call my buddy pete--who i swear says things a second before i am about to say them--and he says bring your bike around and we'll fix it. and we do. he shows me how, and if i had those two little shoe-horn thingers and a pump, i could fix it again myself. i think. anyway, i'm back on the road the next day. and things are fine for two weeks.

on the ride in at 7:30, it's so gorgeously cool, and i get used to the cars, and when i cross the river on the pleasant valley bridge, there's a little mist on the water and i see downtown and then it vanishes behind the trees. in east austin, along willow and canterbury, there're kids in white shirts and khaki pants on the way to school and roosters pecking in the yards and abuelitas on their way to the corner store and old men sitting on the porch in rocking chairs gazing out onto the shady street. i wave, they wave back. i observe all traffic laws. the air is fresh in my face and smells like warm tortillas and eggs and bacon and the sun's still reading the morning paper and everything is fine and calm and balanced on the edge of another day.

and then i blow another tube. same tire.

at first i made the requisite calls to my bikey friends to see who would fix it fastest for me. but schedules conflicted and i got a bit lazy. half out of protest, i think, i've been driving my bike around in the back of my car for the last two weeks. maybe subconsciously i want to shame my bike. "you see? see how a reliable mode of transport works? see? it's overdue for a 30,000-mile checkup and an oil change, but you don't see it breaking down, do you? you make me ill. you're breaking my heart, ron burgundy. you're breaking my heart."

but the upshot is that i've been riding the bus more, which i love. don't ask me what it is, but there's something endlessly pleasing to me about the bus. the schedule, the fare, the waiting, the people watching--the whole deal. it's super-convenient, since i can just get dressed in the morning instead of packing my work clothes in my bag. the bus stop is fifty yards from my apartment and drops me off three blocks from my office at a quarter to eight. and i get to practice my spanish: "sorry, ma'am, i gave up my seat for the pregnant woman." i don't mind driving, but--as anyone i've ever dated knows--i love passenging. sometimes i get so relaxed, i almost nod off to sleep, like when my dad used to drive me home from the 'croft in middle school. on the bus there are young folks and old folks and poor folks and sort-of-rich folks and white folks and blacks folks and brown folks. and it's 50 cents a ride or a dollar to ride all day (which i'd love to do). please don't cross in front of the bus.

so i haven't been in too great a hurry to fix my bike. i'll probably get around to it soon, but in the meantime, i'm taking the 26 westbound.

enjoy the commute with me,


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