Friday, September 29, 2006

More Carless in Raleigh

I haven't talked about my carlessness this week because it was rather uneventful. Honestly, until Thursday I didn't really do anything I wouldn't have done beforehand. I rode the bus in to work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Monday I had some grading to do in the morning, so I rode in with my backpack around noon. The ride to work has almost become routine - if I don't catch the bus, oh well, I'll just ride in. It's only a 25-minute ride - shorter than a lot of peoples' commutes around here.

Thursday I had a call night for Greer Beaty, who is running for State House in NC's District 36 (South Cary, Swift Creek) and who you should vote for if you live in her district. (Hell, vote for her if you don't live in her district. She's that cool.) It's in Northeast Raleigh - way too far to ride my bike. Also, I had a College Dems meeting on Thursday after the calling - which would leave me on campus at 9:00 with no way of getting home. Fortunately, our president, Drew, was kind enough to take me home. Else I would have been sleeping at the office.

Today I didn't go in to work - I had some stuff to do from home, and had I gone in it would have entailed eight hours of surfing the Web and watching the queue, waiting for my jobs to finish. Anyway, by 6:00 I had discovered three things.

1) Shabbat services were starting in one hour and thirty minutes.

2) I was playing tonight, so I had to bring my guitar.

3) I had no ride, since everyone who would have normally brought me was either out of town or not going.

Wonderful. So I transferred my guitar to Danielle's soft-sided backpack style carrying case, stuffed my music in there, changed, and set out.

It's the little things that really bug you when you're carless, and this was no different. I found out quickly that the compatibility of my bike helmet and my guitar was limited at best. I was forced to ride with my head angled down towards a spot roughly five feet in front of my front wheel. Not good for optimum visibility.

My route takes me through the busy Crossroads area of Cary, which, at one crucial moment, does not have sidewalks. Thus, I am forced to make a left turn from one major road onto another from the middle of the road.

Here's your mental picture. Me, in a blue button-down shirt, slacks, and nice shoes, guitar on my back, bicycle helmet and sunglasses on, head craned slightly downwards from the pressure of the guitar neck, sitting on a bike at the front of a left-turn lane at the busiest intersection in the Triangle. I didn't notice people's looks as they pulled up behind me or next to me, but I'm sure there were a few double-takes. The ride took a lot less time than I expected it to - maybe 20 minutes - meaning that I arrived at shul at about 6:45.

Fortunately, I was not subjected to the night ride back, since our cantorial soloist, Toby, has a giant van and was able to take me and my wheels home. But that would have been even more fun.

Also, it's fascinating how people act when you mention that you are now riding your bike everywhere. The look they give you is somewhere between that you would give someone who just told you that they have a terminal disease and the look you get when you say you're going skydiving with your dog. People feel sorry for you and wonder why the hell you would want to do that at the same time. Toby, when I rolled into the synagogue, told me I had "an interesting mode of transportation."

This from someone who grew up in New York City riding her bike everywhere.

Only the rabbi - a devoted environmentalist who is seldom without a reference to pollution or waste during a sermon - really seemed to get behind the idea. Even my mother, when I told her I was biking everywhere, thinks I've gone off my rocker. Of course, that may not be too far from the truth.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Gone off your rocker implies that you were on it before, and I simply refuse to accept that.