I took the Bajaj out of mothballs today after she was winterized since about late October last year. When I turned the key after installing the battery this morning, I got headlight but the bike didn't start with the starter. After two kicks, she was ready to go.
At about 11:30 a.m., I drove to a friend's house up near Elston and Bryn Mawr, about 45 minutes from the Gold Coast in Chicago, where I live and garage the bike. The route is 80% Elston which is a beautiful wide-open road that runs northwest from Chicago.
I hung out until about 8:00 p.m. which was about a half-hour longer than I really intended as I only had my sunglasses with me and prefer to not wear them in the dark which was sliding in slowly. As I was walking down the stairs at my buddy's house I was told that it was sprinkling. Seeing as I only had a cotton sweatshirt with me, I figured I was fucked if it rained, particularly at night. Two things I pretty much hate about driving any vehicle is rain and dark - doing it on the Bajaj with sunglasses was something up with which I did not wish to put.
I hit Elston and noticed that I was running the trough between two walls of rainy clouds which were keeping exact pace with me as I ran southeast. Perfect. I wasn't going to get rained on.
As I pulled up behind a car, I noticed that my headlight was not being reflected and, after checking, figured out I was breaking the law as I had neither head nor tail lights and it was well past dusk. Great.
I am flying down Elston trying to get home when I drive past eight cops, several whom have pulled over cars, some who were just standing around outside their squads. It's getting darker and I'm wearing sunglasses. I have no lights and keep wondering if I'm going to T-Bone someone pulling across my lane of traffic because they can't see me. I have to pee pretty badly. But I have to get home before it becomes black outside.
About half-way home, I hit the dandelion parachutes. They swirl lazily into my face and eyes at 40 mph. I've been weeping tears from my eyes and snot from my head for the last several days because of the one-two punch of allergy season and some fucked-up lamunga that causes me to ooze a pound of snot every hour. I've been waking up for the last two days with my eyes glued shut from the mucous my body is excreting. Now I'm actually eating dandelion fluff wearing sunglasses with no lights. Fuck.
I get downtown to Division running east to the Gold Coast and come to a screeching halt because every person in northeastern Illinois is hitting Rush street and cabs are all over the place in grid-lock and it's only getting darker.
I turn south on Dearborn because no one is going that way. As I turn east onto Delaware, two blocks from my apartment, I feel that sickening wiggle a rear-tire-going-flat whacks you with. Oh, fuck. Not now. Please.
I have to actually drive past my apartment building in order to go around to the one-way street that gets me into my garage. So close, yet so far. Again, the sickening wobble. It's with me full-time now as I fly up the ramp. I pull up to the parking spot and the tire is completely flat after its slow leak from three blocks away.
I watched my luck falling away from me for 45 minutes as I fled home, much like the billion bits of the Challenger as she exploded after launch, each part squirming to obey its own inertia.
Jojo Great story, well told! What an adventure! The older I get, the more convinced I become that we create every reality that befalls us. Nothing is by accident and everyone is creating their own story. You visualized getting home intact, focused on that, and that is what you got. I belive in luck, karma, and curses too but I think we each create them as well.
Glad you made it home ok after your great adventure. I was in Chicago last week for a nieces college graduation from Loyola, could visualize your late evening run. The story was so much more interesting that the usual Persig-inspired rants.
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