Archive for the ‘bikes’ Category

at my mom’s behest, an update

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Life is still beautiful:

(that’s my awesome boyfriend’s band, Aporia)

A little more than three weeks later, I am on my way to healing. For awhile life really sucked. I was a moody percocet zombie. I stayed at home feeling sorry for myself a lot of the time. I don’t know what to say. My life has been consumed by recovery until recently. An MRI on my knee revealed only minor muscle tears, and I can walk just fine now. Physical therapy is helping me get back the rest of my knee strength and mobility. Check out my collarbone fracture, though:

For that, I’ve been wearing a figure-of-eight brace around my shoulders, like this:

That’s from a trip out to the Columbia Gorge with Andrew about ten days ago. Things are still up and down, but increasingly up. I hope someday I will be able to explain what I mean when I put these images side-by-side… coming to terms…

(from Be Here Now by Ram Dass)

I started some theatre work last week–just auditions for the show I’m SMing come August. I had a few rehearsals for JAW this weekend, and tomorrow the festival really starts in earnest for me. Andrew and I have been excitedly planning our trip to India (and Nepal!), which is awesome ’cause for awhile looking forward to anything was really hard. So. Yeah. There.

Full healing: three months from injury (so, mid-September)

Riding a road bike: mid-August if I’m lucky

Riding an upright bike, if I can get my hands on one: maybe a couple weeks??

Doc thinks I can ditch the brace in a week or so.  Doc also thinks my collarbone will not interfere with our trip, though I will probably have to figure out some way of padding my collarbone to keep the pressure off the bump (my lovely lady lump) for the purposes of carrying a large backpack. Could be worse!


Thursday, June 12th, 2008

i got hit by a pick-up truck on my bike ride home from work today.

i was riding in the bike lane and crossing an intersection (ne 57th and fremont) on a green light when the car turned left in front of–or i guess into–me. the driver admitted immediately to being at fault and is really remorseful and all that. her insurance will pay for everything. the medic and police officer who showed up were very kind. there were plenty of witnesses.

the damage: broken left collarbone, massively-bruised-but-probably-otherwise-ok right knee (immobilized just in case), sore right wrist, numerous scrapes, busted bike fork, broken glasses, shirt and my favorite bra cut off of me.

if i had not been wearing my helmet, i am pretty sure i would be dead, or at least braindead.

i hurt a lot but i have a little bottle of narcotics. so yeah.

my hospital form said “bike vs car” across the top. i pointed it out to andrew and he said “this time the car won.” i said “yeah but i got a few good swings in.” (i broke her windshield.)

slow growing

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

On Monday my parents were in town and I met them for breakfast. This meeting had two purposes: one, coincidentally, for each of the main themes or what-have-you of this blog. They brought me my bike (which was temporarily lost by the airline that flew me and it home from France a few weeks ago), and they agreed to get me (using their frequent flyer miles) plane tickets to India in the fall. I’ve got some stuff to say about both these things (mostly the second), and in the course of that will probably get to some of the less easily articulated themes of this blog (blah blah blah odyssey blah blah growing up blah choices priorities youth blah).

Part One:

I biked all over Provence for a week with my dad and my brother and some other people. It had its ups and downs (quite literally of course). I’m sure I will post some pictures eventually, including a great one of me and my bike completely surrounded by red poppies. I came away from the trip much less afraid of Portland’s hills (hey I was like climbin’ freakin’ Alps, man) and in pretty good shape, all enthusiastic about biking to Multnomah Falls and biking to the top of Mount Tabor every week or every day or something… so of course the airline lost my luggage.

So I rode a lot of buses and walked a whole lot too. Once I tried to borrow my boyfriend Andrew’s bike, but the 2 or 3 miles ride from his house to mine was enough to demonstrate very convincingly that bike fit actually matters a helluva lot and there is a lot more to it than standover height.

So after breakfast on Monday my parents drove me and my still-boxed bike to my former place of work, that is, the bike e-commerce business that my dad co-owns and runs, and there I put my bike back together, all by my happy self, and then I got on and rode it home in my boots and a sundress and oh the bliss of that first pedal stroke. The joy and efficiency. It was beautiful.

I should say “once and future place of work,” which leads me to…

Part Two:

I am going to India in the fall! With my boyfriend, whose praises I will resist singing except to say that he’s awesome and I am really excited that we’ll be traveling together!

…My parents are a little less thrilled. They’re worried about my safety, about money, about my joblessness and laziness and lack of ambition and other things. At breakfast we talked about a lot. I was pretty sure I had the money thing under control, and my slow but steady theatre work is beginning (very very slowly, but it’s happening) to generate some actual income. I felt okay with my figurative wandering. Remember those posts about that happy center I’ve found this spring? That stuff justified, for me, the fact that I kinda look like a slacker right now.

For awhile I was going to look for a job after I got back from Europe. Then I was busy with the play I was stage managing through March. Then I was going to France and figured finding a job that would give me that time off would be impossible or nearly so, so I thought I’d look after I got back from France. Then the kind folks at a certain large regional theatre in Portland offered to pay me some money for the same stuff I’ve gladly done for them twice before at their yearly summer playwrights’ festival, and I certainly couldn’t say no. And besides I was beginning to make tentative, hopeful, lovely plans with Andrew while we read through guidebooks to India together. Who would hire me when I already knew I’d need two weeks off in July and I might skip out entirely come autumn?

My dad. At the job I happily quit last fall before I left for Europe, swearing I wouldn’t work there again. The job I happily quit the summer before that… and the summer before that.

There are some compromises I am not willing to make (giving up travel, giving up theatre) and so I’ll make some other compromises instead (working at V__).

But I wanted to bike to Ashland with Andrew and we had vague plans to go backpacking and he was out of a job until July anyway, so when I broached the subject with Dad I asked him if I could wait to start until July, but oh by the way I need two weeks off in mid-July… he said, “start when that’s over.”

And for a couple weeks Andrew and I slept late and made food and wandered the city a bit and watched movies and hung out and cuddled my cat and didn’t plan our trip to Ashland or go backpacking, and on Monday when I asked my parents for tickets to India, they said, “why aren’t you working? What are you accomplishing now? How will you afford it? Shouldn’t you be writing plays or devoting yourself totally to theatre if that’s what you want to do, instead of taking off for months at a time? How come you don’t write in your blog anymore?” and, because sometimes they are right about things, when we got to V__ I asked my old boss, “can I work here again?” and he said “when can you start?” (I start tomorrow, 8AM.)

And now I am writing this blog entry.

Because I have failed to be productive for myself–because I have failed to establish my own productive routine–so I must submit to a routine made for me, at least in part. Next time, maybe, I will get it right. My parents aren’t right about everything and I know that some of the things I value aren’t what they value, and vice versa. But until I can tell them exactly what it is that I value, and until they’re not paying my health insurance and my cell phone bill, I gotta respect what they have to say (and I do).

It’s a tricky thing to wrap my head about–because of my lingering dependence on them, I don’t have the freedom to bum around Portland all summer… instead, I get to go to India. You know? I must be kind of an adult or something, at least a little bit, because despite their vague disapproval, they got me tickets anyway.

230+ miles in three days

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

(pictures above by my dad)

Mom has been asking me to write about this here for awhile, and she’s right that I really oughta. In April I biked from my house in Portland to my parent’s house in Sammamish, Washington. I expected the trip to take four days–possibly five. Instead, I biked 90 miles on my first day and made it in three.

Afterwards, I wrote the following:

i didn’t take a lot of pictures ’cause i got to be pretty good friends with momentum, but there’s a few.

first, some background: the longest ride i had ever done before this was a 60-mile ride the summer i turned 17. i wanted to avoid taking PE my senior year of high school, so i trained with my dad for the summer to get an independent PE credit. my dad does a lot of the super-light road bike, full spandex, drive to the start line kind of biking, so that’s what i did with him. dad bought a bike for me at the beginning of the summer, hopeful that i’d get into biking and join him on his long charity rides and such… and sold it at the end of the summer, because i pretty much hated every minute of it. that was the last time i wore spandex bike shorts until this past tuesday. my longest ride since then was, i dunno, 30-something miles.

basically, before this trip i was riding (heh) on the assumption that if i could ride 30 miles nonstop without feeling too tired afterwards, i could probably ride 30+30 with a break in between.

so on tuesday morning i got on my fully-loaded bike, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

and off i rode. i hadn’t bothered with detailed directions for the first part ’cause i thought i knew how to get onto route 30/st helens way, so i ended up calling my dad in confusion when naito turned into front ave and it was intersecting with numbered streets and there was no bike lane and where was nicolai street?? answer: …a block away. embarrassing.

on i went. basically, i was shocked by how easy the first FIFTY-FIVE MILES were. i finally rode over the bridge into longview, wa, in the early afternoon (okay so i walked some of it… motherfucker was steep, and the shoulder was strewn with wet mulch for some reason), having already biked farther than i expected to on day one.

i called my mom from longview, where i stopped for lunch, totally high on endorphins and gleeful. “guess where i am? guess how far i’ve biked? guess how many hours of daylight i have left???”

onwards i rode. i don’t remember the next 20 miles or so; they must have been okay. riding past lots of cows and stuff, probably. somewhere in there i started fantasizing about being able to call my mom that evening from centralia to say i’d ridden a fucking century. endorphins do funny things to your brain. pedal pedal pedal.

so when i wrote out my directions, i tried to include mileage where the route i was using stated it. i figured i would reset my odometer at the turn onto nicolai mentioned above, so i wrote down the miles of various points from there. but i was distracted when i turned onto nicolai and forgot about it for a few miles. i’m not sure what my odo said before i reset it (i think somewhere between 8 and 12), which is why i’m not exactly sure what my total mileage was. so anyway i started looking for turns five miles or so before they were supposed to come up. ANYWAY.

so i had a turn coming up at 71.5 miles. when at 68 or so i still hadn’t passed it i was starting to get worried. and tired. and maybe walking up some hills. i learned that it’s possible to ride a bike up a hill at 5 mph without it falling over. i started internally chanting “506 aka 7th st, 506 aka 7th st” over and over.

so when i crested a hill at 71.7 miles on my odo (so 80ish miles total) and saw this

(yeah i messed with the saturation, i am trying to express how much it MEANT TO ME)
(there was also a chorus of angels singing alleluia)

well. you know. i coasted down into tiny vader, wa…

…and, because endorphins do funny things to your brain, i coasted right out of town again, and on towards winlock. i could do 100 miles. sure. about four miles down the winlock-vader road, i knew i couldn’t. i called my mom to ask how far it was between vader and winlock. she said “about 7 and a half” and then my phone’s battery died. well, i was more than halfway… i would get to winlock and find a motel and indulge in the unimaginable luxury of a hot shower: if only i could make it to winlock.

i made it to winlock, where i didn’t find a motel but did find a public library, where, despite my head-to-toe raingear and the fact that even i could smell my stink, a very nice young librarian helped me get in touch with a bed and breakfast a mile or two away. i rode there, walked down their gravel driveway, and was treated almost immediately to a family-style dinner of hot soup and fried clams (yes, i broke my vegetarianism for the night; i didn’t want to be a pain in the ass, i was ravenous and they dug them themselves! i’m cool with this). yeah.

anyway in case i haven’t stated this clearly:

next day it was foggy and chilly when i left in the morning, but cleared up into a beautiful day in the afternoon. i stopped in centralia to sit in a coffeeshop for awhile and celebrate the fact that i’d hit the halfway point (of the StP route… not actually of my trip, as it turns out). my muscles, astonishingly enough, were not particularly sore. my knees were. but it wasn’t too bad.

somewhere during day two i told myself with some happy laughter, “i have reached a zenlike state in which i can transcend minor aches and pains. there is only: the cycle!” endorphins make you think you’re funny. part of that doing weird things to your brain thing.

i biked part of the day on a multi-use rails-to-trails path, which was pretty cool.

in yelm, wa, i was passed on a narrow, shoulderless road by eight schoolbuses in rapid succession.

in roy, wa, i sat on a picnic bench and thought, goddamn, i could just BE there already if i weren’t stubborn. but of course the only reason i was going to sammamish was to bike there. the symbolism of biking from home to home.

i looked halfheartedly for a place to pitch my tent. i saw signs that referenced green river and couldn’t remember whether they’d ever actually caught the green river killer. you know what i mean? then i biked onward and found myself on a 50 mph highway with lots of traffic and fort lewis (a big army base) on either side with big fences and “no trespassing” signs every ten feet. so when i got to spanaway (70 miles that day), i… got a motel room.

so yeah i didn’t do too well with the camping part of the trip. i lugged the stuff everywhere and didn’t use it. by the end of the day i didn’t have the courage or energy to find a place to camp, i guess. could i have done it if i knew where campsites were and had them as my end goals? yeah, i think so. would i still like to learn how to make anywhere into a safe campsite? yeah of course. maybe something to learn when i’m not traveling solo. i dunno. i can’t be too disappointed in myself when i biked 230 miles in three days. whatever.

day three: raining when i left. knees sore again, but again, not too bad. i was pretty excited because i was in area codes i’ve lived in, you know? 253! tacoma!

20 miles in, my right knee twinged painfully. then it twinged again. and again. fuck fuck fuck fuck. i was on an ugly road through somewhere industrial, south of auburn. i called my dad near tears. he said, calm down, take some advil. worth noting that his advice to me the day before i left was “don’t overdo it on your first day.” 3x farther than i’d ridden in over 5 years isn’t overdoing it, is it? naw…

so i walked a mile until the advil kicked in, rode a bit further, stopped for coffee, rode on, felt better. i practiced pedaling with mostly just my left leg. i imagined giving up. my parents had already told me they can come get me if i need it. i have already come so far, i told myself. damn my knee hurt. no one could fault me, could they? but i wanted to ride door to door. SYMBOLISM, i kept telling myself, though i hadn’t figured out exactly what it was symbolizing.

in the meantime, i kept riding.

puyallup. i love the pacific northwest.


and then…


all right. i was gonna make it. okay.

i was halfway across the i-90 bridge when my knee started hurting again. oh god. my left thigh was starting to burn from the extra effort. i was on a floating bridge, which is, according to the laws of physics, FLAT, and i was struggling along in my granny gears. then i got lost on mercer island. my dad had written out directions for me ’cause i left the StP route when i got on the i-90 bike path, but i managed to misinterpret them or something. i called him and he set me straight. “how much farther is it from here?” i asked. “oh, only another 15 or 20 miles” he told me. i had already ridden 50 miles that day and my knee ached. i couldn’t bike up slopes anymore. i walked. joggers passed me. my speedometer said 3.0 mph. it was, i dunno, 2 or 3… if i walked the whole way, i figured, i could maybe be home for dinner.

i biked where i could, ate one of the energy bars i’d been carrying the whole way, made slow progress. on the other side of the bridge, though, THERE WERE SO MANY HILLS. OH MY FUCKING GOD. i walked a lot. by this point, when i wasn’t too busy breathing, i was either sobbing or swearing like a sailor. finally there was a long downhill, maybe 10 miles from my house. i actually tried chanting aum. it kind of helped, until the downhill ended and i ran out of breath.

the last eight miles to my house consisted of five and a half miles along east lake sammamish parkway, which was mostly flat, and then… and then… inglewood hill and some other stuff. the point is inglewood hill. when dad was giving me this route from seattle to home, he said, “well, you’ll have to go up inglewood hill, but i think you can do it.”

“i dunno…” i’d said doubtfully.

“well, if you can’t do it, you’ll know you need to work on hills!”

inglewood hill damn near killed me and i didn’t even try to do it on my bike. it was the hardest half mile of the whole trip. i think i would have given up right there were i not a mere three miles from home.

goddamn those three miles were hard.

but then i made it. as i was coasting the last half mile or so, i wondered whether i would manage to smile in those pictures i posted last night [ed: at the top of this entry]. i guess i did okay.

here’s some other stuff:

memorial crosses: 6

wildlife: 2 deer standing in a section of clearcut, 2 herons within 2 minutes of each other, a bunny rabbit, a small snake that i almost ran over, lots of birds including robins and red-winged blackbirds, ducks–including ducks in a used-to-be-pasture still flooded from the december floods in the centralia area

farms: cows, horses, chickens, llamas!

dogs: every dog within a 2 block radius at any given moment was barking frantically at me. only one of them chased me and i was completely terrified for a moment before the dog stopped dead at the edge of its property line.

one person yelled at me from a car; no idea what he was saying. in spanaway i sat outside a dairy queen and some kid driving a huge pick-up (he looked about 12 but i guess he was probably 16) yelled, “you have pink hair! you have pink hair!” “yeah, i know!” i said, and he drove off.

(one of) the reason(s) i did this ride is ’cause i am going on a supported bike tour in france with my dad and brother next month to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday (i know, awesome, right?). i was having trouble motivating myself to go on long circular rides around portland to train for it, plus i was reading all this awesome stuff about self-supported bike touring, so i thought maybe it would be awesome to do a mini bike tour down the california coast as long as i’m an unemployed bum and my parents have more frequent flyer miles than they know what to do with. california ’cause i figured the weather would be nice, the scenery would be beautiful, the campsites would be plentiful. my parents were actually not totally opposed to the idea, but my mom said, “maybe you should bike up here first.” so i said, “okay, will do.” and here i am. so will i bike down the california coast now? i dunno. i would still like to but i would also like to spend the next couple weeks in portland (there are some really awesome things goin’ on for me in portland right now, what can i say?). i totally feel like i could do it and i think i have made that point to my parents, though. yes, yesterday was very very hard, but i only pushed so hard because i knew i was so close to home.

anyway–observable effects–my awesome glasses tan/burn (yeah i packed sunscreen, but i didn’t think to actually use it…):

ok, that’s all for now. maybe more later when i’ve parsed it or whatever.

I still haven’t really parsed it, I guess. This Thursday I’m leaving for France. I haven’t been biking a whole lot in the interim–for awhile my knee hurt every time I tried to bike farther than a few miles, and then last week I sprained my ankle. Stepping off of a bus. Pretty brilliant, I know. Obviously I should have been biking instead of riding the bus!

More general photo update to follow.

last amsterdam photos

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

I spent most of the morning and even some of the afternoon trying to get my laundry done, but man oh man am I gonna be excited to put on clean jeans tomorrow morning. This hostel sent me to another hostel in the same chain a few Metro stops away, and that hostel had free internet AND exposed USB ports… but the connection was sooo slooooow, so this is all you get for now.

I HAVE mentioned that Amsterdam was totally beautiful, have I not?

Yup, that is exactly what you think it is. Two girls from San Francisco taught me how to roll that joint. I was so proud!

His and hers.

The first of many fights with my boots, on the way to the highway to stick out our thumbs.

“Check out the rack on that one!” (Longbike! With a two-wheels-in-front cargo trike in the back… we saw a lot of those.)

the afterlife, or enlightenment (amsterdam)

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Devin going “Holy shit, look at all the bikes!´´

Devin going “Holy shit look at this awesome tubing someone left in the trash!´´ (More reflective of Devin than Amsterdam, of course.)

Me and a pink bike!

Another pink bike! With flowers!

Probably the coolest bike I have ever seen, ever.

This is a BIKE PARKING GARAGE, guys.

See? Seriously.

So we rented our own bikes, of course.

We biked all over the city, at least in part because I have no bleedin´ sense of direction, and went to some park to eat our lunch. Devin climbed a tree and halfway up discovered a little box bungied to a branch. Upon closer examination, it was a box of mushrooms. Of course it was. Viva Amsterdam!

This tree had been partially uprooted but was somehow still alive… just sideways and perfect for climbing!

Devin abandoned me somewhere in the middle of the city with the words “race you back to the hostel!´´ We BOTH got lost on the way home, but I still beat him.

bikes! omg, bikes! (amsterdam, the netherlands)

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

I love this city! “Heh, heh, I’ll bet she does,” you’re thinking. Seriously though. Devin and I stepped out of the train station and were like kids in a candy shop. “Bikes! Look at ALL THE BIKES!!” At least where we were walking around lateish last night, I swear to god there were more bikes than people. Bikes of pretty much every sort imaginable EXCEPT the racy sub-20lb variety. Once I thought I saw a bike without a rack, but then I noticed it had a front rack, just no back one. These bikes are all built like trucks and they’re EVERYWHERE. When Devin saw a couple riding their bikes side-by-side and HOLDING HANDS, he jumped in circles and made squeaking noises. I kept my squeaks internalized, but they were definitely happening. We’re gonna rent bikes today and have ourselves a time. This hostel has free internet, so more later, almost certainly. xoxoxox

temperate climes

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I am officially unemployed now, so no commute, but today was another gorgeous sunny day…! So I hopped on my bike to run some errands and tool around the city. Inspired by the Vélocouture Flickr group, I wore my favorite dress:

I probably covered 15 miles or so, and caught the sunset/moonrise on my way home.

It was a nice contrast from yesterday, when I looked like this when I got home:

I guess you can’t really tell that I am pretty much soaked through in that picture. But I am. Woo Portland!

pretty beautiful

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Boy is today ever a day for falling in love with Portland for the thousandth time. After work I took a detour to go by the cleaners’ to see if I could pick up my purple jacket… they were closed, but I got to ride leisurely through some close-in southeast neighborhoods I’d never spent time in and admire old houses with huge porches and strip off my layers one by one to feel the sun on my arms. I ended up on Belmont and decided to ride over to Hawthorne and stop at Ben & Jerry’s to treat myself to a scoop of Phish Food ’cause the weather was damn well perfect for it! Yum.

(Note the BLUE SKY.)

At work today I bought a big ol’ handlebar bag that just so happens to be a fantastic shade of salmon pink. My bike keeps getting heavier and I keep loving it more. My dad helped me pick out a small multitool to carry around today, and as we were comparing them, he said things like, “well, this one weighs more, and you probably won’t need these things…” Hah! Weight shmeight.

When I’m riding my bike and thinking about the blog entry I’m going to write about riding my bike, the entry always has a graceful continuity and flows easily from one thing I want to mention to the next. When I write it down it doesn’t work as well, of course, or I don’t have the patience to figure out how to make it work.

Anyway. My dad has a great time on his superlight carbon fiber bike. My coworkers have a great time wearing lycra to commute and racing cyclocross on the weekends. I have a great time riding to work in jeans and schlepping everything in the sun around on my bike. Conclusion: bikes = great time!!

I regularly read a bunch of sites that encourage people to think of biking as an easy, laidback way of getting around, not involving a change of clothes or even too much sweatiness. For example, Clever Cycles is a shop that opened up just this summer down on Hawthorne, and one of the owners keeps a great blog at their site about the merits of the Dutch approach to city biking, etc. And just today I found this awesome Flickr group: Vélocouture. Pictures of well-dressed people wearing clothes they bike in! I admit I am much less creative most of the time. I snapped this picture in my front yard when I got home this evening (”snapped” makes it sound easy. I balanced my camera on my housemate’s car, set the timer, ran and picked up my bike):

This is pretty much what I wear to work every day. If it’s cold (and it usually is in the morning), I add a cycling jacket (longer in the back, which I appreciate) and a pair of cheap knit gloves, and I pull my hood up under my helmet to keep my ears warm. If it’s wet, I add a pair of oh-so-sexy rain pants and maybe pack an extra sweatshirt in case my jacket gets soaked through. I wear these fabulous amazing super-comfortable and totally beat up boots just about every day, and the legwarmers and fingerless gloves (both of which are from Sock Dreams, a nice little business that happens to be based here in Portland) are pretty much staples as well. Maybe when I’m not working in a warehouse it’ll be easier to be creative. In the meantime, I’m comfy, at least.

Speaking of bikey fashion, I (and my bike) would love to receive a pair of these hammered steel fenders for Christmas. Y’know.

Biking is amazing. Every morning my alarm goes off while it’s still pitch dark outside and I struggle out of bed. But eventually I get on my bike and I bike to work and the sun comes up and the morning light is beautiful when it hits the orange and red and yellow trees (the green ones, too) and by the time I’m at work I’m downright cheerful. Maybe that’s ’cause I only have two days left there. I quit my job. Did I mention that?


Thursday, October 18th, 2007

This afternoon I passed a cyclist who was not only singing, he was singing while climbing a hill. I’ve been bested. I didn’t even beat him all the way up the hill, though I don’t think that’s really the point. I didn’t make eye contact with him because I was embarrassed to admit that I was breathing hard. I mean, that I was trying to beat him up the hill. I passed him again at the top of the hill and kept him behind me until maybe a mile later when I guess he turned off. What–can’t I be easygoing about anything? Would’ve liked to be moseying along, singing my own song, sharing a grin.

On my way into work it was Really Raining for the first time (during my commute) this year–and, surprise surprise, my jacket ain’t waterproof. It wasn’t too bad, though, and it wasn’t too cold out today so I dried off without too much shivering. And anyway I’m fleeing Portland’s winter in two weeks. To go to… London’s winter. And, hey, the French Riviera’s winter! I bought my Eurail pass the other day! I got a postcard from my friend Devin (in Ireland this semester) that my mom read to me over the phone ’cause he sent it to my parents’ house for some reason! We might be going to Amsterdam together! Thinking about my Europe trip makes me imagine big exclamation marks hovering over my head!

But the real reason I wanted to write tonight (quickly, before much-needed sleep) is another one of those things-I’m-going-to-do-when-I-get-back-(I-swear), which is: do Portland bike-culture-y things and maybe get involved in bike/carfree advocacy. Okay, mostly I just want to ride in some parties-on-pedals. Anyway I joined the shift email list, and the other day someone posted a link to this 2006 essay by Rebecca Solnit: View From the Future. The premise is she’s looking back on the first quarter of the 21st century from 2026. It’s brilliant and is one of a couple things (see also this article on expansion of the I-5 bridge by’s Jonathan Maus, for example) that have me thinking about… stuff. Here:

The resulting food crisis of the early years of the second decade of the century, which laid big-petroleum-style farming low, suddenly elevated the status of peasant immigrants from what was then called “the undeveloped world,” particularly Mexico and Southeast Asia. They taught the less agriculturally skilled, in suddenly greening North American cities, to cultivate the victory gardens that mitigated the widespread famines then beginning to sweep the planet. (It also turned out that the unwieldy and decadent SUVs of the millennium made great ecological sense, but only if you parked them facing south, put in sunroofs and used the high-windowed structures as seed-starter greenhouses.) The crisis spelled an end to the epidemic of American obesity, both by cutting calories and obliging so many Americans to actually move around on foot and bike and work with their hands.


Every schoolchild now knows the Old Map/New Map system and can recite the lands that vanished: half the Netherlands, much of Bangladesh, the Amazon Delta, the New Orleans and Shanghai lowlands. And who today can’t still sing the popular ditties about those famed “fundamentalists without their fundamentals”–the senators who lost the state of Florida as it rapidly became a swampy archipelago. Most schoolchildren can also cite the World Court decision of 2016 that gave all shares in the major oil companies to Pacific Islanders, mainly resettled in New Zealand and Australia, whose homes had been lost to rising oceans (a short-lived triumph as the fossil-fuel economy ebbed away).

Or, perhaps most pertinently for this blog:

The future, of course, is not something you predict and wait for. It is something you invent daily through your actions. As Mas Kodani, a Buddhist in Los Angeles, said in the early twenty-first century: “One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being.”

Today I spent awhile looking through old letters and journals from the past few years. I have done so much looking. It is hard to start walking.

Solnit draws an analogy between this new future and natural history museum dioramas’ illustrations of the Age of Reptiles giving way to the Age of Mammals. Tom Robbins, in one of my favorite books, Jitterbug Perfume, also imagines contemporary society as an age of dinosaurs and reptilian reactionism… but for him, the next age is one of flora. Loaned my copy to a friend recently, so no quotations to draw from.

P.S. I am thinking about changing the title of this blog to “slow going”… hm?

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