Moments in Time

1) Did a three-mile, 30-minute jog today with The Lad. "That was fun," he said afterward, unbidden, a big smile confirming the sentiment. Dads—this one, anyway—live for out-of-nowhere affirmations like that.

2) Driving back from OMSI, during rush hour, taking Burnside east instead of the jammed-solid Banfield (that's I-84; don't ask me who Banfield was). It's two lanes each way and when I say there's no shoulder I don't mean there's barely any shoulder I mean this is a road that if two cars are abreast going in the same direction, the one on the right is two inches from the curb on the right side and two inches from the guy in the next lane on the left. Sane bicyclists might use Burnside at this time of the day (or any time) for maybe a block or two if necessary, but otherwise will travel east-west on Ankeny (one block south) or through the Couch-Everett-Davis-Everett bike corridor just to the north. Barely any traffic on the roads, and that which there is moves generally the speed of a fit cyclist, around 20 mph. But here's this guy going along at maybe 18 mph on a 35-mph road during rush hour, owning a lane. OK, fine. I'm a calm, cool Portlander, accepting of cyclists, and I will not swerve violently into the left lane to try to pass him so I can get where I'm going a few seconds faster. It just doesn't matter that much to me. So I motor along at 17 mph behind the guy. He continually glances over his shoulder at me. I wave and mouth, "It's cool." He keeps glancing. I begin to think, "Dude, if you don't want somebody driving behind you, maybe Burnside is not your ideal choice." I'm not sure what he wants me to do, I guess stop driving behind him, but that seems weird and unreasonable to me. I mean, sure, he's made the ridiculous choice to ride Burnside, but that doesn't mean I therefore have to vacate the road. So we pull to a stop at a red, somewhere in the 30s or 40s and the woman behind me, an enormous woman in a van, yells out her window, "Why are you tailing that cyclists! Go around him. They have a right to the road, too!" OK. Whoa. Huh? I'm thinking, I've ridden a few thousand miles on the streets of Portland in the couple of years I've been here and I'm being lectured about how to treat cyclists by some van driver who probably hasn't been on a bike since the Ford administration? And anyway, is that what we motorists are required to do? We need to get in the other lane and go around the cyclist or we're not cool? We're not allowed to putt along behind him? Well, this is just one crazy van driver's view, but as we proceed past the light the cyclist continues continually looking back at me, looking back at me more often than he's watching the road in front of him. Then I notice the van swerve around me and hammer the gas to get by me (and the cyclist). The cyclist waves to her as if she's a comrade, as if she's got the right attitude about how to treat cyclists properly. There's your Portland cyclist-motorist story for the day.

Delivered The Lad to his mother. Man, he was so sweet. He had helped me with my CDA packing (he loves making lists and checking off items), we did the run together, and I could tell he felt more connected to this race than any race I've ever done. I guess me yacking about it constantly made some impression on him. When we parted, he told me he'd check my progress online on Sunday, and said, "I hope you have your best race ever." That was way cool. Hell, I teared up. But that is not the last moment I want to talk about.

3) That moment comes after I drop off The Lad and pick up my bike from River City (new aerobars not installed) and then arrive home. I had the water going at a dribble in the roses in front of the house and figured it might be a good idea, before heading out for five days, to give the other plants a little drink as well. But first I get my bike out of the truck and grab the house keys (on a separate ring from the truck keys, left in the truck) while I'm at it. I set the bike near the front door then go to my watering. How nice it is to water on a calm, partly cloudy, 72-degree evening in the Rose City! Birds chirping, a neighbor happening by for a moment, the nearby Banfield's roar fading with the passing of the rush hour…. Ten or 15 minutes later I'm done and ready to head in. I reach into my pants pockets for my keys. Hmm. There's the two bucks I owe Niko for mowing the lawn (hey, it's a tiny lawn). There are two CO2 cartridges I picked up at River City. There's a quarter. Keys? No keys. Not in the other pocket either. Still in the car? Oh, come on, I took them out of the car, I know I did. Still, I ought to check just to be sure. After all, where could they be? Well, not in the car. Hmm. I must have dropped them while watering. So I proceed to dig through bushes and rose plants. I'm scratched all over my forearms and a few thorns are in my fingers. I search and search and search and nothing. They're gone. I search more. They're gone! The keys are gone! OK. I climb the fence and go into the back yard where the Extra Set of House Keys is hidden. Except, while going over the fence the back of my pants catch a nail head and tear. So now my ass is hanging out, so I change into some shorts. I go out front and bring in the bike. (You thought I was going to say the bike was gone. If that had happened, I can assure you there would not have been a blog entry tonight.) How could I lose those keys? I say to myself, pouring a glass of wine (Ridge Lytton Springs 2003, not bad but decidely hollow for a Lytton Springs, a disappointment). I stroll outside and decide to assess the situation from new angles. I walk far to the right and peer across the yard. I walk far to the left. I sit on the steps and don't think about the keys, figuring that might be the best way to find them. Nothing. I search yet again through the bushes. I look up at the jasmine that climbs the left porch stanchion. I had searched under that jasmine extensively because while watering I had paused to wrap a few wayward strands of plant around the stanchion. That was, in fact, my best bet as to where the keys might be. That was my theory: That while adjusting the jasmine, I had dropped them. But they weren't under the jasmine. They weren't under the damned jasmine! However, they were in the jasmine. Right there. There they are. Dangling in the jasmine. Found.

Life, four days before CDA: It's like life 104 days before, and life 61 days after (I imagine). I head out tomorrow morning.

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