Today was Friday the 13th. Your calendar may say it’s the 18th but it’s my 13th bike commute of the year so your calendar can pound sand.
I left early in the hope of catching the tail end of the early crowd at Friday Coffee Club. Since many of the early arrivals are women the use of the term “tail end” in the previous sentence might be misconstrued. Not that any of these women have deficient tails. It’s just that Mary and Lisa and Crystal, who used to be at Coffee Club during the 8 to 9 core coffee hours usually leave before I arrive these days.
My valiant attempt to arrive early was thwarted by a head wind and the fact that it was Friday and my legs were saying “No mas.” This is the sort of Spanish I pick up by watching telenovellas while I am doing my back exercises after I wake up. Today the woman with the big boobs and the low cut dress was decidedly not pregnant when she was clearly with child last Friday. Thankfully, our heroine Anita is consistently bouncy in her short shorts and spaghetti string top. I have not a clue what the hell is going on in this story, by the way. Nearly all the men look like gymnasts and all the young women are supermodels. All of which makes me want to move to Las Anitas pronto.
Back to reality. I braved South Royal Street which improbably was devoid of Catholic SUVs. This is good because Catholic SUV drivers get mighty impatient when the have to wait in line for blocks to drop off Mary Margaret and Patrick Junior. (You can tell that I am familiar with the whole Irish Catholic thing. Suffice it to say, that my early altar boy experiences were in Latin. And my grandmother said the Our Father in Gaelic before we carved the turkey on Thanksgiving.)
Once in DC, I had expected security hassles, but except for some random jersey barriers on the sidewalk across from the Commerce Department, I made it up 15th Street and across the White House plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue without stopping. As I pulled in at Swings Coffee Emporium I spotted Mary, Queen of Caffeine, as she was leaving. Nice to see you, Mary. It’s been too long. She took my picture with Little Nellie. (Actually, she took it with a camera but you get my drift.)
Inside Swings, the joint was jumpin’. Ed (a.k.a Mr. Mary) and Mary had brought a cake to celebrate the first anniversary of Friday Coffee Club. It was already half gone; the cake that is. The early bike gets the frosting.
I commiserated with Tom and Kirsten, Ted, and Adam. Then Kate and Rachel and Katie showed up followed by Jacques and his supercute baby boy Hugo. I even got to hold Hugo which was especially great since it was a cold morning and Hugo was as warm as a loaf or bread straight out of the oven. And because observing babies absorbing their surroundings is fascinating. These people (and the many other nice folks at Coffee Club) have made Friday mornings a joy for the past year.
Ed handed out a pewter pin of a coffee cup as a little commerative gift. He gave out all 25 that he and Mary had made. It’s amazing to me that more than 25 people would show up on a cold Friday morning before a three day weekend. Brew it and they will come.
As we were leaving, Ed and I became enbroiled in an intense discussion. Kate and Rachel are roommates who frequently tweet about their zany escapades. Ed likened them to Laverne and Shirley or Lucy and Ethel. I am in the Mary and Rhoda camp. This scholarly debate needs more research. Keep tweeting Kate and Rachel.
The ride to work my office in Virginiawas frigid and annoying. I had to stop five times on the too-narrow TR Bridge to let DC-bound bikes pass. As I normally do, I salmoned on the sidewalk on Lynn Street from the MVT to my office. Fifty feet from the office garage, I came upon a woman walking toward me. She was obviously quite cold. She had a coffee in one hand and an annoyed look on her face. As I passed with all kinds of room, she said, “There’s a road, you know.” I said, “Thanks.” (“Bitch” understood.)
During the day it seemed to get much colder still, but the wind was at my back for the ride home. After seven miles in the twilight (yes, the winter solstice is behind us!!!), I was once again dodging ninjas. The first two were walking side by side, taking up two-thirds of the width of the MVT. They were dressed in dark clothing from head to toe. I said, “I can’t see you” as I passed. That’s my new public service announcement. Another two near Old Town were walking opposite each other. A fifth came running onto the trail. His brand new white sneakers saved him from a face full of handlebar.
On the MVT just after the South Washington Street deck, I came upon a man and his two kids. They were on bikes in the dark. They wore reflective vests and had helmets with bright lights on them. They asked for directions to the airport (probably to watch the planes take off). I explained that it was at least four miles (actually it was five) and the kids lost interest. They all agreed to continue to ride into Old Town with remarkable enthusiasm considering the headwind they were dealing with and how cold it was. They had big smiles on their faces.There’s hope for this world.
For some odd reason, I decided to ride up the hill at Park Terrace. In the mornings, I break 30 miles per hour riding down this bad boy. On the way up, it’s all I can do to stay upright. Somehow, I actually got stronger near the top tonight. My body can sense the end of the work week.
When I arrived home, the Rootchopper automotive fleet was back in service. We all celebrated by going out for chili at the Hard Times Cafe in Old Town. After 151 miles of bike commuting this week, I felt like I could use a little EPO. Instead I had a Shiner Bock and some Texas chili.