Ninjas and the Golden Years

It’s been a while since I had a close encounter with a ninja so I suppose I was overdue. It was Friday night and well after sunset. I was riding south on the Mount Vernon Trail. As I approached the Dyke Marsh bridge, the headlights of the cars on the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway were shining directly into my eyes.  Since I was riding The Mule, I dipped my head so that the visor on my helmet would shade my eyes from the glare. Then I saw something move just ahead of me on the left side of the trail. It was a woman in a dark red sweat suit facing me. The only reason I saw her was the car lights reflecting off the white stripes on the side of her outfit. I started to brake and immediately in front of me was a man in a matching suit. His was black or dark blue. He was turning, doing a button hook in the lane only a few feet in front of me.  I saw the stripes on his suit.


That’s what he said. In addition to having situational and sartorial awareness he was loquacious! I snapped on my brakes and he pivoted and stepped to the other side of the path away from me. My left foot briefly touched ground as I slowed to a near stop. Alarmed, I said something to the effect of “What are you doing!” In retrospect, I am pretty impressed that I didn’t blurt out a stream of f-bombs. There just wasn’t time. He and Red Sweat Suit staggered off up the path.

Rather than confront the Sweat Suits I continued on home.

It was an annoying end to a pretty good day.

In the morning, I went to the second anniversary Friday Coffee Club. Even without many of the regulars, the joint was jumping. Word must have gotten out that there was going to be a cake. Bike commuters are a lot like graduate students; they’ll do anything for free food. Add coffee and you’ve got yourselves some vampires at a blood bank.

I went five for five this week, commuting on all five days. Okay, I cheated a bit. On Tuesday, I drove to a car dealership in Arlington. I rode from there to work, about 12 miles shorter than my normal commute each way. Still, I managed to get in 120 miles with my commuting.

Another significant off-the-bike event was the two-day retirement seminar I attended. I’ve been eligible to retire from the government for a few months so I need to get my ducks in a row.  For many reasons I will continue to work until the end of September. Sometime this summer I will re-assess my situation.  As it stands right now, I’m getting paid to do research and ride a bike along the Potomac River 30 miles per day. Not a bad gig, if you ask me.

The retirement seminar was pretty depressing. There’s a fairly decent chance that I will end up old, blind, toothless, demented, and alone. Longevity is way overrated, if you ask me.

My plan for my final year of life is simple. When I sense the end is near, I’ll buy an electric assist tadpole trike. I’ll hang two panniers off the rack on the back.  I’ll fill one with clothes and bike stuff and the other with cash, marijuana (it will be legal and it weighs very little), cigarettes, and fine scotch whiskey and head for the sun. I’ll probably need some sort of navigation aid, but I figure Google will have that figured out by 2020.

I’ll die in a collision with a ninja outside a retirement community near Pie Town, New Mexico.  

When it comes to retirement, you’ve got to have a plan.

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