Tar maintenance

July 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

One of the most important parts on your bike is its tars. You can’t go far without them. They are the third most important bike part. The first is the handlebars. When you jump on your bike without the handlebars nothing good is going to happen. The second is the wheels. When you jump on your bike without the wheels you are going to hurt badly that place where your legs join up.

Tars are the contact point between you and the bike shop. Once you get a flat tar you need a tube or a patch which costs a couple of bucks. And once you go into the bike shop for a new tube you need a new 100% all carbon Pinarello pure carbon frame that is made of all carbon and Campagnolo which costs several thousand. You know how marijuana is the gateway to heroin? Tars are the gateway to Pinarellos. Chinarellos if you shop online.

Lots of bicyclists spend a lot of time doing tar research. Which tar is right for me? Well hell I don’t know and I would give you a list of things to look for in a tar except Waldo is counting my lists and he is a subscriber. So instead of a list I will give you a run-on sentence. Tars should be rubber and hold air, which is measured in pounds per square inch or something called “bars.” Back in the day an old Belgian would get a flat, patch it with a piece of asphalt, get another flat, throw the bike in the fuggin’ ditch, and go into a bar. “Y’all got any tars?” he would ask and they would say “Whyncha belly up to the bar while we go look?” Anyway it took about 6.8 beers at the bar, or 6.8 “bars” to find a tire which they would inflate to 100 pounds per square inch so nowadays Euros just say “gimme 7 bars” or eight bars and etcetera.

But back to tars which are confusing. Do you need an off road, on road, hybrid, or commuter tar? Like I said, hell I don’t know. But I do know this. The other day I got a pair of Vittoria Super Fake Racer Profamateur tars that cost a lot of money. Everyone said I shouldn’t train on them because even though they were more supple than your mistress they were eggshell thin like your wife’s radar about you suddenly dressing differently and running errands at odd times of the day. In short, everyone said I would soon be getting double flats and it would be a waste of time and money and etcetera.

However I remember once hearing someone say that the way to get more life out of a tar (and maybe a mistress too) is to rotate them regularly. That sounded easy until I learned that these Vittoria race tars in addition to being supple were tighter than my bank account at the end of the month. Or the beginning for that matter even though I got a $324.15 cash back credit on my Visa card. Do you know how much money you have to spend to get $324.15 cash back credit? Answer: More than $324.15, which just goes to prove the old adage that you can’t make money by spending it. Although I try.

Anyway, I slapped those tars on the rims on May 23 and it is now July 21, which is almost two months, and every two weeks I have rotated my tars. They still have another month left on them, easily, maybe two. And I haven’t gotten a single flat.

If tar swapping works with prima donna tars like these and you don’t mind losing a few fingernails every time you rotate them, you will get way more mileage and better yet, your tars will wear evenly. Plus even if you are a horrible mechanic and can barely fill a water bottle without breaking your seat post, once you get handy at tar swapping and fingernail re-growing you will feel a big sense of accomplishment.

And if all else fails and you are standing out on my balcony with your feet in the vinegar-baking soda anti-fungal concoction bowl and your fingernails are littering the floor and you don’t have any palms left, only big raw meat holes where you ground off all the skin, you can always call my buddy Usta Befit. He will get you fixed up in a jiffy. That boy never met a tar he couldn’t change.

END

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If it’s broke, don’t fix it

July 20, 2017 § 19 Comments

Sometimes I go to parties and there are other cyclists there. Rarely there will be a cyclist who reads this blog and that person, after several strong drinks, will sidle up to me and say something like, “So how do you write stuff every single day?’

By “stuff” he means “crap.” Still, the output impresses him.

“I don’t write stuff every single day. I skip days now and then.”

“Yeah, yeah, but I mean how do you come up with stuff? For years and years? How?”

My answer is always the same. I sit down at the keyboard and think about the day and then write something. For example, today. I was in the local Sckubrats with a friend minding OUR OWN FUGGIN’ BUSINESS when this portly dude walked up to us.

“Excuse me,” he said, “do either one of you own a Mercedes?”

It was kind of unexpected since we both looked like bicycle owners (purchased on a 72-month installment plan) rather than fancy German car owners. “I wish,” I said.

The guy showed us his key fob. “Do either one of you know how to put one of these on a key ring? These fobs don’t have a little hook thing for a key ring to go through.”

“Why don’t you just give it to your butler?” I asked.

He stared for a second, then laughed. “You’re funny,” he said in a way that meant he didn’t really think I was funny at all.

See? That’s all I do. Something happened and I wrote about it. I might have made up certain parts, such as being in a Starbucks, being talked to by a person about a Mercedes, or having snappy retorts, but otherwise it was all true except for the parts I made up. Simply, really.

But I started to think about it and thought that maybe this wasn’t the best way. Maybe I should be structured and planned and disciplined and shouldn’t say “fuck.” Maybe I should plot my stories out. Maybe I should be more organized.

So I got on the Internet and read about how to have a successful blog. There are many important things about being a successful blogger, but apparently the most important one is having lists. People like lists. You should, in fact:

  1. Make lists.
  2. Write shortly.
  3. Use photos and video.
  4. Repeat.

There were many other important things I should have been doing that I wasn’t. For example:

  1. Republish old stuff.
  2. Use infographics.
  3. Meticulously research your readers’ wants.
  4. Develop algorithms pegged to categories.

In other words “Be someone you aren’t” and “Do things you can’t.”

So I decided that from then on I would be a super disciplined blog researcher who carefully analyzed each post, thought it out in advance, and produced a beautiful, well-listed product every single day. This was very different from soaking my fungal feet in a brass pot and writing about how baking soda reacts with vinegar and spores and toe juice while getting dropped by a pack of wild hyenas.

I endeavored to persevere and planned everything out carefully. Here is what my roadmaps looked like:

After all this planning, which took forever, I then went out and dutifully executed, and I can say for sure that when you go out for a bike ride planning to write a blog about your ride, your ride will totally fucking suck. Plus you will get dropped on Nichols Canyon.

In other words, it was a horribly huge amount of work and the end product was just as jake-leg as my spur-of-the-moment toenail opus. What was worse, the planning took all the fun out of the blogging. Not that there is any fun in blogging, but it’s better than, say, being dead. So the planning made it feel like being dead. Moreover, clever subscribers like Waldo noted that I had resorted to listing and wanted to know WTF was up.

So to sum up:

  1. No Mercedes.
  2. No planned blogging.
  3. No lists.

I feel lots better already.

END

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Don’t burn out

July 19, 2017 § 29 Comments

It’s hard to continue anything, but it’s especially hard to continue riding a bike, and it’s virtually impossible to continue racing one. The average life span of a bike racer is 2-3 years. I made up that fake number because in my experience that’s about how long it takes for a person to realize how out of whack the risk-reward arithmetic is.

Enthusiastic sport cycling may last a bit longer, but not much. Every year I see people get into riding, buy all the gear, do all the rides, make a bunch of friends, and then vanish, which is the time you can pick up some great deals on bike stuff with a well-placed phone call. The people who stick around have a few things in common.

  1. They actually love riding their bike, however you define “riding” or “bike.”
  2. They have a schedule.
  3. They wake up early.
  4. Riding is an end unto itself.

The people who burn out are a much more diverse group, but here are the warning signs. The problem is that these warning signs also exist among people who’ve been doing it for decades. When a new rider does all of these things, though, get ready for a Roman candle flame-out.

  1. Extremely competitive.
  2. Bikes for multiple disciplines before they’ve gotten good at even one.
  3. Strava/data/power obsession.
  4. Coaches and/or training plans.
  5. Huge miles.
  6. Only talks about cycling.
  7. Haven’t had their first big crash.
  8. Extremely focused on gear.
  9. Huge progress in a very short period of time.
  10. Big job or family stresses.

If you’re the kind of person who throws herself fully into new things, and you have a pattern of burning out in other new endeavors but really want to hang onto cycling, here are a few tips that will help.

  1. Make sure that half your rides have no competitive element whatsoever.
  2. Only own bikes you regularly ride.
  3. Do half your rides (or more) without a Garmin or Strava.
  4. Come up with a “longevity” plan with your coach. Coaches hate burnout worse than anyone.
  5. Halve your mileage.
  6. Read a (non-cycling) book.
  7. Set a monthly/annual gear spending limit.
  8. Don’t do more than 5 races a year.
  9. Ride with your significant other.
  10. Learn the names of your children

END

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Toenail tea

July 18, 2017 § 18 Comments

I had finished dinner and put my foot in a steel mixing bowl with a cup of vinegar and some baking soda, which foamed like a high school chemistry experiment gone awry. “What are you doing?” my son asked.

“Killing my toenail fungus,” I said.

“Yeccch,” he said. “How’d you get that?”

“Damp cycling feet,” I said.

Mrs. WM piped up. “Jitensha norisugi!” she said.

“Yep,” said my son. “Jitensha norisugi.”

This is Japanese and means “too much cycling.” Everything around my apartment is apparently the result of jitensha norisugi.

For example:

“I’m so tired.” Jitensha norisugi.

“My back hurts.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I’m not hungry.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I’m starving.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I’m broke.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I’m still living with my parents.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I’m unemployed.” Jitensha norisugi.

“My wife left me.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I left my wife.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I can’t sleep.” Jitensha norisugi.

“I overslept.” Jitensha norisugi.

“My balls hurt.” Jitensha norisugi.

Etc.

So I wasn’t surprised that my rotting toenails were chalked up to jitensha norisugi. I didn’t defend against the claim. After all, when I’d gotten up in the morning my big toenail, which is greenish brown, covered in white fungus, and thicker than a Trump voter had oozed a full teaspoon of dark smelly liquid out from around the cuticle. That couldn’t be healthy. And then the toe itself hurt a little bit.

“How bad your foot toe hurtin’?” Mrs. WM asked.

“Not too bad.”

“How onna bad is not too onna bad?”

“Tolerable,” I said.

“Scale of one to ten?” my son asked.

“Eight.”

“Shit,” he said.

So anyway there I was soaking my toe and watching a bunch of non-blood materials seep forth into the foaming vinegar-and-baking-soda brine, but I didn’t think any of it had to do with jitensha norisugi. I think the culprit was Raymond Fouquet.

He’s the dude who founded Velo Club LaGrange back in 1967 and two years later came up with the Nichols Ride, a Westside institution replete with Nurse Ratched and a lobotomy with all the trimmings. “Hey, dude,” Sausage had said. “We’re having a memorial ride for Raymond Fouquet to mark the second anniversary of the founding of Fouquet Square, why don’t you come?”

Never mind that “Fouquet” sounds a lot like “fucked” if you speak bad French, which I do, as in “You’re Fouquet on the Nichols Ride.”

“Is it gonna be mellow?” I  foolishly asked. “Because the last time I did that stupid ride I got obliterated and couldn’t stand for three days. It’s the worst ride in America.”

Sausage nodded sympathetically. “It was your off season that day when you got gapped out. This time it will be easy. We’re riding in Ray’s memory.”

It sounded vaguely like a complete fucking lie but Sausage has a bit of the snake charmer about him so I assented. The ride was huge; over a hundred idiots who thought they were going to make it over the Nichols Wall with the leaders, when the leaders consisted of people like Frexit, Moonstone, Storm, and five or six other small people built mainly of skin and held together by water and meat strings.

The pace at the bottom of Nichols was so torrid that I immediately melted and got dropped, later to be caught by Okie, Strava Jr., and a couple of other much better riders who had chosen to start slowly and pray for a stoplight.

Thanks to great luck we did in fact catch the leaders at a stop light; for the first time in the history of the Nichols Ride someone had actually obeyed a traffic signal. Naturally it was Frexit who hadn’t yet learned the traffic laws of street racing, a/k/a breakaway rules a/k/a pedal until you win or someone kills you.

I tucked in for a moment then jumped away, eliciting much hilarity, and was hunted down and squished, then caught and dropped by a dozen other people, then straggled in forty-ish minutes later to the Preen Point, where everyone sweated a lot and tried to look stylish while panting in ugly spandex clothes.

The point of this is that all of the sweating and heat and exertion caused massive liquid pooling in my shoes, which exacerbated my toenail rot, which led to the excruciating pain in the morning and toejam discharge, culminating in a vinegar foot bath.

You say jitensha norisugi.

I say I’m Fouquet.

toenail_tea

END

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Top three things a spouse hates about cycling

July 17, 2017 § 52 Comments

I got into another cycling-induced spousal skirmish after the Nichols Ride yesterday, and it occurred to me that other people’s relationships may also be negatively affected by their cycling habit.

I sent out a series of text messages to various people and came up with the following Top Three list of 72 things your spouse hates about cycling:

  1. Cycling.
  2. People who cycle.
  3. Cyclist parties.
  4. Bike shops.
  5. “Just going for a short spin.”
  6. “I’ll help clean up around the house after I get back.”
  7. Getting a ride in before dinner with (non-cycling) friends.
  8. 4-hour Saturday ride coma.
  9. 4-hour Sunday ride coma.
  10. Bike-related purchases.
  11. Your stupid bike diet.
  12. Your stupid race recap.
  13. Your stupid bike.
  14. The stupid parts on your stupid bike.
  15. Always being late.
  16. Eating all the food and then complaining about your weight.
  17. Your friends’ bloody, disfigured injury photos on Facebag.
  18. You can get up at 4:00 AM for your stupid ride but can’t get up at 6:00 AM for your stupid job.
  19. Your ass is smaller than his/hers. And tighter.
  20. Conversations beginning with “I was on a ride and …”, “I rode with … today and she …”, “On the ride this morning …”
  21. The phrase “I’m soooooo tired.”
  22. “When you gonna be back?” “Before noon for sure.”
  23. All conversations eventually lead to cycling.
  24. Those tires/wheels/shoes/parts/clothes cost how much?
  25. You’re hungry all the time.
  26. You eat all the time.
  27. You’re skinny all the time.
  28. You’re happy all the time.
  29. Gone all weekend. Every weekend.
  30. Cycling “vacations.”
  31. Race “spectating” a/k/a standing alone for hours in the raging heat with nothing to watch or do.
  32. Telling him/her about how the warranty went for your carbon wheelset that delaminated.
  33. Talking about bike repairs.
  34. Explaining how to swap cogs on a freehub.
  35. Dirty chamois on the carpet. Or worse, bed.
  36. Post-ride stink.
  37. Nasty water bottles in the sink.
  38. Sticky drink mix dribbled on the counter.
  39. Half-eaten BonkBreaker in the clothes drawer.
  40. Need a ride home from Malibu. You live in Long Beach.
  41. Ferocious, glass-cracking morning shits.
  42. Screaming 3:00 AM cramp sessions.
  43. Thick black chain grease on the guest hand towels.
  44. Farts you can measure on the Richter scale.
  45. Ride-induced erectile dysfunction.
  46. Cycling “art” on the walls.
  47. Your car garage is filled with bikes.
  48. The word “carbon.”
  49. Anything to do with Strava.
  50. Anything to do with watts.
  51. “Hey, honey, let me read you this post from my friend’s cycling blog. It’s hilarious!”
  52. Wound care.
  53. Phone calls from a hospital that begin with, “Is this Mr./Mrs. Johnson?”
  54. “My coach says …”
  55. n+1
  56. The Tour.
  57. The Giro.
  58. The Vuelta.
  59. The classics.
  60. Eddy Merckx.
  61. Your training plan.
  62. Explaining how to time trial.
  63. Why you didn’t win.
  64. Doping.
  65. How you got taken out.
  66. Who you dropped.
  67. Your PR.
  68. Hanging out with your weird cyclist friends.
  69. Your embarrassingly ugly outfits.
  70. Stupid jargon in your stupid bike stories.
  71. Indoor trainer puddles.
  72. Who you beat on Zwift.

END

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Everyone rides the Tour

July 16, 2017 § 11 Comments

It’s Turdy France time and everyone rides the Tour, as each group ride, for three short weeks, assumes the position of fake Turdy France stage. The Donut Ride was no exception, and it had been crowned the Fake Queen Donut Stage of the Fake South Bay Turdy France.

As with any fake Tour contender, I thought it meet to plan my strategy by picking the brain of ex-pro Phil Gaimon who, though he never actually rode the Tour, has read a lot of cool magazine articles about it. I’d heard that he was holding a book signing for his book “Ask a Pro,” and was also doing a sign-up for his yuge October Phil’s Fondue ride, so I sneaked into the book signing without an invitation.

“Hey, Phil!” I said as he was hunched over his stack of books, dutifully ginning out signatures like a pre-cryonics Ted Williams, while his manager hungrily eyed the sales receipts and swiped credit cards for the fondue registration.

“Yes?” he said.

“It’s me, Wanky! Yer ol’ pal. I had some questions I wanted to ask a pro.”

He pretended not to know who I was, which is what slightly famous people often do to cover up the fact that I’m actually more famous than they are. “Would you like to buy a book?” he asked.

“Nah,” I said.

“A grand fondue registration, perhaps?”

“Nope.”

He sighed. “How can I help you?”

“So you’re a pro, right? And you wrote a book called ‘Ask A Pro,’ right? Well, then. The Fake Queen Donut Stage of the South Bay Turdy France is tomorrow and I need some pro tips on how to ride it. So I thought I would ask a pro.”

Suddenly he got very busy but another guy who wasn’t a pro, and who didn’t really look like a pro, but who seemed more interested in me than the pro, chimed in. “Winning a fake queen stage? That’s easy,” he said.

“Really?”

“Sure. Don’t lose too much time. That’s the secret to stage racing.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes, and one other thing.”

“What’s that?”

“You know the guy in your group who always wins? Every group has one.”

“Sure. That’s Alx Bns.”

“Well, he’ll win the fake queen stage, too.”

I thought about this depressing little gem for a few seconds and how I’d been ripped off paying for it until I realized I hadn’t actually paid for it. I tapped on Phil’s shoulder. “Say, can you write up a quick training and diet plan for me while I’m here? I brought a few terabytes of power data I’d like you to analyze if you don’t mind. Since you’re already here, I mean.”

A few moments later Phil introduced me to a gentleman named Bouncer, kind of a weird name, who insisted on talking to me outside the event venue, onto the sidewalk, with my neck in a headlock. He didn’t know anything about winning queen stages, so I went home.

The next morning I got up to prepare for the queen stage. Preparation is key and I now had my mantra, courtesy of a guy standing next to pro Phil Gaimon. My mantra? DON’T LOSE TOO MUCH TIME.

I carefully went over each item of my Wanky Donut Gear. It is a high-tech bunch of stuff, loaded with lots of carbon that is 100% carbon plus everything is cutting edge and carbon. Speaking of cutting edge and carbon, Ms. WM and I got into it before I left because she was using my $500 carbon steel Japanese paring knife to scrape rust off the tea kettle.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I screamed.

“Itsa nasty gunkin’ so I’m cleanin it.”

“That’s my five hundred dollar paring knife!”

“Itsa cuttin good but not so good onna scrapin.”

“Of course it isn’t! It’s not a fucking scraper! You just ruined the blade!”

She was unimpressed and continued to scrape. In a sad panic I assembled the legendary Wanky Donut Gear. Below is an awesome fake Tour tech gallery that you can drool over. It is full carbon, all of it.

I rolled out of Chez Wanky, blood pressure still a tad high due to the ruined paring knife, and got to the sign-in area for the queen stage, which is the remodeled Riviera Village Sckubrats. A long time ago they named this part of Redondo Beach the “Riviera” because of the famed beaches and culture and high class of the French Riviera. I’m pretty sure they never actually saw the real Riviera before they bestowed the name, or they would never have called this run-down rat’s nest of beach huts and fake surfers the “Riviera,” but that’s another story.

This story is about not losing too much time and so one by one I quizzed my competitors about how they intended to strategify the stage. Each rider had a unique approach that centered on “don’t get dropped,” so I adopted that as my strategy, too. Only one rider, Englishman Alx Bns, had a different strategy, which was “drop everyone.” This bothered me a bit, but not nearly as much at the start as it did at the bottom of the Switchbacks, where he executed the strategy with the efficiency of Brexit. Okay, it was way more efficient than that, but equally ruthless.

Standouts included wet-behind-the-ears but stupid-strong-behind-the-legs Matthieu Brousseau, who despite his French-sounding name kicked almost everyone’s ass except Dan Cobley’s. My strategy of not losing too much time by not getting dropped (or gapped out as I prefer to call it), didn’t succeed too well. Towards the end I was passed by a fellow in a t-shirt and flip-flops who wasn’t even breathing hard. Thank dog it was my rest week.

But the really sad news is this. You remember Phil telling me about how the guy who was going to win was the guy who always wins? Dang it, that’s the guy who won.

PRE-RACE INTERVIEWS AT THE SIGN-IN FOR THE FAKE QUEEN DONUT STAGE

POST-RACE INTERVIEWS ATOP MT. SWITCHBACKS

 

END

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PV surf ride

July 15, 2017 § 24 Comments

The phone call was for 11:30, and I couldn’t be late.

“Hey, dad, let’s go for a quick ride!” my son said.

I bit my lip. I had to be back by 11:30. And “quick” wasn’t how he’d been riding. Two years off the bike and our first pedal together a couple of days ago … 14.8 miles in an hour and a half.

Still, father-son time beckoned. “Okay,” I said.

We jumped on our bikes and sailed down the hill.

He lagged as we whooshed down Silver Spur. It’s steep and quick, and although you never forget how to ride a bicycle, you do forget how to ride it downhill fast. We downhilled some more along PV Drive North, turned off onto the Flog route, and headed up by the golf course. It was a gorgeous morning.

I was starting to worry a bit about the time because we were going up the flog hill pretty slowly. How slowly? Some lady in a Big Orange kit came racing by and shouted “Damn Strava!” as she passed us.

“What did she say?” Hans asked.

“Damn Strava,” I said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I dunno. Maybe it’s her way of saying ‘I have to pass you like you’re chained to a stump because I’m after this QOM.'”

“Maybe it’s her way of saying ‘You guys suck.'”

“Could be,” I agreed.

We dropped down to the beach club. “Hey,” Hans said. “Let’s check out Haggerty’s!”

“The surf spot? There aren’t any waves today, I bet.”

“No,” he agreed. “But it’s gorgeous.” We got off our bikes and looked out over the bay. It was.

haggertys_pv

We took in the view until I realized we were not doing great on time. “Let’s go.” We left the church parking lot and started up the long grade, up towards The Cove.

As we reached The Cove, the second of PV’s big three surf spots, it was too beautiful not to pull over and take in the view. “You know,” I said, “all the times I’ve ridden up here I’ve never stopped.”

“Me, either,” said Hans. It was a postcard day.

Suddenly I was looking at my watch again. “Come on, let’s go.” We hopped on the bikes and pedaled lukewarm quickly until we came to the infamous Lunada Bay. There were no Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, or anywhere else that I could see. But Hans’s saddle was too low and needed some professional fiddling with. So I fiddled for a while until it was exactly sort of right. The place was deserted.

lunada_bay_pv

The fiddling took longer than I thought it would. “Come on,” I said. “Let’s go.”

We were going to pedal straight home but suddenly decided to go up the alley. It’s steep and fun. Well, steep anyway. Hans cussed a little. Later we passed the Skcubrats at Golden Cove. Hans had that covfefe look on his face. “Want to grab a quick one?” I asked.

“Sure!” he brightened. Inside the coffee shop a big dude walked over to the staff and held up his iPad. Never said a word. Stuck it in their faces to read while they mutely filled the order.

“Did that guy just order coffee without saying anything?” I said.

Hans nodded.

“I guess the ultimate goal of computing is almost here. You don’t even have to talk to people.”

“That’s not the ultimate goal,” Hans said.

“What is?”

“To replace them.”

We got coffee and were going to slam it and run but instead we sat outside and took in the view. “Just for a sec,” I said. There was a table of Chinese ladies and I tried to listen in.

“What are they saying?” Hans asked.

“Something about coffee,” I said.

He looked at me skeptically.

Somehow it took longer than I thought it would to drink that tiny cup of coffee. The Chinese ladies weren’t actually talking about coffee, it turned out, rather, they were talking about shopping. Or maybe about religion. With each attempt to interpret, Hans got more quizzical. Finally one of the ladies blurted out in perfect English, “You have to take charge of your life! You are the only one who can!”

“Let’s go,” I said.

We started up Hawthorne and it was taking forever. I was going to miss my phone call if we didn’t kill it. “Come on,” I said, speeding away from him.

“No, it’s okay,” he said. “Go on without me. I know the way home.”

It was a super beautiful day and we had been talking about Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory, and about the time I drove Pete Seeger from the airport in Amarillo to the hootinanny in Pampa for a performance, and how Pete had told me about coming to Pampa with Woody in the 1940s and how Woody had climbed a pumpjack. “He told me to follow him,” Pete had said, “but I wouldn’t. Woody was crazy.”

I slowed down and we kept talking.

We got home and I dashed into the bedroom where it was quiet and I could talk uninterrupted. I pulled out my phone and the calendar notification came on. I was an hour early.

END

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