Friday, April 24, 2009

Empirical Evidence

Not every ride has to be epic, especially if you cruise through a vast industrial wasteland on a man-made island formed initially by cargo ships discharging their ballast at anchor, and hang out in a deserted public “park” wondering whether the attendants manning the tower in the massive swinging drawbridge above really do spy on people from their overhead perches.

So even though we almost certainly rode fewer miles than we drank pitchers of beer, I, for one, had no complaints—other than, early in the night, as we rolled down Second Avenue when, just as three or four of us were sidling along a few cars as we closed the gap to the back of the pack, this fucker in his Mini Cooper Clubman lawnmower swerved right at me, so suddenly and blatantly I had to chalk it up to stupidity and cluelessness rather than anger and maliciousness else I’d lose all faith in humanity, even those who lock themselves in metal boxes on such a lovely spring evening.

But every ride has to have a moment, like this, when we proved that yes, the bridge attendants are watching, and here’s how: at the bottom of the bikeway leading across to West Seattle, the gang pulls apart, one contingent wanting to take the direct way to Georgetown, the other looking to add a few miles the long way around over the Duwamish. The latter pack forms raggedly, trying to convince the former to follow with cries of “Nine Pound Hammer!” the destination all are in serious agreement about.

As we’re climbing the initial rise, heads turned, urging our fellows to follow, the bridge attendants must be taking it all in because at the very second the first of our group is about to cross onto the center section of the drawbridge, the gates come down, blocking our way.

At that moment, the attendants had to be laughing at us, but not as much as we were.