I took the old (new) bike out for its maiden voyage today just after dawn. Not a soul on the road, which was how I liked it. Other than the rear derailleur sounding like a reject from the snare-drummer corps, the thing ran smoothly. (Hmm, add in a front disk brake that rubbed slightly. And a tire-stem that needed a new plastic cap…)
I found myself riding through residential neighborhood after neighborhood standing tall at each intersection with my head on a swivel. It has been more than a decade since I worked as a bike messenger and a sleepy San Dog suburb is no Broadway Ave, but self-preservation dies hard.
I pulled up to the hippie coffee joint in my hood (we’ve three major ones, along with Starbucks and Panera) and grabbed an ice coffee. The coffee guy had a quote on his shirt that said: Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. I would have guessed Che, but it turns out (when I just looked it up) some naval officer named John F. Kennedy had said it. Hmpfff.
At the coffeehouse, as I sipped my iced nectar, I thought of millionaires. There was a banker type in the place with me, so perhaps that stirred my thoughts. And I had just discovered a friend from college makes two million dollars a year. He had incredible common sense, but was pretty quiet. If you’ve ever heard the term, work within yourself, that would describe him. He is now the general counsel for some San Fran internet corp which I’ve never heard of. I’m happy for him, but would not trade places for all the money in the world, which he apparently has. Being a lawyer sounds like onerous (boringly hellish) work. I was surprised his company publicized salaries, but for that matter, so does the military.
I also thought of my college roommate who bragged to me about some big LA deal he had closed in real estate a couple of years ago. He happened to catch me when I was driving home from some briefing I had given down in Norfolk at the Amphib Base (that involved SEALs and Marines.) So I shared that with him and despite him making
ten fifteen times more money, I had the far more interesting story. I was not trying to trump him, but I did.
As for my bike ride, I road home, gasping for the last part of the uphill trip. No matter how hard I run, I can’t get my lungs to work hard. (My legs hurt before I even start breathing all that mightily.) But cycling’s ‘nother matter. And I paid the piper today. I may not be a millionaire, but I love life and being a Sailor in the world’s finest Navy could not be better.