Scoot Commute

What a crappy, crappy, crappy commute

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute, Pants by sbahn on 2009/07/31

Today is Friday and I was going to ride the Vespa (doesn’t Vespa mean Friday?). As I lie in bed listening to Bob Seay give the harsh weather forecast, I thought for a moment I might take the Buddy as it’s supposed to be torrential downpours. But then I remember the Buddy was parked behind the neighbor’s Pamplona and did I really want to do all that rearranging in the garage simply to avoid having to shift in the rain?

I pulled the Vespa out of the garage, turned it on, turned the kill switch to off, pulled out the choke, and proceeded to kick. Nothing. Did that a few more times. Nothing. Pushed the choke in, took off my jacket, kick, kick, kick…I sorta hear something but still no bzzzz-grrrrr-putt-putt. Pull the choke out, kick, kick, kick. Nothing. Sweating. It’s hot. It’s humid. I have an appointment at 9am.

Forget this, the Pamplona is out, I have my Buddy keys, I have to get to work now. I push the Vespa back into the garage and take my messenger bag and Joe Rocket Ballistics out of the P’s milkcrate and move them into the Buddy’s milkcrate. I secure the crate with one measly bungee. (The P had the cargo net on it.) I keep repeating to myself, “Don’t forget to grab your wallet and Rain-offs out of the glovebox on the Vespa before you leave.”

I roll the Buddy out and start it by pressing a button. Ahh, how I love electric start. I get off to grab my helmet and gloves and lock up the garage. I zoom out of the driveway because now I’m about 5 minutes behind schedule and, again, I have a nine o’clock appointment.

I turn onto Broad, then Friendship. I’m about halfway down Friendship and think, “oh shit, my Rain-offs and wallet are in the Vespa’s glovebox.” I don’t mind riding without my wallet, but my Rain-offs? I hesitate, and then take the next left and then, again, a left onto Pine Street. I hit the big pothole on Pine because, honestly, I was no longer paying attention to riding. I always cut to the right on that section of the street, but not today. I headed straight for it…bang!

I get back to the garage, pluck my wallet and Rain-offs from the clutches of the Vespa’s glovebox, and then head out again like a demon. I have got to get to campus.

I take my usual route, going around the moving detour on Dean Street (it’s a game…which section will be blocked off today?), and pull into campus. I get off the scoot and begin to pull off my gloves. As I turn toward the back of the scoot, I look into my milkcrate and only see my orange bag. Where are my pants? Did I leave them in the garage? No, I remember when I switched from the Vespa to the Buddy, I took the bag out first, then the pants as I had put them on the bottom of the Vespa’s crate. Then I put the bag into the Buddy’s crate, and then layered the pants on top. Pull the white bungee, viola. Now where are they? I turn toward the guard station. Nothing. I utter a few choice words. I have got to get to my office to meet someone for 9.

As I race up the steps to my building, and then up the four sets of stairs once inside, I rush into my office and pick up the phone. I pant into the receiver, “Please, my pants are gone. I need you to retrace my route. Check the garage first. It’s going to rain. I need them.” I barely let Erik get a word in…”I have someone coming at 9″, I bleated, as I watched the clock roll over from 8:59 to 9:00.

After my meeting I ran back up to my office. No IM. No email. No voicemail. I picked up the phone and called home. Erik sadly informed me that he had come all the way to school and back and found nothing. “Ok,” I barked, “I’m leaving now.” It was about 11:30.

I get on the scoot and head back towards home. There are a few drops here and there, but no real rain yet. I retrace my route, including riding down Pine Street. There are A LOT of people hanging out on Pine along the section I had cut through. The lunch crowd is sitting at the many picnic tables strewn about behind Amos House. There’s a pair of black jeans tossed on the sidewalk. A guy on a bicycle with something crumpled bungeed to his back rack. But no pants. I thought to myself that I should stop and ask any of the assembled strung-out homeless guys and/or blue-capped drug dealers if they had found a pair of heavy black pants with armour in the knees and hips. But the wild eyes always turn me off so I continued to head back home.

I pulled into the driveway (what is this, the fourth, fifth time today?!) and Erik yells out from the second floor bathroom window where he is painting the ceiling that had been installed after the original one collapsed into the tub. “Any luck?” he shouted. I shook my helmeted head. I hurriedly opened the garage lock thinking, “of course you left them slung over the BMW”, but alas, the seat was propped open and Erik had put a charger on said BMW’s battery. I scanned the dark interior, looking over each bike, hoping against hope that the pants had installed themselves on the Honda 350 stuck in the corner. Nothing.

Walking back over to our house, I pointed to the hi-viz-clad Providence Water worker. I said to Erik, “Give me a minute and I will totally out-hi-viz this guy. Hi-viz slapdown in the ‘hood!” I was trying to have some semblance of a sense of humor.

If you see a homeless person in South Providence wearing black, armoured motorcycle pants, would you let me know?

If you see a homeless person in South Providence wearing black, armoured motorcycle pants, would you let me know?

Once in the house, I marched to the back and grabbed my old, green vinyl rainpants out of the Land of Misfit Motorcycle Gear bin and, after removing my boots, pulled them up my legs. I put my boots on again, and switched my jacket out for the Olympia. I figured, if I’m going to be miserable wrapped up in plastic pants, might as well go the whole way and sweat in my only truly rainproof riding jacket.

What a I sight I must make. I head out, once again, to work. I didn’t put my Rain-offs on as it hadn’t started raining. By the time I got to the end of Friendship, it had, so I pulled over and donned my waterproof overgloves.

As I’m sitting at the light at Crossroads (where there are now two scooters parked in the bike rack), I feel drip-drip-drip down into my left boot. Grrrr, that’s why I got proper riding pants in the first place. I stand up and try to yank the pants down to about my hips so they’ll be long enough when I’m sitting on the scoot. My jacket is 3/4 length so I’m not worried about my butt getting wet.

At the next few stops, I only put my left foot down, leaning the bike to the left to try to stop the dripping. It is truly lashing by this time, and the guy behind me still refuses to put his lights on. He finally turns so I now have no one behind me and can take it easy the rest of the way to campus. Naturally I’m still scanning, scanning, scanning the roadways looking for my pants.

I pull up into my spot on campus and it’s raining so hard that I decide to keep my helmet on for the walk to my office.  There’s no one really around, and really, if I cared about what other people thought of how I looked, I wouldn’t be sporting the AST in hi-viz.

Now I still 1) have to get home, and 2) figure out what I’m going to do about riding pants!


One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] This is the second item that has bounced out of that crate (see What a crappy, crappy, crappy commute). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: