Just back from a quick trip to Block Buster to deliver 6 videos. Yes, I know you can get them delivered and order on line and download and all that stuff, but it would have removed the dark venture into the night of no traffic and a couple walking their dog.
So let me begin….
The leaves were dripping from the night rain as I separated the bikes on the porch. Resorting the order for the days ride.
Having finished an instant coffee with powdered cream and substitute sugar in the garden in North Carolina. Zip up the sweatshirt and walk to the end of the alley.
Now I have to make the first decision of the day. Should go the regular routine route or turn right and start backwards. A light mist fills the air as I map out the route of Patterson up past the library, then turn up Libbie, both hard climbs.
I turn left and started to get my breathing in tune with the bicycle.
Turn past the peace flag and breathe through my nose, the moisture sparkling on my sunglasses. I tighten up my blue windbreaker and get into the rhythm.
The streets are quiet as I turn onto Grove. A young woman jogs by wired to a listening device. The soundtrack for today is the rustle of spring leaves in the morning breeze. My favorite part of “Blow Up” was the quiet natural soundtrack. You don’t need earphones for that.
And there is a lot of traffic today. I slow then maneuver around a car quickly exiting a side street. She is in a hurry and eager to enter the traffic flow. What are you late for? She was not dress up for church. An almost frantic look peppered her face as her black hair framed the saga. Had she just commented a crime and I was a witness? After the steel silver vehicle sped off I continued my journey.
Another stop at the bottom of the hill to allow traffic to pass as I waited for passenger’s of a freshly parked mobile to be released from its frame. A young school aged girl exited the passenger’s side and stared at me as she swung a knapsack over her shoulder. She looked as she was ready to attend class, but this was Sunday.
Carefully around the dark shiny mass of metal checking the mirror to insure room from oncoming motion, I ascended the hill. Not too bad today. Maybe the cool weather stirred me on.
Then the decent to Patterson, gently breaking realizing I’m a bit wobbly today. Perhaps the late night clouds my balance.
10:53. Turning onto new black smooth payment I coast down the avenue glancing at signs and watching a woman fill her mobile machine at the pumping station. Pass vacant buildings with real estate signs offering space but no takers.
Down to the light, gently breaking again to dodge the manhole covers. The next hill isn’t bad either, though I have to duck under overhanging branches because the intense traffic leaves very little variation of my path. Up to the light at my starting point and stop to catch my breath and notice the misty rain has stopped.
Weaving in and out of park metal to allow the faster moving monster pass I keep pace.
Another stoplight. Another stop.
Down pass the church that opens on Saturday and another stoplight. I am not in the zone today.
Continue on and another stoplight. Since there is no rush I can stop and enjoy the scenery. Pass the new gardens by the fire station.
The ride by the school is flat and easy. The ceramic tiles on the roof remind me that all my schooling was made of tiles. I guess it was easier to clean.
Ride straight then left and right and up to another stoplight. Pause to check the people talking on the corner. They were dressed for the big brick church across the street, which I attended for many years until the politics got in the way. God can play some nasty deals.
Another stop at Robinson, and another chance for me to catch a view. The girl across the street in the little red vehicle waited impatiently as slow traffic impeded her movement. She looked at me in wonder as I spotted the difference of a detail on the face of the Robin Inn. Someone had carved some intricate details into the wood over the windows. But the left window was missing the internal carving probably due to birds. I stood listening to the motor machines putt their mechanics into the sky and looked north for the television tower. It wasn’t there. I had already passed it. Richmond’s own Eiffel tower, like on the morning fear feast of going up to the clouds. No thanks; I’ll stay on the bumpy ground ahead.
The light turns green and I bounce over ribbons of tar covering repairs to an age-old street as the passing confused vehicles give me little room. Bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bump up to Strawberry Street I bounce. What was it called before the “fan” got so chic with names and brown street signs? Three young men stroll across my path looking they were stepping out of a late night themselves. Knowing the position of each other they did not speak but attended to their parked vehicles.
Another stoplight. To my right a perfect spring view of the “fan”. Row houses with small flower gardens crunched in together to take advantage of every inch of space. Turn the opposite direction and see row houses with real estate signs lining up the yards. A sales opportunity or a sign of the economy?
Up pass the triangle plot and pass the normally singing church.
Next stoplight smelled of early morning cooking and coffee. The small shop had its doors open to release the cooking aromas to the world. Little cross traffic, but I waited for the green.
The children’s park was unoccupied, probably due to the dampness as I turn the corner and head west.
Another stoplight and another chance for me to view the row house described by a little lady as having a lot of painting and sex. It gave me pause.
Allowing traffic to make their decisions I push on.
Up pass the school where the principle had an affair with my first-wife.
And another stoplight breaks my concentration.
A black man in baggy jeans and backwards baseball cap saunters by. He is no particular hurry to go anywhere. Just rambling down Robinson.
The light changes and I slowly watch the dance of these metal monsters move in an awkward pattern as if searching for a direction. Over to the left and I watch a blond girl climb into a car. With the door opened she is searching for something. I recognize her for a previous trip but do not acknowledge her existence.
Another stoplight and I see two men walking by the abortion clinic. There are no protesters there, just two men, one in shorts and one in long trousers. Having a conversation and smiling with broad gestures. What they talking about? Was the conversation the game or race or television show or the river feast from the previous day or a pretty face? The people in the automobile waiting for the light to change take no notice.
I wait the traffic to clear the cross streets until I pass the museum, only to stop again to let more traffic pass.
Enjoying a smooth ride to the next stoplight, passing the young couple waiting on the confederate church porch. Were they waiting for a guided tour or just getting some of the Richmond history? I wonder why these places still exist and why does this town want to celebrate the slave trade next to a proposed baseball stadium with no team?
Up another block and whoa! Yet another impatient driver is shooting out from Tilden where I had witnessed a wreck on that night walking a dog. Swerve around and continue down the path to another stoplight.
A woman ran across the intermittent traffic flow as if in Times Square.
Taking another breathe I pushed pass that special romantic street and stopped at another light.
I paused and glanced at the Windsor where my brother said my grandfather died, but I don’t remember him coming to Richmond to die.
Another vehicle jumps out from a side street so I take the message and move inland to continue pass the huge RV and the house of trains. This slope is mild and the traffic has thinned out. Over the ridge and down to the Mercedes parked in the center of the street, its hooded driver facing a house from the sidewalk, hands on her butt. Turn right and pass the divided street.
Another black Mercedes was coming at me, so I turned up my street and avoided a confrontation. I noticed the manufactures of the silver, black, grey and blue metal machines sitting on either side of me. Toyotas, Volkswagens, Hyundai’s, Hondas and other foreign models stood in patient wait for their owners or lenders to come gas them up for another worthless waste of energy. When this neighborhood was constructed it was lined with Fords, Chevys, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs.
Then I remember the Quaker church on the corner is in session and these are the wagons of the quiet.
Up the slight hill and check the raised crooked name painted in red on the fence.
There is a truck parked out front. I’ll hear about that. It’s the owner of the abode doing some maintenance or checking for ants or whatever you do when you are paying for a vacant house. Big red sound on the door now says “For Sale by Owner”. Maybe I’ll buy it and put him out of my misery. It could be a home away from home. Ha! Might be better than living in a drafty shed?
So park the bike, eat the pasta salad, go to the grocery store, watch the “Big Blue” several times (man that’s a long movie), then type this stuff up.
See you later….