When writing slices, I get unexpected mileage -- pun definitely intended -- from commuting stories. In fact, my inner therapist speculates that I purposely convolute my trips to work for the express -- pun not intended that time -- purpose of having stories to tell. Here's what happened yesterday at sunrise...
For the first day back to school after spring break, I set off from home by electric bicycle. After my two-wheeled steed had been sedentary for winter's long stretch of months, opportunity was calling. The line went dead six miles later when I heard a loud pop. I felt the back of the bike start to wiggle, followed by a sound not unlike trying to tie a knot in a stubborn balloon, a kind of stretchy, floppy, rubbery assault on the senses.
I knew the drill. I even thought I was prepared for it, my hand reaching into my pannier for a bag with a spare tube, tire irons, and pump. Only, there was no spare tube. The last one had fixed some prior flat, long forgotten, and past-me had procrastinated on the responsible resupplying that would've gotten present-me out of my present jam.
I walked a few steps west, back toward home, awkwardly pushing my hobbled horse. "That's a stupid idea," I told myself, dismissing the impulsive goal of returning home since I was equidistant to school. Even as I considered whom I could call, my mind was zooming over a mental map for self-sufficient alternatives. It didn't take long, which I chalk up to prior experience with commuting puzzles.
A fraction of a mile east, I'd reach an intersection where I could catch a transit bus that would drop me an actually walkable distance from school. I locked my bike to a nearby fence and started jogging east, not sure when the next bus would pass my way. Best to find out at the bus stop, I figured. In fewer than 10 minutes, I reached the stop where I could check the schedule on my phone. I only had about five more minutes to wait. Thanks, fate.
Fast forward to the return journey: A bus brought me home. Despite my commuting quirks, I do have access to an automobile, which I drove back to where I parked my bike. Still where I left it, the bike could be rolled to my 'mobile, wheel-barrow-style on its intact front tire. Then, I had to take off both wheels in order to fit the bike in my car. That's when I saw the nail in the back tire, a nail big enough to end a vampire's life if my tire were his heart. By dinnertime, my car and most of my bike were safely stored, and the rear wheel was sitting in my apartment waiting for future-me to purchase a new tube