I listen to the hissing, howling sound of steel wheels on steel track and lean my head against the cool glass of the rain streaked window. Unabashedly I watch the seated people sway in unison with the not-so-gentle sideways rocking of the transit train. All of them, like me, sit in silence and wait for their stop. All of them hope for the end of their journey. Some of them read or listen to headsets to pass the time, but all of them, when I can see their faces, have the same look in their eyes. There is no enjoyment here. They, like me, have been reduced to simple endurance.
This is no way to travel.
Shortly the depressing atmosphere becomes too much and I turn my head to stare out at the rain drenched world speeding by. Blustery and wet, it is barely visible in the dingy predawn light. The view helps some, as I can at least dream.
Flying, free, alive!
I’ve been told a man should know his limits. Or, at least, a man should know the limits of those around him. This morning dawned cold and wet, with constant rain flooding the streets and reducing visibility. The TV predicited no end in sight, and also began reporting dire traffic conditions caused by accidents and water on the road.
I glanced at the big Valkyrie cruiser in the garage and sighed. She is certainly capable of handling such conditions, as am I (we have cheerfully ridden in much worse) but today was not to be. I simply needed to commute into work and didn’t feel like dodging the errant cars and incompetent drivers that were already clogging the freeways. I was more worried about one of them not coping properly with the conditions and taking me out, than I was of running into something I couldn’t handle on my own. The drivers here can be frantic and distracted. My wife had been looking strained anyway as I reached for my leather jacket. She never says anything, but I know she worries nonetheless. A man should know his limits. I looked in her eyes and hung the jacket back up. Today I would take the train.
I hopped in “Big Iron”, my truck, and breathed a sigh of relief that it actually started. I noted that the inspection sticker had expired three months ago and promised myself that I would drive it more often. I guess I’m supposed to start those cage thingies every once and a while. A quick trip to the train station, and a half-mile slog through the rain brought me to the southbound platform, drenched despite my umbrella.
Forty minutes later I was still leaning my head against the cool glass, listening to the hissing of the wheels and staring longingly out the window at the cold, wet, wind-swept world. I had lost my annoyance at the water leaking around the window seal and dripping on my legs and was just hoping for this ride to finally end. Funny, had I been on the motorcycle, I would have arrived twenty minutes earlier and been disappointed that it had ended so quickly despite the nasty weather. Odd, how experience colors the world.
At my station, I had to cross the tracks to head toward my destination, and I involuntarily stopped on the northbound platform. It took me fully five minutes to suppress the irrational and nearly overwhelming urge to catch the next north-bounder and go back and get my bike. Resolve set in and I decided that in the future nothing short of an ice storm would keep me from riding when I was in the mood.
Yes, a man should know his limits. I guess I just found one of mine.
I listen to the hissing, howling sound of steel wheels on steel track and watch the seated people. All of them, when I can see their faces, have the same look in their eyes. There is no enjoyment here. They, like me, have been reduced to simple endurance.
Simple endurance. Yah. This is no way to travel.
Life is a road…