St Packrat at home in the hills and in the dumpster
Decent day for pedaling, provender, and even a little pathos.
Began at noon with a 35 mile (mountainous) loop on road bike,back side of Tam (Bolinas Fairfax Rd past Alpine Lake onto Ridgecrest, famous (alas) for car commercials– there are a dozen sexy s-turns with clean double yellow stripes, winding through peroxide-blond oatgrass hillocks.
!Zero cars on the ridge! The crest is a six mile ascending stretch about 2000 ft above sea, visible wa-a-a-y down to my right. On the hills between me an the beach lies a single line of huge boulders, placed there by a cosmic baker with very few raisins left for this loaf. Spectacularly good weather: cool but sunny with autumn breeze. Thinking of Scotland, how it’s already rainy there again…and wondering: could I live in a wet country? Would I ride as much?
I used to be so good at blowy, cold races because San Francisco is so cold all summer long, plus I noticed my competitors all but gave up before the start gun, just from fear of crashing. I learned to pretend I liked hard driving rain. Damn if it didn’t work.
Back to reality…I’m fifty two yrs old. I don’t have to pretend anything. Oh, wait. Ahead here are two lycra clad fellows (matching outfits, but hairy legs!). I draw closer and closer as I top each little rise until…I pass them, hello’ing and hoping they don’t want to talk. I am sure they wonder why I had a tool belt tied around my waist and a bulging backpack, but they don’t match pace and they say nothing. Do men call each other the night before, asking what they’ll be wearing?
“I’m thinking of going with the US Postal, with the blue and white socks, silver shoes. What about you?”
At least this is how it looks to an outsider. Whole bunches of riders in perfect sartorial harmony.
I acted mulishly because I was hauling a few day’s worth of prepared supper and some fresh pineapple to Charlie’s mom . ..who got her first peek at my blog today. She stars in at least three posts now; so much for discretion and dotage. Whoops, wrong word. Nothing feeble about the ever-creative printer at Sunflower Press in Meal Valley, USA. We figured out a way for it to go “RSS” onto her email and maybe this will show up in black letters on the white screen. She hates the black, and verily on her machine it doesn’t look so good. I like it on mine though.
Afterward I zoomed into Meal Valley proper, and over the hill to the Ross Valley, where a special dumpster with my name all over it yielded great booty for me on this particular day.
First I spotted the perfect mango. Grabbed it, and lay it in the back pack. Lately I’ve begun carefully loading rather than sorting good stuff and loading at the end because the last few trips I’ve been spotted, and even once had a bit of a tug-of-war with a young fellow (clearly retarded) who could only say No! NO! and yanked the bag full of bread from my arms…I watched with chagrin as he pushed six loaves of artisan bread into the trash compactor. Michael Ismerio was with me that time (my first double-dive, he fully approved, Gottseidank).
Just as I was congratulating myself on a killer haul, I heard a young, high voice saying “Hello! Hello?” . It was a bagger, carefully rounding the corner I was hiding in. Damnnnnnnn . Overhead, Blue Angels (boo, hiss) scream by in close formation. When they pass, the kid’s saying, “What are you doing there?”
He made a face. “It’s not very good”
I wanted to say, “here, taste this!” but there is no way a teenager earning a little pocket money is going to touch what is tainted by being stacked in a box out of doors all day.
“How about if I disappear?” I ask.
“OK” he says.
And I do. The pack already has: mushrooms, mango, english mufffins, both plain and raisin, and three perfectly intact, cello-wrapped packets of party napkins with a big blue rodent grinning on them….RATATOUILLE! I canna wait to mail one of them to Lynne Gurnee, the ‘liz dexic ratist” of Eurka CA. She’s even more into rats than I.