I had a flat tire on my bike today. I knew I was in for trouble as I biked in to work in the morning, just no time to address the issue. It happened while I was living my life, teaching, meeting the two TAs.
Too proud, my bike, she falls apart in private. Lets all the air out of her back inner-tube.
I'm standing at the bike rack. Now, the rain is more than a mist, and it is a bit cool. My high heels (I anticipated biking rather than walking anywhere) and the cold rain rule out walking the bike to the shop.
I called my friend, C. She is very nice and picked me up with her enormous SUV and drove me to see the lunatic at his bike shop. My plan is to leave the bike with the lunatic, ride home in C's warm and dry SUV, and return for my bike tomorrow, when I will be calm, potentially, and the problem of the flat tire will be in correct proportion.
There is the part of the story that involves C and me lifting my commuter bike in the back of her SUV and it is funny because it took many tries and lots of repositioning. The scene is probably best re-created by a bystander. Why do I say that? Because there were a few, and none offered to help, or even pay us for the theater performance.
On to the lunatic's bike shop, I drag the bike out of the SUV and push it into the shop. Brief greeting, ask if he has time to fix my flat. Yes, and I ask if I can pick it up tomorrow. No. Ok. It will take five minutes. I return to the car to talk to C. Can she wait? She can. I told you she is nice.
Return to the lunatic, who shows me the earring that derailed my day. I have to write the edits on a dissertation, and there is no time for punctured inner tubes in the world of graduate students who are 10 days out from defending a dissertation and teaching a large enrollment course at a Big 10 University. Lunatic is the word that came to mind for the bike store owner, and I'll have to write more about him in another blog entry. I have to create a separate entry for him. I didn't expect that, because his work, such as bike assembly, looks so good. But then I have to turn back to the shop after riding for 30 min because I hear fender scraping. We discover he had successfully re-positioned the rear flashing red light so it is more visible placed on fender than it was at the back of the seat. Yet, in the process, the part that had connected the fender to the bike is sitting in the right spot on the fender, but not screwed into the bike. It really isn't his work that makes him lunatic, it is the store and his mannerisms.
Lunatic shows me the earring, and we laugh. A strange looking earring, isn't it? And we discuss an earring puncturing a tire tube is odd. It's all gonna be ok, just a punctured tube, isn't it?
We try to put the bike in C's SUV, and we can't get it in. But we can get some dirt on the back seat. I suggest I bike home instead. Yes, it is raining, so C protests. I point out that I'm headed home, which will be a 5 minute trip. I can immediately dry off and recover with my sweats. C drives away in her SUV, and I pedal my bike a few feet. I hear scraping sounds from the rear fender, I turn around, back to the shop, lunatic realigns his work, as per usual.
It's a punctured tube. An earring can't derail it. The dissertation will come to an end. I'll enjoy the last sentences.