20 May, 2009

I need a bike

I finally gave in and decided to buy a bike. This decision is something I had been struggling with for a while. When I first moved into this apartment in September I wanted to ship one of my bikes from home up here. Shipping a bike isn’t cheap though, and I had just blown the majority of my post-Europe savings on cheap Swedish furniture with names like ‘krĂ«fshael,’ which then took several days to assemble. Maybe the bed would have been put together correctly the first time if Dan and I hadn’t been drinking Wild Turkey, but it was a really mind-numbing process and we wanted to make it more exciting.

I thought about buying a bike when I got back to Boston after Christmas but my bank account was at an all time low. Once I started getting regular paychecks from my part-time job again I looked into getting a bike. I didn’t find any great deals and the prospect of riding in the snow and ice wasn’t very appealing. After my California trip I made up my mind; I was getting a fucking bike. I contacted a few people on craigslist before finally finding a bike at a price I wanted. After agreeing on the price I replied back asking when and where I could meet him. He promptly stopped responding. Disheartened, I once again gave up on the bike idea.

Until yesterday. It was in the mid-60s and sunny and I was pouring more money into the T to get to work. It made no sense. I wanted to be outside in the nice weather and I wanted to not give the MBTA any more of my money. I had also just lost gym access since Jeremy’s ID finally expired. Even though I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d stay in Boston, I decided that I had to have a bike. It would save me $10-15 per week and it would be my final ace in the long-running feud with the T. Never again would I have to deal with money being stolen by the ticket machines, long waits for trains and gates closing on my hand. I would finally win.

I started searching craigslist and the third ad I clicked on was for a guy selling over 20 bikes. I contacted him and Chuck told me that he used to buy bikes, fix them up and then re-sell them as a hobby. He had just injured his arm and decided to retire and was selling off his inventory. I could get a recently repaired road bike for $60! He was in a small town south of Framingham, but no problem, I had a Zip Car membership. I called Chuck after work and said I could be there in an hour.

I’m still not sure if my decision to drag Dan along with me was the best or worst thing I could have done. Google said it was a 45 minute drive and I figured he’d make good company and could act as a navigator. Both Google Maps and Chuck had advised to use country roads instead of I-90. Mapquest disagreed, but who was I to argue? Sure, Google Maps might have steered me wrong a few times in the past. There was that time I tried to go to South Padre Island and ended up in Mexico. And that time I tried to go to a concert in Austin and Google advised me to take a highway that didn’t exist on the opposite side of the city. But Chuck seemed like a good guy and obviously he knew the best way to get to his own house.

We made it to Wellesley before we took the first wrong turn. That one was my fault, but it was quickly realized and we doubled back and got on the right road. Dan wasn’t making it easy for me though. I like to know what the next several directions are so I can try and figure the route out in my head. He would only read them one at a time. If I insisted on reading further directions he’d begin to make things up.

“Ok, what do I do after I turn onto Route 16?”
“Don’t worry about that yet, just turn right onto 16.”
“Yeah, but what’s the next direction after that?”
“Hm. After that we take a left on Westland.”
“And then?”
“Then a right onto Hemenway.”
“Westland and then Hemenway. The streets right by our apartment.”
“I hate you.”

This led to a decent amount of confusion and several more wrong turns. We were driving through a forest, and while there were quite a few houses out there we didn’t encounter any towns. Dan called this “the suburbs.” I called it “the fucking middle of nowhere.” Still, I was excited to finally be getting a road bike and at an awesome price. I kept thinking about how awesome Craigslist is. Second try at buying a bike and I found a great deal. Sure, there was that BU student who was murdering girls he met on Craigslist a few weeks back, but they caught him and all was well. I was already thinking about going for a ride in the morning and then riding to work in the afternoon.

We made it to Chuck’s house in about 70 minutes, just as it was getting dark. Dan and I walked up and rang the doorbell. Chuck had warned me that he doesn’t always hear it and to call his phone if he didn’t answer. The doorbell was pretty loud but nobody came to the door so I tried his phone. We could hear the phone ringing inside, even louder than the doorbell. It rang and rang and then went to his answering machine. I heard his muffled voice on the machine through the door and on my phone. I tried knocking loudly on the door but there was still no answer.

Dan and I made jokes about how Chuck had lured us out here to kill us while we waited. We noticed another door off to the side and knocked on that door. I called several more times. After more than 20 minutes of waiting, calling and knocking we finally gave up. Fuck Chuck.

The drive back was even more confusing. The previous wrong turns, coupled with the darkness and Dan’s fake directions got me completely turned around. I had absolutely no idea where the hell we were but we somehow made our way back to Wellesley, and from there it was essentially a straight shot back to Huntington Avenue. The drive back went quicker but I still had to call and extend the Zip Car reservation. I returned to Boston bike-less, angry and hungry. Chuck has yet to respond to my email inquiring as to his absence last night. That guy owes me $30 and a bike.

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