May 21, 2002
Sunday In The Rain With Secra

"Are you sure you guys don't want a ride home?" Bitter Hag asks us worriedly. "I could load your bikes into the back of my truck and drive you to your apartment." Twenty feet from where we sit, outside Noah's Bagels at South Shore Mall, the typhoon rages on unabated.

I look at David. David looks at me. We could be home -- and in a hot shower -- in five minutes.

"No thanks," I tell The Hag reluctantly ... casting one last longing glance in the direction of her (warm/dry/incredibly comfy) truck. "I think we'll be OK." And as the other BOOBS look on in admiration -- or is it disbelief? -- David and I wring out our bike gloves, zip up our sopping-wet jackets and strap into our helmets for the long, cold, soggy ride home.

It's a tough job, being a living legend ... but somebody's got to do it.

i'm the one with helmet hair
olivia, bev, secra, bitter hag

The first unofficial gathering of the BOOBs (Babes on Outrageous Bikes) turned out to be a lot chillier, a lot damper and a lot more abbreviated than any of us had anticipated, I think.

David and I were ten miles into our Sunday morning ride when the rainstorm blindsided us. We'd gone three-quarters of the way around Bay Farm Island already and were exploring the new still unopened stretch of road, running next to the Oakland Airport, when the sky simply opened up and dumped on us. It was incredible. One minute we were riding along, perfectly dry and warm and happy-go-lucky: the next minute, instant baptism. By the time we got to the mall, where we were due to meet the other BOOBs -- Bev, Bev's friend Olivia, and Bitter Hag (newest BOOB Mopie sent a raincheck: no pun intended) -- we were soaked to the skin and freezing our Spandex off.  

(The matching buttercup yellow windbreakers, we have discovered, offer limitless protection from wind, fog, UV rays, insects and unwanted attention from members of the opposite sex, but are essentially useless in rain.)

Still, it's been very pleasant sitting here shivering over scones and coffee, chattering with my fellow BOOBs. (Although most of the 'chattering' coming out of *me* for the past forty minutes has been the chattering of my teeth.)  We've talked about bicycle seats, and about the current round of Diarist Awards, and about good places in Northern California for two moderately-experienced/technically-still-newlywed bicyclists to go on their first romantic overnight ride this summer. After a while, I've begun to realize that I no longer have any feeling left in my fingers, in the tip of my nose, in my left buttocks. Under the table, I surreptitiously nudge David with my foot -- at least, I think it's David: my foot is so numb that I could be connecting with the table leg and I'll never know the difference -- to indicate that it's time to leave. I want to go home and jump into a hot shower, a hot mug of Fast Lane Tea and a dry pair of Happy Pants, more or less in that order. So we say our goodbyes, all around, with promises to get together and do more than TALK about riding, at the very first opportunity. Then, as the other BOOBS look on in amazement -- or is it pity? -- David and I mount our bikes and pedal off into the rainstorm in a blaze of proud, robust, athletic glory.

Of course as soon as we are around the corner -- out of view/out of earshot of the other BOOBs -- I grind to a halt.

"I d-d-don't think I can d-d-do this," I whimper. The wind is slicing through my soaking wet jacket like a meat cleaver through Cool Whip. Ten more minutes of this and I'll be fully cryogenic-compliant.

"What do you want to do?" David asks.

I stand there at the four-way stop, momentarily wracked with indecision. I don't knooooow what I want to do. Lately it seems as though my life -- not to mention my journal -- have turned into one epic bike-related struggle after another. Secra Does Battle With The Moraga Hill. Secra Does Battle With 40 Mile-Per-Hour Winds. Secra Does Battle With The *Good Morning* People. Secra Does Battle With Bugs/Heatstroke/Helmet Hair/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/Her Stoopid Toe-Clips.

Now it looks like it's going to be Secra Does Battle With A Typhoon.

Or ... not.

The way I see it, I have three choices: I can shelter here in front of the Alameda Post Office for the next twenty minutes, while David rides home, gets the Subaru and comes back to rescue me ... which will make me feel like a complete and utter weenie. Or I can turn around, go back to the mall and take Bitter Hag up on her offer ... which will make me feel like an even BIGGER complete and utter weenie.

Or I can suck it up and do twenty minutes' worth of rain riding.

"L-L-Let's go," I say to David. And I wipe the rain off my glasses again, lean forward into the squall and begin pedalling like mad.

Insanity. It's a tough job ... but someone's got to do it.

can you say 'scotchguard'?
secra earns her *stripes*

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

did the days drag by? did the favours wane?
did he roam down the town all the time?