It started raining today around noon, and I just have a sense that this is going to be one of our multi-day winter sprinkles during which it never rains all that hard but it doesn’t exactly ever stop for more than a few minutes, either.
I’d gone out on the Segway and got caught in it. And then since I was caught, got stubbornly into this not-going-to-let-a-little-rain-stop-me mode, and persisted in my errands.
But then I found myself over on Van Ness along about Eddy or so and getting seriously soaked. So OK, I think, I’ll just go back to the Castro the quickest way for my last couple of errands… well, the quickest way short of running back down Van Ness to Market.
Van Ness is downright Segway-hostile. In the first place, it’s populated by vehicles driven by folks who really don’t want to be on Van Ness and are concerned primarily with making their stay on it quick and dirty. And since there’s no way a stay on Van Ness is going to be quick, dirty is all that’s left. Quarter is alien to them.
To make it worse, much worse, the paving on Van Ness is full of irregularities quite sufficient to down a Segway, a calamity that would guarantee being run over by at least one vehicle….unless I were lucky enough to have the 42 Van Ness in my wake. See, trolley buses and streetcars sense that all of us electric vehicles must stick together against the snarling mob of smog-spewing beasts, and so we treat each other with elaborate courtesy…which is an enormous pleasure to get from a trolley bus. After you, my dear Alphonse.
So anyhow, I cut over to Gough, which sounds kinda counter-intuitive at first, I realize, but actually, the parking lane there is so wide that there is enough space left between the stripe and the parked cars to work very well as a “bicycle lane” even though it is not thus designated. And then as I cross Hayes I realize that this would sure be an excellent time to hook onto little Linden alley and check out the new outlet just opened by Blue Bottle – that splendid, over-the-top coffee stall at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – perhaps even taking shelter while sipping a warming, aromatic cup.
So I do. And get to be entertained as I sip by some really cold and unloving guy talk between the counterman and the customer who comes up immediately after me, an acquaintance who had dumped his girlfriend the night before … Valentine’s Eve.
I pity the women who fall into these men’s clutches, not that they were monstrously evil or anything but that they were just so utterly devoid of any flicker of kindness, compassion, or generosity because they are both very young, very handsome, very buffed, very articulate, and in general very moth-to-the-flame attractive; so at this point in their lives they can just use one woman after another and discard them like tissues.
And I’m not being soft-headed just because it’s Valentine’s Day. I think the problem is that I spent the past two days in the company of good women, and this has made me more sensitive. Hmmm. Maybe I should stay away from women for a few days to build back some callouses.
Not encouraged to linger over the coffee, I sip it as fast as I can and saddle up, so bummed out that I decide to just go straight home. Besides, it’s raining even harder, and not just in my heart. The inbound lane of Octavia is now open to Linden, so I cut down it for the short block to Fell, dodging the oncoming cars by darting between parked vehicles, and then I get over onto the two-lane outbound part of Octavia all the way to Market. It really is pleasant to ride on because it’s smooth as glass and also has almost no traffic since it runs only four blocks and hasn’t been Discovered as a shortcut.
I get behind the J Church as I’m going up my last block of Market to Noe and am tracked by a man and his little boy in the back seat. I entertain the kid by swinging wide right around the back end of the streetcar so it runs interference for me against a cowering SUV as we turn left. Twenty tons of streetcar performs this role splendidly.
Straight up Noe home.
Oh, and just to brighten things up, here’s a couple of pics taken after the sun came out. Yes, spring has sprung. Here’s R. officinalis:
and A. nobilis: