PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

September 13th, 2005

Funny Gecko

My buddy J has been in Southeast Asia, doing whatever it is that he does on behalf of our Uncle Sam. I recently got the following email from him:

I shall be making my way back across the globe this week and land, once again, in PDX. Thanks to God and the US Army I have whole new batch of tales of squalor and depradation to tell. I can tell you now that you want nothing to do with these islands. The weather here is hotter, and wetter, than monkey piss. I nearly got heat stroke the other day waiting for 3 hours in the morning for our brothers in the Marine Corps to show up with their magical airplane so that we could jump. They never did. I have eaten something. I think it was dog. To tell the truth I don’t want to know. It had very thin ribs and very tough meat. I have seen spiders that, while not technically related to tarantulas, could pass for them. I have been amused by omnipresent geckos. They amuse so much more when they run up your leg at the fly infested restaurant where you are taking your repast. While you are wearing shorts. Funny funny gecko.

September 13th, 2005


I rode in to work again yesterday. It was cold enough that I broke out the full-fingered gloves and my cycling shell. I heard at least one forecaster say that last Friday was our last really warm day of the year. So far, he’s right. I may have to get my Polartec tights out before the end of the month.

In a burst of bravado (foolishness) I went home via Terwilliger last night. It still kicked my butt, BUT I didn’t have to stop and rest. I still got passed by a bunch of folks, and I suspect that will not change.

I have noticed that when you ride a bike a lot, you begin to drive your car differently. As a cyclist, the hyperawareness that you have to have of what traffic is doing carries over when you drive a car. You find yourself making eye contact with other drivers, checking for turn signals, and looking for potholes. For me, it highlights how brain-dead I usually am while driving.

Today, however, I drove my car. On the way in I glanced in my rear view mirror, and noticed the guy behind me was following pretty closely on my tail. What’s more, he was looking fixedly into HIS rear view mirror. I find this very unnerving. If you’re going 40 mph just behind my rear bumper, you should at least be keeping an eye on me. I thought how no cyclist would ever get caught powering down the street looking only behind them. Then, as I contined to stare at him, staring in his rearview, I realized crap, he’s got ME doing the same thing! I could envision a chain of vehicles, like a conga line, snaking down Barbur, each of us transfixed by the sight of the driver behind us staring in his mirror, transfixed by the sight of the driver behind him staring in his mirror, etc., etc.


Last night the children informed us that they wanted to give us a show. They prepared a sign advertising the “Happy Hopping Hamsters” at 9:05 and locked us out of the living room. I’d been fighting a headache all evening, and although I tried to be good-natured about it, I really wasn’t in the mood.

But at 9:05, they ushered us into the living room, served us ice water, and explained which key to push on my daughter’s little electronic keyboard to start the music. They were wearing fur vests from the dress-up bin, and my daughter had made buck teeth out of white paper. My wife pressed the appropriate button, and some tinny music started playing.

The two of them had prepared an Honest-To-God choreographed routine to the music. They danced around each other, clapped hands, and squealed like rodents. It was adorable, and far more sophisticated than I would have expected. They never cease to surprise me.