November 10th, 2017


Mama said there'd be days like this

1 a.m. bedtime, 7:30 a.m. text, 'am sick, can you be me at 9?' Why yes, sure. Roads were clear after the evening flurries, and if I double bag everything ('cause it's -19C with the windchill: that's silly cold in Fahrenheit whichever way you slice it) I'll be fine. Open bedroom curtain and see snow-covered street. ACK! So no time for breakfast. Into several layers of everything, plus boots, and knee at once complaining about it, oh dear oh dear, how shall I manage the rush hour transit miseries?

Look again. Sidewalk is visible, maybe main streets will be bikable, and it will certainly be gone by sunny day's end. So manhandle bike down steps and coast down the patchy sidewalk where huge drifts of newly fallen leaves are more of a hindrance than the snow. And onto the street where it goes one way south, reach the road east, brake at stop sign, and--- back brake has frozen. So I toddle along veeerrry slowly, using the front brake at need, the one that makes the wheel rub when used, is why I never use it. And for once the Bloor bike lanes are empty of muscle warriors *and* have been salted, so I arrive at work in one piece and early.

Our numbers are down, I cancel the lunch shift, and bike over to the nearest bike shop, November empty. Mechanic looks at bike. 'Your front tire...' My front tire is fraying at the rims, is the only way I can put it, and was supposed to be replaced in August 2016. Canny mechanic offers to dry my brake housings for free if I get a new tire and tube, and to have it all done in an hour. I give him an hour and twenty, and he's just finishing up when I come back. So a fast ninety bucks later and I'm set to go. Non-puncture tires have gone up ten dollars since 2010, and there's sales tax and labour as well, but I am resigned to these inevitable expenses. And much more concerned about my knees' continuing quarrel with the boots they liked so much two years ago. Ah well. I shall hope for a dry winter after this early start.