September 24, 2001
The Bay Area celebrated its first workday of autumn with one of its rare thunderstorms. Thunderstorms here are beautiful and warm and never end with a grade-school aged carolyn shivering in a Wisconsin basement while tornado sirens wail in the distance under a pea-green sky that sounds like a railroad train.
When I left for work this afternoon, it was partly cloudy, and I was in my summertime rut of never checking the weather for rain; I wasn't terribly surprised, however, when it started raining later in the evening. I was surprised by the thunder. Thunderstorms here are so rare that I can distincly remember where I was and what I was doing during most of the major ones. When we heard it start to thunder at work, my coworker Chris and I ran to the door, to find at least 10 other engineers huddled together outside on the concrete stairwell, staring at the sky as if they'd never noticed it before.
I love fall. I always have. I've written about this before, almost exactly one year ago, in fact. I worked late tonight, after coming in late and then skipping out to see an evening movie with a coworker. By the time I left Palo Alto, the thunder and rain had stopped. I rode home at a conservative average of 40mph, streetlights glistening off of the road, the smell of wet asphault all around, and lightning cutting across the sky like sideways icicles. It was absolutely glorious. If I would have had anywhere else to go, or hadn't been nearly out of gas in a neighborhood where the gas stations close at 10pm, I would have kept going past my apartment. I wanted to stay out on the streets, spraying water from my tires, watching the clouds and the trees and the cars and the lightning.
The odometer will hit 5600 miles on the SVS tomorrow. In 10 days, I'll have owned the bike for 8 months. That's an average of 731 miles a month. 183 miles a week. 26 miles a day.
A friend of mine was in an accident over the weekend. She's fine, aside from some broken bones and a concussion, and at last word, her bike was fixable. The first time I met Sara was in the parking lot of the hotel in Redding. She has a blue SV named Scrappy Doo, and she was the very first person I really talked to at the Ride-In. If it hadn't been for Sara, I probably wouldn't have started going to the local Women on Wheels meetings. I felt a huge knot in my stomach when I read the accident report email yesterday and realized who it was talking about, and I've really never appreciated any email so much as I did the one that Sara sent out last night saying that she was OK and was home from the hospital.