Thursday, October 20, 2011
The Unexpected, (expect)
Now it's a boomerang to West Virginia. One day up, one there, one back. Like someone tied a rubber inntertube to the back of my belt, put a stake in the ground in Chattanooga, and told me to run. When you get the rabbit in your blood, improvisation works better than planning. Glad it didn't go smoothly.
I popped a throttle cable at 75, winding it up on a strip of federal shipping lane on the state line. Just so you're clear, the Interstate Highway system only qualifies as road in a few places. When they started making bikes for it, we got all our metal covered with plastic. Because at around 75, the wind feels great when you're alone, poor when you're in the slipstream of an eighteen wheeler. Once a mile.
Decided to do surgery roadside, stashed gear in the woods, ended up with a handful of cables, thumb out. Got a ride all the way to a vault of a million Honda parts, none of which I needed. Was directed to a bicycle shop. Got dropped off there. The bicycle shop tells me to go back down the road to a man named Henry. The taxi woman took me to Bristol. I found him sidling up an aisle of pre-1960 Triumphs, a BSA, two Nortons, seven Hondas and an above-average collection of mirrors behind a window painted with the word 'Henry's.' He was wearing a grey jumpsuit embroidered with a red 'Henry.' I was pretty sure this was the guy.
Henry's is one of those places you could search for. You might only find it by accident. "I don't advertise," he tells me. The best don't need to.
He soldered a new barrel on that cable. Gave the pickup truck ride back to my bike, told race stories, talked about prize metal horses, spoke this language of shaped ore and controlled explosions. Told me nine different ways I could have dealt with the problem. "There's always something." Ask if it will hold for Fayetteville and back, he says "Don't wring it out all the way. Maybe."
Google actually just offered to write this post for me. There's a new utility that helps you choose your next word. I went to college for that. Now, your computer (actually, the probability of your similarity to other thoughts in Google's hive) can guess the next word you're likely to type. So far it has suggested a string of mediocre malapropisms, apparently boilerplate in the cloud. As planned. Here's to the unexpected.