I’ll be sleeping in a work friend’s bed tonight while his partner’s in New Brunswick.
He’s also in New Brunswick. Hopefully, Mr. Woo will keep me company tonight. This is Mr. Woo:
When the friend, Alex, requested my cat-monitoring services, he presented it as if it were a prize, “What would you say if you won a three-night stay at a house by a lake?” The lake is made out of a blue tarp and is surrounded by a rustic mini-golf course.
His landlord is basically me 20 years from now if I had the money to own property in Victoria. In other words, she’s an eccentric who tends to tend to her property (properties?) in a way that causes the neighbours to complain to the city. If I owned property, you bet I’d have fun with it.
The house is amazing, though, and I am delighted to hang out with Mr. Woo. This cat can give his front paws on command, as well as jump through a makeshift hoop that is your arms. He greeted me this morning by smelling my eyeballs, then licking my face. I don’t think Alex or his partner trained him to do that.
On the subject of new friends, remember when I shared this meme?:
So, I made this a reality: Strava has already hooked me up with two new people to ride with. Neither of them had to dig for my personal information as I brazenly link to my blog on my Strava profile.
OH, HELLO NEW FOLLOWERS.
Although they’re not that much of strangers as we have mutual friends, I’m no stranger to meeting strangers off the internet. I’ve been doing it long before it was socially acceptable to meet people off the internet. I’m such a radical.
Twenty years ago, I was a part of an online community called iam.bmezine that connected me with other Vancouverites who were into body modification. Every other month, 15-20 of us, aged 18-60, would take over a long table at a restaurant to connect over our shared interest of altering our bodies in irreversible ways. If the other diners gawked at us, I probably didn’t notice because I grew up being stared at for using sign language in public.
In the olden days (two bygone decades!), being heavily tattooed and pierced was extraordinary. Back then, you weren’t supposed to share your real name online. Oprah instilled the fear of online predators in my mom. This is why I had to get creative about how I made a bunch of new friends after high school, even though I was an unemployed non-student. I don’t think Mom met any of my friends from that era. Otherwise, she’d have had questions about their unconventional appearances and the age difference with some of them.
Twenty years later, I still find that the internet is a reliable way to connect those with shared interests. I shouldn’t have a shortage of people to ride with, seeing how I work in a bike shop, but it’s still been challenging lining up my free time with that of other cyclists.
I put in my deposit for the Horse a few months before the pandemic hit. I was set on doing some brevets, bikepacking, and my next overseas cycle touring adventures were to take place in the post-Brexit UK. Immediately after I finally built up the Horse and christened it, Ponyboy, I turned into a full-blown roadie. Ponyboy is still getting lots of love, but so is my road bike, Sodapop.
Sodapop’s been around since my Montréal days, where road riding is a joke. There are hardly any hills and many cars filled with rage-filled drivers who will chase you down as you slalom in and out of giant orange pylons. Montréal doesn’t make helmet wearing compulsory, but the SVPM are anal about the number of reflectors you have on your bike. You could be decked out in hi-viz clothing and spray yourself with reflective paint, but if you’re missing even one of these reflectors:
- White front reflector
- Red rear reflector
- Amber or white reflector on each pedal, except when the cyclist wears a reflective band around each ankle or shoes with reflective strips
- On the front wheel, an amber or white reflector attached to the spokes and visible on both sides of the bicycle
- An amber or white reflective strip attached to each side of the fork
- Tires with reflective sidewalls or a rim with continuous reflective strip around the entire circumference of the wheels on both sides
To quote Yann, who is still my primary riding partner, “I was beginning to wonder whether I enjoyed road riding at all.” We were frequently driving out of the city to do gravel riding around The Laurentides. Sodapop got so little love during my Montréal days that it took three years before its chain needed to be replaced!
I don’t need to attach shitty bits of plastic to my bikes here. Who could miss my hi-viz hair whip behind me as I descend the hills of The Highlands?!
…I was going to write more, alas, this guy and I need to go to bed:
PS- The previous person who looked after Mr. Woo changed the sheets on the bed and dog-eared the comforter. Adorable.