Thursday, November 12, 2009

I fought the wind, and the wind won...

Several weeks ago, I used my bicycle to bring home some large items from a (sort of) nearby home store. Some of you may remember that it rained on me all the way home as I pushed my bicycle down the streets of Wakkanai. Well, I recently decided that I needed some more large items from that store. So, I decided to use the same system of bike-as-makeshift wheelbarrow. It worked really well, aside from an attack of nature.

My bike had been living at the office since the wreck. However, my plan involved the bike, so I walked down to the office and ended its exile. I decided that I would ride the bike to the store, because it would be kind of weird to push an empty bike several blocks to the store.

With no small amount of trepidation, I climbed aboard the Bike of Doom. I didn't want to go very fast, but unfortunately one has to maintain a certain level of speed while riding a bike in order to not fall off. Every time I hit a bump, went around a corner, or rode over a metal object, I let out an involuntary gleep.

Unfortunately, the day was also rather windy. So, I had the added factor of hair in my face and extra wobble. This was rather annoying in and of itself, but when layered with the stress of being back on the Bike of Doom, it was causing me to really dislike bike riding. Then, I discovered that the Bike of Doom's brakes must have been somehow damaged in the fall. Every time I used significant pressure on the brakes, it sounded like I was killing a goose. Not that I've ever killed a goose, but it's what I imagine killing a goose would sound like.

Not surprisingly, by the time I made it to the home store, I decided that I had absolutely no need to buy a helmet (this would have been the place), because I never wanted to ride that horrible thing again! At least I wouldn't have to ride it home. Or so I thought.

My shopping was without unfortunate incident, which was nice. I found what I needed - a floor chair, some shelves, a metal bar thing to hang clothes on, a hot water bottle, a straightening iron, and some lip gloss. OK, so I didn't really NEED the lip gloss, but it was pretty.

I took my loot out to my bike and loaded everything on board. This was no easy feat. all the small things went into the basket nicely, so my main difficulty was loading the chair (it folds out flat), the shelves, and the metal thing onto the back of the bike and the seat (the shelves and metal thing were in nice, flat boxes). The problem was that some of this stuff was either heavy or awkward (awkward is kind of an awkward word to type/spell, don't you think?). It was slightly embarrassing too. It was a really busy day at the store, and a tall blond foreign girl wrestling a giant load of stuff onto a bike is not exactly what you would call an everyday occurrence here in Wakkanai.

Finally, I had everything loaded on the Bike of Doom and secured with a bungee cord. Now, all I had to do was push the heavily-laden bike home. Unfortunately, I did not realize that another nature attack was hovering close at hand.

I slowly made my way through the parking lot, attempting not to get run over. This also is no easy feat. I made it out of the parking lot, and on to the sidewalk next to the main road. I was walking on the sidewalk next to an extremely busy intersection when it happened. An intense blast of wind hit the Bike of Doom and me, blowing my hair in my face and shooting all my carefully stacked heavy and awkward goods off the bicycle. Now, unfortunately, these goods had been attached to the bike with the bungee cord, so something is hanging halfway off the bike. I'm hanging on to the bike and this tangle of stuff going off the bike, while my other things are off in the grass. The little things in the basket were fine, by the way. They stayed put.

Unfortunately, this was no small gust of wind. The wind continued to blow and blow, and I couldn't move due to my precarious grip on whatever it was I was gripping. So, I'm standing there like a doofus, next to this busy intersection, stuff spread around, and I'm yelling into the wind, "Stop bloooooooooooooooooooowing!" It didn't help. I felt slightly more conspicuous here than when I was originally loading the bike. That now seemed like small peanuts conspicuousness.

I don't know how long I stood felt like forever. Maybe people who hadn't seen the original impact thought it was a new statue, or performance art or something. I couldn't move while the wind was still blowing. My position was so precarious that I didn't think I would be able to keep everything upright, so I waited for the wind to quit (I was still yelling ineffectively at said wind). Eventually, some kind stranger pulled into the parking lot next to the sidewalk. He didn't speak English, and we all know how fluent I am in Japanese, but he helped untangle my knot of bike and box and bungee cord. Eventually, after some creative communication, I let him drive away with my stuff. He actually drove it to the landmark near my house, and then took it to the front of my apartment building. I might still be standing there, were it not for that person. It was still kind of strange to wave goodbye to your stuff. I rode the Bike of Doom back, brakes squawking all the way.

I left the Bike of Doom sitting at the street side of my apartment building for several days. I even left it there unlocked. No one had the decency to steal it, so I retired it to the shed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chris and Conrad - Rescue

I really love this song! I actually forgot about it for a few months. I know, I know, how can you forget a song that you love, right? Well, if you knew the sheer amount of music currently residing in my iTunes library, you would not be surprised. Anyway, when I first came to Japan, I listened to it a lot because it really encouraged me. I'm kind of glad that I forgot about it and rediscovered it, because it has been exactly what I needed to hear this week. So, I thought I'd share the lyrics with you. Then, I realized I could share a video too, so we will try breaking some new ground here...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

I've walked through the valley
Been tossed in the storm, yeah
And all of the demons
Were comin for more, yeah yeah
Only way I made it out
When I was alone
You came to my rescue
So I can make it home

You got me fallin
More in love with you
You got me wrapped up
I can barely even move

Even the good days
Can fade into black
Yeah I can only change
It happens too fast, too fast, too fast
I never even got a chance
If I was alone, if i was alone
If there was no rescue
I could never even make it home


When no one could find me
When everyone else had already moved on
You came to reach out
You never gave up on me
Even when hope was gone