Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Post #16: Bikeography Part XI: Of Jackrabbits And Jets

After three years riding the ferry and circumnavigating the bay a couple of times a week to get to and from work, I was transferred to the Aircraft Carrier USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), meeting her the day she pulled into her new homeport at Naval Air Station North Island, and riding her through work-ups and her maiden deployment to the Arabian Gulf. 

With my floating legal office parked right here in Coronado, the bike commute became easier than ever - a little over two miles from front door to brow.  With the short commute, and the need to leave the bike on the pier all day, I switched back to my faithful red Cannondale and its fat Armadillo tires (useful for navigating the railroad tracks scattered along the way to the ship).  For so many reasons, this was the best job I have ever had or ever will have.  It was also the toughest and most challenging, but so rewarding to see our efforts contribute to the smooth running of this floating city and airfield.  So, after a tough day of dealing with the surprises that a crew of thousands of 18-22 year-olds can throw at a ship's legal department, it was always nice to hop onto my bike and let the day start to melt away.  Even on my short commute, there was something about getting into the rhythm of my pedaling cadence that immediately put me into "the zone."

It was on a Summer evening, as the sun was starting to set and I was just getting into my rhythm, when I had one of the oddest encounters I have had on a bike (or anywhere else for that matter).  I was just getting up to cruising speed along carrier row when my peripheral vision detected a blurred projectile flying through the air in my direction.  Its trajectory put it directly in my path, striking a direct hit on the 'T" in my handlebars, with the substantial "thump" bringing me to an immediate halt.  I had just passed a Sailor on foot, so I wondered if he had thrown something into my path for some reason.  So, my head snapped toward him with my face in shock and dismay.  All he did was point out toward the road.  Sitting, in a clump, a few yards off to my left in the road was a HUGE jackrabbit!

I was afraid that I had killed it, but he started to twitch a little, shook his whiskers, shook his whole body, then just stood there, frozen, even more stunned than I was.  We stared at each other, both, I think, wondering if that had really just happened.  He then disengaged from my gaze, and hopped, slowly, the rest of the way to the other side of the road (where he must have been trying to get when he leaped into my path).  Since I couldn't ask the rabbit, I turned to the Sailor and asked if that had been for real.  He just nodded his head.  For some odd reason (or, more likely, no reason at all), with all the space on this planet and in this universe, that rabbit and my handlebar stem needed to occupy the same exact cubic foot or so at the same exact moment.  What are the odds?

I have tried to read some meaning into this encounter ever since, with no success.  You'd think that I, at least, might have gained some rabbit-like super-powers, but no such luck.  A couple of days later, I spotted an ad on Craigslist for concert tickets to a show I really wanted to attend, and the poster wrote that she'd give the tickets away for free to the person who wrote her with the most compelling story of why they deserved the tickets.  So, I e-mailed her, detailing the story above, explaining that something like that has to happen for a reason and, clearly, the reason in this case was that the powers that be wanted me to go to this show.  She e-mailed me back the next day to say that she loved the story, but still gave the tickets to somebody else.  It's a cruel, cold-hearted universe we inhabit people.  But we, at least, have our bikes, and that rabbit lived to hop another day . . .

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