Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Riding to Middletown in the Pouring Rain

You know how sometimes you take the bigger car so you can drop off the kids at school, and your wife takes the smaller car, but then she goes for drinks with coworkers and gets a ride home, leaving the smaller car in Middletown, and you need the smaller car the next day, and you're home in West Hartford and it's 9:30 at night and pouring rain and you can't go together with your wife in one car to get the other car because the kids are already sleeping? Don't you hate that?

Anyway, that's the situation I was in on Monday night, so I was forced by cruel circumstance to ride my bike 22 miles in the rain to Middletown. And it was pretty much awesome.

As I put on my technical wet weather cycling gear (cargo shorts, t-shirt, fleece pullover, raincoat, rain pants, sneakers, galoshes), my wife pointed out that I was crazy. She was right, but what could I do? Besides, it was wet but warm, and excercise helps eradicate that slight paunch I have developed since moving to Connecticut, about which she gently complains from time to time.

The route I took was basically completely un-scenic, but I realized something cool: The best way to make drab, ranch-house-after-ranch-house-after-ranch-house suburbs look alluring is to cover them in rain and darkness. Suddenly, instead of orderly streets with carbon copy lawns and architectural uniformity, you get shadowy alleys, cones of soft yellow light, random construction vehicles that loom up suddenly out of the darkness, and a pleasant rainy blurriness that makes the whole scene look like a slightly grainy exterior shot meant to establish mood before cutting to the drama taking place inside an unassuming house in some sort of artsy movie about suburban ennui. Also, there were lots of noisy frogs, and an opossum that was completely frozen in its tracks by my headlight, which made me consider leaping off the bike and trying to catch it, except what the hell would I do with an opossum?

I didn't take any pictures because it was dark and very rainy, but here is a picture of the paper I wrote my route on, which got very very soaked because I put it in my pocket but didn't zip that pocket up (click for a larger shot, if you care).


chillwill said...

you're crazy!

Karma said...

I like it. Next time it rains we retrace that ride in posterity.