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She Left Me
2007-06-25, 12:16 p.m.

Day 1037

Standing on the side of the road. Its almost funny.

After spending Saturday morning helping Cindy get things together for the graduation ceremony Sunday, including hitting every Office Depot/Office Max/Staples in the county looking for 600 sheets of Southworth 24lb parchment in blue and assembling 700 six page programs, we putzed around for a bit back at home.

Cindy suggested I go for a bike ride (ulterior motives there), then when I get back, we can head downtown and watch the criterium (professional bike racing downtown on a 1 mile circuit in the city streets at 30mph. Very cool).

I grabbed my stuff, called up a map of where I was going to ride and left it on the computer monitor. I was doing a relatively short ride, only 34 miles, and wouldnt ever be more than 10 or 12 miles from home. I headed out to the garage, grabbed my bike and got going. On the way out, I noticed Cindy on the patio, already halfway through her first beverage. What ever. I was half hoping that by the time I got home (2 hours) shed be too drunk to go downtown and I could go by myself and have an enjoyable time.

Anyhow. Windy day. On the southwest leg it wasnt too bad, mostly a cross wind, but on the leg heading north the wind was almost directly head on. Tough to keep up a decent pace. Finally hit the northernmost corner of the loop, turned east and started making some good time. Hit the northeast corner of the loop and turned south. Now the wind was really at my back and I could work on getting my average speed back up to something reasonable. I was making really good time, powering up hills, screaming down the other side, maintaining the momentum on the flats for as long as possible. As I was nearing the point where I had to turn east again, things were working out perfect. Its a pretty busy intersection, but it looked like I was going to catch the light and the cars were clearing out nicely. I had a moderate downhill leading into the intersection, but with the lack of traffic, I moved into the middle of the car lane, signaled my left turn like a good little cyclist and leaned into the turn at 26 27 mph.

Silly me, figuring I had clean, dry roads and a nice wide turn (for a bike at least) didnt even bother to unclip my left foot. Turns out I didnt need to, but my rear tire felt like it wanted to roll right off the rim. I could sense the rear of the bike wavering around as I took the turn, and it was a little noisier than I had expected. Kind of a loud hum coming from the back tire.

Well, I go a few hundred feet further and notice that Im feeling bumps & pebbles more than I should. I look down and sure enough, my rear tire is flat. Super. I stopped, took my camelbak off. Got out the pump and re-inflated the tire. It didnt seem to inflate quite hard enough, but I was only 4 miles from home, I figured I could limp it in if I had to. Heh. Went all of another 300 feet and the tire was flat, again.

Stopped again, got the camelbak off, took off my helmet and set to work. Pulled off the wheel, got the tire pried off, pulled out the tube. Inflated the tube enough to find the holes, then located the same spot on the tire. Upon inspecting the tire, I found what looked to be the remnants of a heavy duty staple poking through. Only the leg portions were left, the flat back part had apparently worn off. Managed to pull the offending bits of metal out of the tire (note to self get a multi tool for the saddle bag!!) and whipped out my spare tube.

Hmmmm. Spare tube claims to have a Schraeder valve (this would be the normal kind). My bike sports tubes with the Presta valve. My pump can work with either, so I figure its nothing worse than having to switch it over to the larger valve size. Ooops. I cant get the valve through the hole in the rim. No way, no how will it fit. Sweet.

Im left to calling Cindy for a retrieval. Cindy, who has been drinking for the last two hours at who knows what pace! Talking to her on the phone however, I got the impression she wasnt that badly off. I give her directions to where I am. Its ONE TURN - leave our tract, turn left, drive for 4 miles. Im on the left side of the road, across from a nice looking barn with a fruit & veggie stand out front. Between Chili Center and Union St. (Those are long Is in Chili. Its not pronounced like the food. I only live there, the pronunciation isnt my fault, really)

So I kick back and wait a bit. Cindy needs to remove 2 boxes of diploma covers, a box of programs and two large flower arrangements from the van. Might take a few minutes. Plus, its a 4 mile drive, with a few lights. Might be another 10 minutes there.

20 minutes later, I see the van coming. I stand up, move to the edge of the road and raise my arm. 0.1 minutes after that, I see the van going. Folks Im 6 feet tall and wearing black bike shorts and a bright red tank top exactly what I wore for the Tour de Cure ride. I thought Id be visible. Plus, Its maybe a half mile from the edge of Chili Center (long Is people) to Union St. It shouldnt be that hard to pay attention to the left side of the road for a half a freakin mile. But I forgot that shed been drinking. My bad.

So I grab my cell phone and call her. No answer. Figure maybe shes got the stereo up a bit and cant quite hear the phone. So I tried 5 more times over the next 15 minutes. No answer. At all. Ever. At this point, I just kind of gave up and took a seat under a tree. Sooner or later, shed hit the next town, figure out that she passed me and turn around.

Sure enough, 10 15 minutes later I see my van coming around the bend. Even better, I see the right turn signal start to blink, giving me hope that this time shes seen me and might stop. Two, no three things struck me. One the stereo was REALLY loud. Two she hadnt emptied the graduation stuff out of the van. Three Cindy was, in fact, way tipsy. Oh and 4? She hadnt brought her cell phone along.

Cindy apologized profusely for missing me the first time. I didnt harp on it, I mean, what was the point? I emptied enough graduation gear out of the way to get my bike & gear in, then packed stuff back in around it. I got in the passenger seat, let Cindy drive home. In hindsight, that was a pretty dumb choice, but I was half hoping shed get popped for DWI or something. No such luck. Made it home in one piece.

When we got home, I unloaded my bike and re-arranged the graduation stuff. Now, between the lengthy rescue trip, my needing a shower, trying to get a meal and dealing with a drunk spouse in a crowded downtown, going to the criterium was out. At best wed get there in time to catch one last pro race. Whoopee. Still bneeded dinner, so I showered, Cindy apparently pounded down another drink. Oh boy. Went to a neighborhood grill for dinner. Cindy got exactly the same thing I had, mostly because she couldnt be bothered to (a) form an independent thought or (b) make up her own mind. We ate, I had a couple Guinnesses (hey 30 miles in 1:44, I earned them), so did Cindy in spite of my objections. At least I was driving.

Back at the ranch, I got my tube repaired and re-inflated. Ready for another ride. Sunday was just a lost day. Nothing worthwhile happened. Cindy did that damn graduation thing, I went grocery shopping. Takes a long time to do it all yourself. By the time I was finished putting groceries away and thinking about mowing the lawn, Cindy called. Wanted me to meet her at the high school so I could help unload the van. It was pre-arranged, so no big deal. We had similar distances to drive, so I figured wed arrive pretty much the same time. Except I beat here there by 30 minutes. After waiting at the school for 10 minutes, I called her. Seems her boss wanted to stop for a coffee and she joined him!?!?!?! She said she tried to call me. Hmmpf. Checked my phone. Found a missed call from her that came in while I was driving. No message, just a missed call. Nice effort.

I should have left, but figured missing the phone call was on me. Dumb ass. Now I get it. NOW I get it. All weekend long she was wasting my time, dawdling, fiddle farting around, being late meeting me places, all the while saying I dont want to keep you from doing what you want . . .. What a fucking epiphany. Its all about her control, her manipulations, her creating stress (in me, so Id get pissed and vent) and excuses for her to drink. What desperation.

Funny how typing out the story lets you turn it over in your mind, examine events more closely and see it all for more than it appeared to be at first glance. This would be a good one to call the sponsor about. I might not be able to stop the Machiavellian plots, but I can learn to stop falling for them. Dumb ass.

After this week at work, Ill have 9 straight days off. 3 of them will be lost to a family reunion. The other 6? I will have a list of things I want to do. It will include at least 4 bike rides of over 50 miles. It will also include a mess of household chores. There will be some negotiating early on, but by Friday my vacation schedule will be cast in jello. Ill allow some wiggle room, but I do not intend to fall for those little manipulations again anytime soon. Forewarned is forearmed. Well see how this goes.


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