Journal: Saturday, May 30, 2020

In Personal

Quarantine Day 74. Two things happened today: (1) I got rid of some crap in my house, and (2) I went for a yet another disastrous bike ride.

On #1. A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I got a new ultra-wide monitor, and how life-changing that was. The shine’s kind of worn down a little since then, but still, working on it’s been a great experience.

It’s the third monitor I’ve gotten over the past few years. With each, I think I had a similar reaction. Especially after I got my first 4K monitor last February.

Despite these new monitors, though, I didn’t get rid of the old ones. (Actually, I put two in the closet. The third went on my living room floor.) So finally, yesterday, I put them up for sale on Facebook, priced to move at $20 each (compared to around $80-100 for similarly old monitors).

Sadly, before I went to sleep, very few people looked at my ad, and only one person contacted me. But when I woke up this morning, dozens of people had seen my ad, a good portion had saved it, and I now had eight conversations to reply to! LOL.

The first conversation (in chronological order) was in Spanish. I don’t know why people talk to me on the marketplace in Spanish when my ad is clearly in English, but I recognized what he was asking, and replied (in English) that yes, I still had two monitors available.

The second person was an Asian dude. Out of all the various inquiries, he included the most detail about when he could come by (everyone else just opened with “Is this still available?”). The third guy was another Asian dude. And so was the fourth guy.

In any case, only third and fourth guys replied to me immediately (why else would I mention them?) so they got the two monitors (the first guy from yesterday got the first).

Out of this whole experience, the most interesting thing was the fact that everyone wanted VGA cables! Because I have so many extra cables, every time I went out to give the dudes their monitors, I brought a shoebox full of HDMI, DVI and VGA cables. Actually, because I didn’t think anyone would want VGA cables, I didn’t even include them in my box for the first guy until he literally pointed at the VGA port (he initially thought it was a DVI port). Of course, they all also grabbed an HDMI cable each… but I dunno. My guess is that if they’re buying 9-year-old monitors for $20, they probably don’t have the most modern computers either… 1920×1080 HD might even be an upgrade! I’m reminded of how my parents stuck with a 56K internet connection until I was well into high school.

Because the last guy didn’t come until 4PM, I couldn’t start biking until 4PM. This meant that I only had about 4 hours to ride; I’m not fond of riding at night.

But, I didn’t intend on actually riding for 4 hours straight. My goal today was to support Ed on his Around the Block 100K. He came out to pace me last week; now I wanted to repay the favor. It’d take me about an hour to get to the San Leandro Marina, I figured, so in the space of 4 hours, I could spend about two hours with Ed.

Before I get to Ed, I should mention that the world is crashing and burning at the moment in the US. I didn’t mention it yesterday, but holy crap, rioting and looting appeared on a larger scale than expected yesterday during otherwise peaceful protests.

Sometimes I kind of wonder what it was like during the 1992 LA Riots. I was just three years old then, so I don’t remember what those were like. But it doesn’t seem like society’s learned anything from that time.

Anyway, I got to see some of the damage today as I cycled through downtown Oakland. It didn’t look as bad as I expected. Mostly a lot more graffiti, boarded up stores, and broken glass on the roads. (I later saw video and a more comprehensive map of stores that were opportunistically looted.)

The real disaster came at Oyster Bay. Prior to today, I didn’t know that Oyster Bay even existed. It turns out that I’ve run the Bay Trail around the Tidewater Boathouse, and the Bay Trail around the San Leandro Marina. But there’s a small section between the two segments that I’ve never run before, including section next to the Oakland Airport, and an entire park (Oyster Bay)!

About half the park was under construction, so instead of grass and trees, there was gravel and dirt. Because I was on a gravel bike, though, I thought, hey why not bike through it?

I soon found out why: as soon as I biked through it (which was itself pretty fun), I realized that my rear tire wasn’t holding its grip on even the slightest turns. I looked down, and immediately saw a piece of metal wire, kind of like a long untangled paper clip, sticking out.

Fortunately, I was able make it to the marina on the last bit of air left in the tire. Unfortunately, I knew that Ed didn’t run with his phone, so I didn’t know where he was. But since I knew the loop he was running, I hoped that I’d either see Ed, or he’d see me, as I tried to fix my flat.

Long story short, I had a hard time taking the tire off the rim. But that turned out to be the easy part. After replacing the inner tube, I just couldn’t get the tire back on! This isn’t my first flat. But it’s the first flat I’ve had on my own. This time there wasn’t going to be anyone to help, despite all the families passing by.

As the sun started to set, I realized that I wasn’t going to see Ed after all. And without a working bike, I was going to have to get a ride home. I knew Uber/Lyft was an option. I also thought about potentially using my credit card’s roadside assistance benefit (it says it covers “self-powered vehicles” after all, right?). I decided to text a few running friends: Jeanine, and Matt and Krissy.

Either of them responded immediately, worrying me. Then after about half an hour, I realized that my phone was on silent. As I checked my phone, I realized Matt tried to call me several times! I immediately called back; he and Krissy were now on their way with a bike rack.

As soon as we ended our call, though, Ed finally replied. He was literally just down the road from me. He had just finished 55 miles. Just 7 miles to go!

He was happy to see me, but he was also upset. The same way I was upset with KK at inspiring me to run 25 4-mile loops around my house. He told me to put my bike in his car; I was going to run/walk the last 7 miles with him.

But, by this time, Matt and Krissy were only 5 minutes away. I think in normal circumstances, they would join Ed for his last 7 miles too. But tonight they were worried that the freeway would be closed either by protestors or the police. Krissy was also still on crutches from a fracture sustained during Way Too Cool. So after the four of us briefly reunited, it was time for me to go.

On a scale of 0 to 10, I think I’d rate today a 6.5. I made progress cleaning up my apartment just a little bit, while getting some stories out of the experience. I got to ride my bike down to see Ed, and ultimately Matt and Krissy as well. If the flat didn’t happen, or if I had successfully fixed it, then today would’ve been a solid 8 or 9, despite all the crap happening in the world. But it is what it is.

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