You know how sometimes a big movie is scheduled to come out, and you’re really excited for it, but then there’s SO MUCH FREAKING HYPE that in the end you just want it to go away?
Perhaps because I make my living using Apple products now, I’ve reached some kind of break point. But after months and months of the rumors, the waiting, the anticipation and the frenzy–I just want it to be over.
My lovely spouse is particularly enthusiastic about following all the Apple news, and was disappointed when the ‘normal’ release schedule meant we didn’t get to upgrade our 3GS phones this summer. It’s been a long wait for her. She agonized over whether to get black or white, which case to get, and whether to use iCloud or not. She stayed up till 3am to get our pre-orders in early, ensuring prompt arrival on the appointed day.
Sadly, we were both at work, and not around to sign for our precious packages. So this morning, I headed down to the UPS office on Swan Island to pick up the phones. Due to some miscommunication on my part, I was under the impression that the trail from Willamette bluff here, was fairly rideable, and would make for a quicker route without having to ride down to Going and backtracking.
Well, it was direct alright, but barely hikable, much less rideable. My first clue should have been when I started down some single track out of the bowl just below the ridge. Oh, did I mention I was riding the Big Dummy? Yeah, I had plans to visit the farmer’s market on the way to my weekend conference.
Shortly, I passed a guy walking up the trail. As he stepped aside to let me by, he said in a low, warning tone, “Good luck.”
Alrighty then. I correctly inferred from his remark that things were about to get hairy. But I was already committed so I continued.
Mountain bikers will understand when I say that the trail became so gnarly and exposed that I would not have ridden down it, even on my full suspension mountain bike. Yet, here I was, trying to walk my 50+ pound cargo bike, with a death grip on the brakes (recently replaced, thank goodness!), trying not to hurtle down the trail in an uncontrolled mannor.
Things got a little hairy getting around a certain tree growing pretty much into the trail, and also on the sharper-than-90-degree right turn that was also at least a 12% grade, with some slippery roots and rocks thrown in for good measure.
Amazingly, I survived all this foolishness with no more damage than some mud on my freshly laundered favorite pants. I came out of the weeds, literally on the wrong side of the tracks. Train tracks that is, used frequently by Union Pacific trains.
In fact, there was a rather long train sitting unmoving on the tracks at that moment. I headed about a quarter mile south to get to the front, hoping it would not start up. I could also see on the tracks nearest me, a large single headlight of a northbound train.
It was all very Stand By Me.
All for the love (or hate) of a phone.
As I heaved the Dummy over four or five sets of tracks, I saw two guys sitting in a truck, obviously railroad workers. I expected them to yell at me for being so clearly where I didn’t belong, so I yelled, “Yes, I’m lost!” As I approached. But they seemed unconcerned. They did confirm with a nod that I could escape to glorious pavement through the parking lot.
From there it was a short ride down Basin Ave to the UPS customer counter. Thankfully, there were only a few people ahead of me in line. I had sudden last minute fear that because both phones were shipped in Jessica’s name since she is the primary on our family plan, that maybe they wouldn’t hand them over. But a cheerful black woman (there’s only 20 of us in Portland, so I’m always counting), came out with two boxes and handed them over. She even cheerfully informed me that they had been there two hours overtime the night before, just handing out phones. UPS must treat their people well.
With the loot safely secured, I returned to the Dummy and as I pushed it off the sidewalk, I noticed a hitch hiker in the form of shrubbery still lodged in my derailleur from our earlier adventure. I hauled it out, and took Basin back to Going street and off the island. I’ve never been so happy to be back in the Greeley bike lane with 45 mph traffic passing me by.
I carried the precious cargo all day while I went to the farmer’s market and attended a work conference. When I came home, I didn’t rip into the box, but went about my nightly chores, cleaning up from both ends of the cats, showering, making dinner.
Jess came home and after hanging out and filling each other in on our day, we’re not setting up our phones.
Hopefully tomorrow, life will go back to normal. Upgraded, but normal.