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SQREAMin’ in the rain

November 7, 2006

Most of the time, your local TV news weather forecast will show a Doppler radar map containing green blotches. Today, thanks to the Pineapple Express, KING5 tv’s Western Washington map is resplendent in yellow, orange and red. Wouldn’t you know, there’s a ride tonight.

Tonight’s ride is the local SQREAM chapter’s monthly get-together. No, I am quite definitely hetero, but I have known literally thousands of queer folk over the course of my life, and frankly I am far more scared of the pea-brained, bible-thumping idiots who feel this need to pick on them. It’s true–gays and lesbians really are just like straight folk, except for their sex lives. And I’ve never understood why anyone would have any interest in the sex life of someone else.

I go on these rides becase Ben, the head guy of the Seattle chapter, invited me to come. So I do. Especially since I want as much group-ride seat time on the PX as possible.

I check with Ben to see if the ride’s still going to happen, and he says, yeah it is. In the meantime, The Weather Channel’s “Local on the 8s” has lots of orange graphics and references to high winds and flooding rain. Oh, and the Seahawks are on Monday Night Football, which will be live from Qwest Field. A potential problem, since we’re going to Andy’s Diner on 4th Avenue South, and we’ll need to at least skirt Qwest Field to get there.

The rain has let up as I leave for the meet-up point, and the usual backup on the entrance to the Fremont Bridge is absent, so I dare think the ride will be okay after all. I just need to get over the bridge grating.

All the bridges that cross the Lake Washington Ship Canal have grates, and I believe all of these grates are the same length. Short. Nice, not like the Morrison Bridge in Portland, which is all grate, and at least a quarter mile in length. However, when these metal grates get wet, they are slippery. The PX’s nibbly tires don’t like these grates anyway, and when they’re wet, it’s easy to forget to breathe.

Okay, I made it over the Fremont Bridge, but I have to cross the University Bridge to get to Capitol Hill. This one is trickier, because there’s a noticeable drop from the pavement to the grate. And it has started raining again. And I decided to leave the rain pants at home. Bugger.

Hoping I haven’t deprived my brain of too much oxygen, I make it across the U. Bridge and go up the hill toward Capitol Hill. Luckily, I hit the lights just right and don’t have to stop until Roanoke Street, which is nice and flat.

Unfortunately, the pavement on Roanoke is really awful, so making a left, then right turn on a scooter with a stiff, bouncy suspension, through cracks, holes and exposed aggregate is no fun at all. Someone in a Mazda3 decides I’m not going fast enough and passes me on the right with about six inches to spare. Another half a block and I could’ve pulled over to let him by, but…

The rain is kinda coming down hard now, and the wind has picked up. See earlier comments about the PX’s sensitivity to crosswinds. Luckily, I need to make a left turn off Broadway… the buildings will make nice shields.

I arrive at Ben’s place. There are no scooters in front. Okay, I’m early. But still, there would ordinarily be at least a few bikes out front. Of course, previous rides weren’t done in such awful weather.

Ben and I hang in his living room waiting for others to show up. The owners of the local Schwinn Scooter dealer are the only others to arrive; by this time the rain is coming down at a 45-degree angle.

Okay, let’s do it. I sit down on the PX’s saddle before remembering that it was really wet. Oh, well. My jeans are thick.

We’re taking 12th Avenue to Jackson Street; from there we can find a way to 4th. Yes, the wind is still blowing and the rain is still pelting, but 12th Avenue is much smoother. I can hit 4th gear; my fellow riders are on twist-‘n-go scooters, so they just, well, twist and go.

We sneak through Chinatown when a lineup of Metro buses on Jackson shows no sign of movement, ending up on 4th, headed south toward Andy’s.

Andy’s Diner is among the last of the old-school, authentic diner restaurants left in Seattle. The building is a group of old railroad cars lashed together in what is otherwise a vacant lot just north of Spokane Street. The interiors of the cars are reasonably well-preserved, but not so much that you can’t tell this place is about alcohol and cholesterol. Ben keeps saying how much he loves the atmosphere. So do I.

Aside from a few people watching Monday Night Football in the bar, we’re the only ones in the place. Our waitress is working her first shift. She has the look that makes us think she’ll do well with tips, once she learns the menu. Our orders were dangerously close to being wrong, but she checked. However, she does know the trick of pouring ice water out of the side of the pitcher. Too bad she’s married, I think to myself.

This evening was supposed to be a meeting, but with nobody else around, there’s not much to be done. No dessert, thanks, we’re off.

This time I remember to ask for a big stack of napkins. Favicon

One Comment
  1. Joni permalink
    November 9, 2006 8:52 am

    You die hard, Orin!! Next time, get dessert!

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