Monday, March 01, 2010

Bad Merry

Here's the scene. It's 9:30 on a Saturday night, I've been working overtime all day, and I've decided 'the heck with it, I'm not going to ride the whole way home. I'll take the Max.' So I ride up to the Max station. Granted, not perhaps the best Max station. It does tend to be the station that you hear about on the news, with the words "the incident occurred at" used in the report. But the road home was starting to feel quite dark and deserted, and the train would be along in a couple minutes.

Yes, okay, the station was also rather dark, and it did have a bunch of big men lurking deep in the inky shadows. And as I got up to the ticket dispenser, a man on the other side of the tracks, some ways off in the dark, started yelling. I caught the word 'bicycle.' I figured even if he were drunk or on drugs, still I was surrounded by all these big guys who looked like they could've been part of a gang. I should be okay. Probably. I mean hell, this is Portland, not San Francisco. It's the Canada of the west coast. The general level of 'nice' is fairly high.

Then after I bought the ticket, I turned around to find myself facing an angry old man. "You were riding your bike at the station! And you heard me identify myself as a duly appointed Tri-Met supervisor! You were violating the law! Do you realize that the penalty for this offense is $170? Do you want me to write you a ticket?"

This went on for a few minutes. He was really pissed off at me. (Good thing I didn't do something trivial, like shaking a baby or something.)

For the record: Yes, I was doing something against the rules. So he had every right to write me a ticket. I don't think the yelling was necessary, certainly not at that volume for that length of time. Perhaps it made him feel better. I have a sneaking suspicion he liked being able to exercise what little power he had over the universe, for he didn't in fact write up a ticket; he got it out of his system by yelling.

[I think infractions this minor should be covered under the heading of Common Sense. If you're sitting on a bike, go at 2 mph and avoid pedestrians. If it's crowded, become one of the pedestrians. Don't make people feel unsafe.]

The funny part was what happened after he walked away. I found myself surrounded by a whole lot of big, tall, tough-looking guys. Who were all working hard to keep a straight face. One of them quite solemnly shook his finger at me. Then he grinned. Another mean-looking guy muttered, "I wouldn't have let him speak to me like that." A third guy said, "Hey, ignore him. That man spends most of his days getting disrespected by 15-year-olds. You handled him really well." A fourth guy just laughed.

Well, maybe the duly appointed long-arm of the bureaucracy was mad at me, but at least I got to meet a bunch of tough-yet-sympathetic guys.

And another plus, the encounter should encourage me to avoid this Max station in the future. Which should make it easier to pedal all the way home next time.

Exercise du jour: Cycling 3 miles in the morning, and definitely a whole lot more miles on the way home.
FAIL. In fact, I'm betting that the whole week is going to be a fail. By the end of the day, I was rather glad that I hadn't ridden my bike in. I left around 9 pm and would have faced another dark deserted ride home -- or else faced dealing the the joys of Tri-Met.
I've prepared for the week. On my way home, I bought 8 Lean Cuisine fast food meals. That way I'll get two meals a day, somewhat kinda healthy food. That's the best I can do.
Usually, I set up a week's worth of exercise and try to make the goal each day. This week, I'm not going to hold myself to doing this. I'll do what I can.
I wish life didn't get in the way of my goals. Some weeks all you can do is hang on and hope to make it through intact.


Roses said...

Poor guy. Sounds like he needs a nap.

Gigi said...

Wow - even by East Coast standards, that was pretty rude. But as the saying goes, "rudeness is a weak person's attempt at strength." You handled it a lot better than I would have.

azusmom said...

At least now you have a fun story to tell! And if you ever run into those guys again, you can just remind them who you are and maybe they won't take your wallet.

Lisa Deon said...

Hold tight to this story because it might get you out of something. Like, some day, when you're hanging around the prison yard, expecting the gang leader to visit you, you can tell the flunkies surrounding you about the time you had it out with a Max-Cop...

(The TRAX cops here ride Segways. I'm sorry, but an Electra Glide would garner respect.... a Segway just makes me think "Circus Act".)

Slave Driver wanders off humming "I Fought the Law and the Law Won," then decides that's inappropriate and sings, "I Shot The Sheriff…"

messymimi said...

You did handle it well.

It takes more inner character to be nice than nasty, and it sounds like he has none to spare.

I still think that, considering the time of day, you made the right decision in not biking all the way home.

josie said...

Wow, what a story indeed.
and I'm lol-ing at slave driver's comment above! haha

VRaz60 said...

I'm delighted that your story had a happy ending. However, the old mom in me wants to tell you to be careful. careful.

Charlotte said...

Quite the adventure! I kinda love those big biker dudes now:) Ah, Portland I miss thee!

Shelley said...

"Canada of the west coast" - I love this! And for the record, we thought downtown Portland was so clean and safe when we visited a few (ok, 15) years ago. And maybe you should go back to that Max station - sounds like you have a posse with those tough guys now!