How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
Please help me raise money for the MS Bike Tour Cape Cod Getaway. Donate today on my MS Participant page.
After receiving the dress shipped to Mrs. Sarguson in Marleorough, I decided that I needed to get a move on to make sure I could get it altered in time for Colleen’s wedding. I had tried it on and it definitely would have fit a much bustier woman than myself. So I took the dress box, which was about pizza-box sized, and placed it securely in one of my bags. The box slipped in and barely showed over the top; I cinched down one of the ties and voila: Transportation. Tossing my bike lock into the other bag, I happily set off for the dress shop, dressed in a T-shirt, jeans, normal shoes, and a warm jacket:
I arrived somewhat warm but not excessively so, and the novelty of walking into a business without wearing a zillion layers of dorky Lycra bike clothes made it well worth it. I stood around for a while in the dress while a Portuguese-speaking lady squeezed the dress really tight against my body and then poked pins into it for reference. Note to self: Next time, shave armpits before getting strapless dress fitted for alterations. Fifty dollars later, they said they would alter it, press it, and I could pick it up next Saturday. Perfect, and if it might have gone more smoothly if I had spoken Portuguese, I still felt cheerfully satisfied when I left. The English-speaking girl who swiped my credit card asked if it was a nice day for bicycling. Absolutely.
I scooted out of that faintly fabric-and-plastic-smelling womb of womanhood directly into the masculine enclave of the hardware store, which is one of those old-fashioned ones that still has free popcorn for customers. There, on the advice of Ian’s grandpa Fred who knows everything about wood, and with the help of two store employees, I obtained Watco Teak Oil Finish and Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, which come with the following warnings (these are direct quotes from the back of the containers): Read the terrifying toxicicty warnings.
DANGER: Do not take internally. Skin irritant. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when handling. Combustible. Avoid inhalation and use only with adequate ventilation.
DANGER: Rags, steel wool or waste soaked with Watco Teak Oil may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded (!!!!!!). Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool or waste in a sealed water-filled metal container. For disposal of rags and unused amounts of product contact your local or state government environmental control agency.
WARNING: Vapor harmful. May affect the brain or nervous system causing dizziness, headache or nausea. Causes eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. Harmful if swallowed. This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Minwax Finishing Paste:
CAUTIONS: Contents are combustible! Keep away from heat and open flame. Contains aliphatic hydrocarbons. VAPOR HARMFUL. Use only with adequate ventilation. To avoid overexposure, open windows and doors or use other means to ensure air entry during application and drying. If you experience eye watering, headaches or dizziness, increase fresh air, or wear respiratory protection (NIOSH/MSHA TC23C or equivalent) or leave the area.
DELAYED EFFECTS FROM LONG TERM OVEREXPOSURE. Contains solvents which can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.
Boy, I can hardly WAIT to start waterproofing the board on Charlotte now! And here I just wanted to treat the board to keep it from getting water damage when I rode in the rain. I am thoroughly intimidated by even having anything that toxic and dangerous in the house, let alone using such stuff. And here the worst thing I usually use is castile soap or T9 bike lube.
The high school boy who scanned my items at the register complimented me on my stylish Oakleys (was he hitting on me?!) and that segued into a conversation about how much money I must save by riding around rather than driving. I agreed and refrained from mentioning that the bike as he saw it had cost over $1,000 — and that was just this time. Another hardware store customer also said something about my ability to carry stuff, but better was the silent comment made by an entire carful of people who pulled up next to me at a stoplight on the way to the hardware store. All five of them simply stared silently, mouths slightly agape. I smiled and waved and rode away as the light turned green.
And thence home, richer by two incredibly toxic, impossible-to-get-rid-of-safely substances, and still enjoying the novelty of the new ride. Here I am triumphantly displaying my loot.
The funny thing is that although I by bike commute all the time, I rarely do shopping-type errands by bike. The satisfaction I got from using this bike as a tool for everyday activities actually felt greater than what I get when I ride to work. This is a bike for life, one I can leave outside locked to a post without worrying about it every second; one that can handle the couple gallons of milk plus other groceries; one that will go the short, everyday distances better than my fancier bike. This truly is a Sport Utility Bike — fun, useful, and above all, two-wheeled and person-powered.