Thursday, August 9, 2012

To commute…

verb (used without object)

-to travel regularly over some distance, as from a suburb into a city and back: He commutes to work by train.

-to put my head out the door and check the temperature. It’s cold so I put my jacket on. Almost as soon as I start pedalling, my legs burn a little. That happens every morning. It’s their way of waking up. Soon after I settle into a rhythm and take in the morning. It’s been raining. My clothes let me cheat the fresh, cold air. I love the contrast I can feel between my covered skin and the few exposed parts that sting slightly. As usual, I’m too warm by the time I arrive at the traffic lights under the bridge. I pull over, remove my jacket and stuff it in my bag. As I’m doing this, a girl on a cruiser pulls up in the bike lane. The lights change to green and I pedal past her on the footpath and then hop onto the road. I ride around the corner and down the ramp then across the bridge over the river. As I approach the bike path on the other side, I notice the girl on the cruiser riding along ahead. She’s taken a route I didn’t know about. I’ll have to try that tomorrow. Soon after I pass the girl again, feeling a bit silly, even though she probably doesn’t recognise me from earlier. I ride along the edge of the bike path because that bit avoids the ripple strips before each of the pedestrian crossings. Lots of people ride along the edge. It’s nice and smooth there. Near the construction site, I come across the fat construction worker. I see him a few times a week. He doesn’t work at the construction site. I’m not even sure if he’s a construction worker but that’s what he is to me. His right knee bends out each time he pedals. He must have an old injury. From a car accident in my mind. Then the English guy who used to come into the bike shop I once worked at passes in the opposite direction. I often see him but I don’t think he recognises me. I’m getting even warmer now. I remove my gloves and stuff them into my pocket. The wind is blowing quite hard this morning although not as much as yesterday. It’s a north-westerly. Which of course means it’s travelling south-east. I’ve always found it odd that wind is defined by where it comes from rather than where it’s going. Then I get to thinking about what gets described like wind. Not trams or buses. No one cares where they’ve been, unless they've picked up a crazy person or someone who's spewed. Maybe people. They are usually defined by what they’ve achieved rather than what they hope to. That’s all I can think of. My nose starts to get runny. I blow it into the air and watch the snot glisten in the sun as it’s carried south east by the north westerly. Then I see Hugh coming in the opposite direction. I met him in Timor last year. We see each other most mornings. Today, we give each other a high-five as we pass one another. Hugh’s hand hits my wrist. It stings a bit. It’s our first high five though. I’m sure we’ll do better next time. My nose is runny again. I blow it again. I reach the end of the bike path so join the road. There’s a bit more traffic than usual because it’s been wet. Cars stream past me. Then I turn right and the traffic is banked up. I pedal past the cars. A truck’s engine is making a high-pitched noise. It sounds like there’s a miniature traffic jam inside it replete with angry horns. I ride on. I pass by the 1965 Ford Falcon. Its number plate is NEATXP. It is neat. It’s been driven since yesterday. It’s facing the opposite direction in its driveway. As usual, the bus and I have our little battle along this stretch of road. It passes me. Then I pass it when it stops to pick up passengers. This repeats four or five times. Near the end I turn right then left and I’m almost there. I ride the last stretch directly into the wind. Then I cross the road at the crossing while giving a nod to the crossing lady. I arrive at work forty-five minutes after sticking my head out the door to check the temperature and it’s time to start work.

-to make substitution.

-to serve as a substitute. .

-to make a collective payment, especially of a reduced amount, as an equivalent for a number of payments.

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