This pink bike has been leaning outside the Southwest Center for a week with a very broken lock. The thick tube of metal that closes the metal U into a U-lock fell off with a great thud (I presume) and it now lies on the ground below the useless u. I noticed it—the sad lock broken around this happy bike–when I went to visit a professor during his office hours and I dithered. Oh dear, this bike would be surely stolen. But… what to do? Leave a note?—to be read by either an incoming thief or the returning owner who, by this time, would most likely not need a note to illuminate the problem at hand.
So, I left, and the bike has stayed. A whole week on this campus where bikes come to disappear, where—allegedly—bands of bereft chemistry students roam with bottles of liquid nitrogen, ready to cold-freeze metal and abscond with bikes. I pass the pink bike everyday on my blue bike and sometimes, on foot, when I’m feeling like a slower glance at the world.
I have changed the way I get from here to there, from home to away, and this change in transportation feels more significant than perhaps it is. It is a weird and wonderful thing to hear a traffic report when you are walking. I haven’t used half a tank of gas this month, and though I do not miss the dashboard of my Civic, the landscape of my life last year, I missed NPR—that distinctive soundtrack that filled oh so many of my rush hours. And then, I remembered that my iPod nano has a radio. And so, I walk, and I listen to NPR, and every so often Arizona Public Radio breaks in to give the Tucson traffic report—an accident on Tanque Verde and Grant, a stalled car on Oracle, far away worlds—and I relish the space between navigating a traffic report and walking on hot pavement.
I have made it my goal to arrive early. To what? To everything. To class and poetry readings and when a friend says she’s cooking dinner at 7. I hate being late, but in Los Angeles, on time assumes half an hour behind, and no one knows how long it takes to get anywhere anyway. There’s no traffic to absorb the blame in Tucson. I am trying to excise rushing from my life, and it’s amazing what a difference it makes. To show up with enough time to settle in before you have to jump in, to take your time in getting there and enjoying the in-between space: the transit.