The phone call was for 11:30, and I couldn’t be late.
“Hey, dad, let’s go for a quick ride!” my son said.
I bit my lip. I had to be back by 11:30. And “quick” wasn’t how he’d been riding. Two years off the bike and our first pedal together a couple of days ago … 14.8 miles in an hour and a half.
Still, father-son time beckoned. “Okay,” I said.
We jumped on our bikes and sailed down the hill.
He lagged as we whooshed down Silver Spur. It’s steep and quick, and although you never forget how to ride a bicycle, you do forget how to ride it downhill fast. We downhilled some more along PV Drive North, turned off onto the Flog route, and headed up by the golf course. It was a gorgeous morning.
I was starting to worry a bit about the time because we were going up the flog hill pretty slowly. How slowly? Some lady in a Big Orange kit came racing by and shouted “Damn Strava!” as she passed us.
“What did she say?” Hans asked.
“Damn Strava,” I said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I dunno. Maybe it’s her way of saying ‘I have to pass you like you’re chained to a stump because I’m after this QOM.'”
“Maybe it’s her way of saying ‘You guys suck.'”
“Could be,” I agreed.
We dropped down to the beach club. “Hey,” Hans said. “Let’s check out Haggerty’s!”
“The surf spot? There aren’t any waves today, I bet.”
“No,” he agreed. “But it’s gorgeous.” We got off our bikes and looked out over the bay. It was.
We took in the view until I realized we were not doing great on time. “Let’s go.” We left the church parking lot and started up the long grade, up towards The Cove.
As we reached The Cove, the second of PV’s big three surf spots, it was too beautiful not to pull over and take in the view. “You know,” I said, “all the times I’ve ridden up here I’ve never stopped.”
“Me, either,” said Hans. It was a postcard day.
Suddenly I was looking at my watch again. “Come on, let’s go.” We hopped on the bikes and pedaled lukewarm quickly until we came to the infamous Lunada Bay. There were no Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, or anywhere else that I could see. But Hans’s saddle was too low and needed some professional fiddling with. So I fiddled for a while until it was exactly sort of right. The place was deserted.
The fiddling took longer than I thought it would. “Come on,” I said. “Let’s go.”
We were going to pedal straight home but suddenly decided to go up the alley. It’s steep and fun. Well, steep anyway. Hans cussed a little. Later we passed the Skcubrats at Golden Cove. Hans had that covfefe look on his face. “Want to grab a quick one?” I asked.
“Sure!” he brightened. Inside the coffee shop a big dude walked over to the staff and held up his iPad. Never said a word. Stuck it in their faces to read while they mutely filled the order.
“Did that guy just order coffee without saying anything?” I said.
“I guess the ultimate goal of computing is almost here. You don’t even have to talk to people.”
“That’s not the ultimate goal,” Hans said.
“To replace them.”
We got coffee and were going to slam it and run but instead we sat outside and took in the view. “Just for a sec,” I said. There was a table of Chinese ladies and I tried to listen in.
“What are they saying?” Hans asked.
“Something about coffee,” I said.
He looked at me skeptically.
Somehow it took longer than I thought it would to drink that tiny cup of coffee. The Chinese ladies weren’t actually talking about coffee, it turned out, rather, they were talking about shopping. Or maybe about religion. With each attempt to interpret, Hans got more quizzical. Finally one of the ladies blurted out in perfect English, “You have to take charge of your life! You are the only one who can!”
“Let’s go,” I said.
We started up Hawthorne and it was taking forever. I was going to miss my phone call if we didn’t kill it. “Come on,” I said, speeding away from him.
“No, it’s okay,” he said. “Go on without me. I know the way home.”
It was a super beautiful day and we had been talking about Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory, and about the time I drove Pete Seeger from the airport in Amarillo to the hootinanny in Pampa for a performance, and how Pete had told me about coming to Pampa with Woody in the 1940s and how Woody had climbed a pumpjack. “He told me to follow him,” Pete had said, “but I wouldn’t. Woody was crazy.”
I slowed down and we kept talking.
We got home and I dashed into the bedroom where it was quiet and I could talk uninterrupted. I pulled out my phone and the calendar notification came on. I was an hour early.
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