Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Soylent, biking, Sandy

For the past few months, I've been consuming Soylent (soylent.me), a flavourless powder that replaces food. I bought some glass canning jars, and put some scoops of dry powder into each. When it's lunchtime, I add water to a jar, shake until mixed, and drink. Fast, and both cheaper and healthier than cafeteria food. Boring, but it does the job.

Once a month, I get a box shipped to me with enough nutrients to last me two weeks. Purolator Courier usually doesn't honour my request to leave it at my door (despite me having a "Signature Not Required" barcoded sticker posted), so I have to go pick it up at a Purolator office, seemly picked at random. Last month, it was an office not too far from where I live. This month, it was 10 kilometers south of me. Rather than waste money on a taxi, I decided to pick it up on my bike.

Saturday morning, my goal was to wake up early, and arrive at the Purolator office on my bike just as it opened at 9 AM. That didn't happen, and my bike started wobbling along the road at 10 AM. I was grateful for my city's nice bike paths, and for Google Maps, which had plotted a route that kept me almost entirely in parks and streets with dedicated bike lanes.

Despite an excellent map, I managed to get many kilometers east of my destination, and had to pedal westwards along a busy street. My front tire fell into the groove of a streetcar track; I nearly fell over, but by flapping my legs and elbows wildly, I wibbled back to vertical. Someone in a convertible yelled, "Epic recovery!" as she passed.

I stopped by someone wearing a fancy gold watch, and asked him the time. He pulled out his phone to check, saying the watch never had the right time. I suppose a nice watch still has usefulness as jewelry, even when it's broken.

By the lakeshore, there is a nice bike highway running parallel to the roadway. It even has stoplights for the bikes - I am quite impressed. I rode along it for a bit until I got to the courier office.

I then realized how much harder it is to pedal a bike when it is loaded down with cargo.
I then realized what it means when Google Maps shows a 135-metre difference in elevation along a route.
I then realized that 18 gears isn't enough to get you up a hill safely when an impatient taxi is behind you.
I then realized that pedestrians found my coughing, panting, and high-pitched wheezing simultaneously amusing and disturbing.

Then I found something better than Google Maps: an expert bike rider. An ancient Vietnamese man pulled in front of me on a bike loaded down with vegetables. He kept up a steady pace, not accelerating frantically when taxis zipped in behind. He did not swerve to the side of the road when cars crowded his lane, but kept in a straight line. His timing was impeccable, arriving at intersections just as the lights turned green, so he never had to slow or stop. I followed his every move (except for spitting tobacco juice), and the kilometers rolled by easily. By the time he turned to a different direction, I had learned to bike calmly and confidently, just as he did. He should give lessons.

32 kilometers (20 miles) later, I was home. I unpacked my Soylent, showered, and then hopped on the bus to meet Sandy at the Phillipine Independence Day celebration downtown.

Sandy and I ate too much Phillipino food (deep-fried battered quails eggs, barbecue pig intestines in vinegar, and fried sugar-soaked bread), and then walked down to the lakeshore. We talked and talked, about random things like the island airport expansion and the religious beliefs we were taught growing up. We then caught a streetcar back to the subway (one of the old models, not the new Bombardier cars), hugged, and went to our separate homes.

Sunday I went to the gym, but was then too sore from that and the biking to do anything else that day.

So that was my weekend.
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