July 23rd, 2007

Cute overload

Extreme Commuting

Oxfordshire is flooding. Truck festival was canceled because the field was underwater, roads are closed, and colleagues' conversations about the weather have become less boring but more frequent in a tiresome zero sum game. Despite all this, I chose to take my normal route into work today: via the towpath by the river. As I turned onto the path, a smirking fisherman lurched into my path from beneath a bridge and burbled "Turn back!"

"Consider the source", I thought to myself. "This man enjoys a sport which uniquely combines cruelty to animals and boredom." Fortified by this reasoning, I cycled on undaunted; and was pleased to find that he was very nearly wrong. Sure, quite a lot of the path was underwater, but never deeper than the crucial distance between the ground and the axis of my bike pedals... except for one short stretch into which I plowed, slowed, and stopped. Faced with the inconceivable alternative of turning back - thus making myself even later for work and effectively conceding that the fisherman was right and hence that fishing was good - I dismounted elegantly into the brown, knee-deep water and pushed my bike with all the steadfast grace of a man striking a blow for piscine rights while fighting a surprisingly vigorous undertow.

After a few metres I was back in the saddle, triumphantly saluting the surprised inhabitants of longboats not expecting anyone to approach from my direction, and contemplating the suddenly-relevant irony that waterproof boots keep water in as well as out. On arrival at work I emptied my boots and wrung out my socks in quiet triumph. My air of manly courage (and faint odour of river water) lasted all day, only slightly marred by an intermittent conviction that I would contract Weil's disease.

If the script writers for XXX III ('Extreme just got extremer... to the max') want to get in contact with me, I'm happy to discuss my fee. I'm confident that white-water cycling could be the new parkour, and I can do all my own stunts...