April 7, 2016
As Nancy and I rode away for the “incident ” today, I was planning the title to this post. I have thought of titles to stories and never put the pen to paper to write them. But this story just has to be told. It is just believable enough that it could happen to two innocent cyclists grabbing a soda during a break on a warm afternoon ride.
Our get away route stopped us at a local elementary school. As retired educators this felt like a very safe place to be…and we thought about heading to the office to see who might listen to our tale. A school office is definitely a good place to hide out from any potential “followers”. But then we would have a headline like “Retired teachers turned cyclists seek refuge from drunk stranger at local school”. Nah, this great school did not need any bad press associated with this situation. I had created enough memories in the old building as it was my first school assignment in 1980. I signed the walls before they were toppled to make way for West Park II. Good place, good people, no bad karma for West Park. We determined we were safe to go our separate ways home after taking this selfie to remember the moment!
Nancy and I ride together often. Depending on the length of the route and direction the wind is blowing we meet at the school, or a bar near the edge of town that has good food. Today we met at the bar and decided a short ride followed by a soda was enough for Carol (me on the left), who is recovering from Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease. The ride was lovely, a round the park and back to our starting location. We had an audience of men watching as we locked the bikes up and entered, got our sodas, and this is where we missed the boat, er bike, er didn’t observe our situation closely. A coke to go would have been perfect. A coke to stay was not a good idea as the men at one table were so intoxicated they could not sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to their friend who could barely walk. But walk he did right over to our table where he commented on the bikes, on our wedding rings and then left us alone. Returning just a few minutes later he made a few lewd pick- up lines that even I the former Speech Pathologist could hardly understand through his cheap beer breath. Then, he insisted on showing us his bike, as we had apparently taken his “tie-up”spot. If you have been around Hermiston long you would recognize this fella, but even more so the bike that matches his personality.
I directed my eyes to him and said “We are trying to visit with each other, would you please leave?” He then tried to tell us how to get rid of “blokes” like him and even wanted us to practice. He hung on for what seemed like a century before Nancy’s “nasty” gaze finally chased him off. It was time for us to skip this place, so I grabbed my gear and headed across the room for a quick rest stop. Just coming out the restroom door I heard some hollering and laughing and saw Nancy step away from the table as the Barmaid was helping Romeo off the floor. He had tried to cozy up to Nancy and he missed the bar stool seat. Oh my goodness, Romeo and all his buddies and the Barmaid were all at the door at the same time we were going out. Two more of these “fellers” were in the parking lot as we hastley unlocked the bikes to make our escape. They were discussing if we were in good humor so they could tell us something more. “No,” Nancy said “We are not happy right now and we are leaving!:” The Barmaid had Romeo by the arm and said “Have you had more to drink than what I have served you?” Romeo kept asking “Which way you girls riding?” We did not speak, we did not make eye contact, we road.
I actually took a longer way home. We probably only rode 5-6 miles, and not very fast. It was a great day, and almost a perfect ride. Next time we stop there for a soda we’ll look inside first … we want the twenty something hunks from the construction crew checking us out…..Just kidding.