BSNYC Road Dairy: Getting There is Half the Pun

Yesterday, I arrived in Austin, Texas, where Mellow Johnny's will host a 10:30am "urban ride" today, followed by a signing-cum-costume-cum-pageant-cum-soirée later this evening. (As a published author, I am obligated to use the word "cum" in its non-sexual sense, though this does not preclude my clicking on the "audio pronunciation" over and over again and giggling.) If you are an Austinite, or Austinian, or are Austintatious, or whatever you call people from Austin, I hope to see you there. In any case, here is the view I enjoyed from the Congress Avenue Bridge yesterday evening:

The bridge was lined with people waiting to see the largest urban bat colony in North America spring into action, though I was content to simply stop briefly, take in the sunset, and continue on my way. (The Congress Avenue Bridge was cool back when there were, like, two or three bats under it, but now that it's become gentrified I'm totally over it.) Also, I had to continue testing my bicycle to make sure my elaborate bar end roll cage cockpit configuration survived the flight from New York. (Hundreds of bats could probably roost comfortably in its curlicues.) Speaking of elaborate bar end configurations, I recently received a photograph of this one from a reader:

We've all seen the traditional road bike drop bar setup, but when you see it recreated with a series of bar ends and a pair of flat bar brake levers you only appreciate its simplicity more. Incredibly, this configuration manages to provide for all the same hand positions a road bike cockpit would, with the added benefit that it is segmented so that it can be broken down completely--which, given the fact that it was bolted to a folding bike, the rider apparently needs to do.

Fortunately, the airline failed to destroy my bicycle in transit, so at least for the Austin leg of my trip it remains rideable. As for the flight itself, it started out well enough. I had my view:

My pretentious reading material (which looked oddly out of place outside of its usual venue, which is the bathroom):

And even World Cup soccer (or "football"), which played (silently, sans annoying horns) on the headrest in front of me:

I'm not even remotely a soccer fan, but I do appreciate the truly international character of the event, so it was somehow reassuring to know I could glance at it occasionally if I wanted. In particular, I like the juxtaposition of wildly different countries and cultures that the World Cup affords, and this particular match featured the sex-tastic fabulosity of Brazil (home of the "Carnaval") vs. the uptight repression of the People's Republic of Korea (home of Kim Jong Il). North Korea is like that kid on the block with the crazy parents, and you know something's a big deal when even he's allowed to come out and play.

I was quite comfortable and all was going smoothly until I heard a horrifying rumble and a terrifying tearing sound, followed by a great rush of air. My first thought was that the aircraft had lost a wing and that I was about to be sucked from the fuselage and ejected into the stratosphere, so I grabbed the arm of the gentleman sitting next to me, sobbed uncontrollably, and wailed about the injustice of my fate. (Oddly, the gentleman was unperturbed, perhaps under the impression I was a North Korean soccer fan disappointed that my countrymen had just missed yet another scoring opportunity.) After a few moments though it became clear that the airplane was indeed still intact, and that the ghastly sound was emanating from the passenger behind me:

It was, I can say without exaggeration, the loudest snoring I've ever heard.

Incidentally, it's worth noting that the passenger looks not unlike Rip Torn:

Though I would wager Torn himself never snored so loud, even while sleeping off one of his famously "epic" alcoholic rampages.

Peering behind me, I noted that his knees were contacting my seatback, so I sort of flailed and flopped around in an attempt to wake him. However, this only served to dislodge his head slightly:

Turning back to my magazine, I attempted to lose myself in prose, but it proved impossible. As a rule, I do not listen to music while I read, preferring instead to focus wholly on the words or wholly on the music, but in this case I realized the only way I was going to be able to finish the short story I was enjoying ("Lenny Hearts Eunice" by Gary Shteyngart) would be through the judicious application of headphones. Unfortunately, the sounds of his slumber penetrated almost everything I played, even when I did so at top volume. In fact, the only recording with the right combination of noise, feedback, and dissonance to shield me from the series of snorts, gasps, and wheezes he was emitting was "Songs the Lord Taught Us" by the Cramps:

You may want to obtain a copy lest you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Anyway, the passenger did stir occasionally, but only to perform a series of hacking coughs, undoubtedly caused by the sorry state of his snore-ravaged trachea. Then, he'd just start snoring again:

Apart from this, the flight was fine, and I even got to see Brazil score a goal. For some reason, this caused the scorer to break down in tears, and he had to be caressed and consoled like a crying babe by a teammate:

The only other inconvenience I encountered was at the airport in Austin, where I was detained and interrogated for almost three hours due to the fact that I was not wearing a LiveStrong bracelet. Incidentally, it's hot here--so hot that the multiple LiveStrong bracelets everybody is forced to wear have melted together on their wrists in great misshapen yellow hunks. There are people on bikes, though, as this picture proves:

There are also margaritas:

I look forward to enjoying more this evening.

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