George V. Reilly

To Work I Go


I look out the window. Driz­zling—not too heavy—I’ll ride to work. Pack my clothes into the panier bag. Spandex tights, coat, yellow jacket, helmet, gloves: on they go. Bike’s in the garage, seems okay, slap on the bag. Pull it out, reset the odometer. 17 minutes today?

Ignite the blinky lights, pull away. Down the side roads, until I’m compelled to take the arterial. Press the crosswalk button, wait for a break in the traffic. Two minutes, three, does this fucking light ever change? Off like a shot, past Jefferson Park. Maybe they’ll finish by next summer. Hit the next light at 2:30. A long, gentle uphill for the next 8 minutes. Next left, zig and zag back to 14th. The prettiest block on the whole ride: gardens, a much-tended traffic circle, craftsman bungalows.

Keep going past the apartment blocks. Wait my turn at Beacon Ave, go through. Busier now, buses on 14th here. Past Mira’s, past the school, road zigs. Pass the highest point, buses go left, I don’t. Road narrows, start descending gently. It’s all downhill from here.

Brake hard at PacMed when 14th runs out. Wait to get onto 15th. A break in the traffic. Off again. Hurtling down to the Rizal Bridge. Amazon’s overflow parking on either side. If I don’t have to stop at the light, I’ll hit 30 without breaking a sweat. Fly across the bridge, hope to fuck it’s not icy.

Watch my mirror. Can I get into the left lane? Yes, then turn left at Weller. Down the hill, hard right at 10th. I’m in the In­ter­na­tion­al District now, unmissable when I take a left at King. Downhill again, slower this time. Too many in­ter­sec­tions, oblivious pedes­tri­ans, parkers heedlessly opening doors.

Right at Sixth, around the Post Office. Jackson, wait to make the left. Only two blocks, dodge the buses. Fourth and Jackson, nasty, nasty. Make the right, get into the left lane. Two more blocks. Pre­fontaine’s diagonal gets me to Third and Yesler. Half a block to Smith Tower. Eighteen minutes. Slipping. Do better next time.

Up the steps, through the corridor. Into the bike cage. Not too crowded today–the rain’s good for something. Wiggle the bike down the ramp. Grunt, hoist bike into the air, impale the wheel on a hook. A bicycle abattoir it is. Climb the stairs to Seven. Read email, cool down, shower soon.

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