August 19, 2006
This morning I went to the Outback and talked to the kitchen manager. He was cool and friendly, and seemed to like the idea of having me around as extra weight to work with on the schedule. I think I’m essentially hired. He said he’d call me tomorrow after getting in touch with my old boss in Allentown.
With that said and done for the day, I found myself with a whole Saturday to kill, and the city of Eugene to explore. I had breakfast at a nearby IHOP, and thought I may as well ask about a job there too. They were interested, and told me to go back Monday morning and talk to the kitchen manager. It occurred to me that I’d have to work my possible schedule for a possible second job around my possibly yet to be determined possible schedule at Outback, so I didn’t apply anywhere else. The timing and logistics were making my head hurt.
Since I’m so close to the ocean now, I’ve been thinking I’d like to complete the official “ocean to ocean” aspect of this trip before getting too wrapped up here in Eugene. Tomorrow, Sunday August 29th, would be the day. The public library had a 20 minute per-day time limit on the computers, so I left a quick note announcing that I’d reach The Pacific tomorrow.
The library was on the second floor of a big city hall complex with a lower level parking garage. While I was in the library my bike was locked to an out-of the-way railing on the concrete walkway. As I was leaving, this guy approached me and said, “Is that your bike out there?” Normally that question is followed by the typical twenty questions from someone who’s curious about my trip, but this guy must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
“It’s illegal to park a bicycle on the upper level near City Hall!”
“Oh… I didn’t know.” (I hadn’t seen any signs or anything)
“Springfield ordinance blah blah blah (He recited it from memory) states that it’s subject to a one hundred dollar fine and seizure of the bicycle.”
“I’m sorry… I didn’t know.”
“Well ignorance of the law is not an excuse! If I were to write you a ticket, you’d have to explain that to the judge, and prove that it’s your bike!”
“Those rails were recently painted! Don’t ever let me catch you with a bike up here again!”
And this man marched off in plain clothes, head held high. I’ll never know what sort of official he was… maybe none at all! I was shocked to have been going about my business one moment, and suddenly finding myself the subject of such wrathful, authoritarian fury the next. Wow.
I’ve always found the best way to get out of such situations is to appease the person so they go away as quickly as possible, even if they’re offensive and “disrespect me.” Otherwise, that could have been quite a scene… and trouble! What a poor, unhappy man. I hope he felt better after depositing such a load of grief on an unsuspecting stranger.
Since the Springfield library had the computer time limit, and was so, uh… unfriendly, I sought out the University of Oregon, and the college library, which was closed today. Oh well.
Now here’s one of those neat little things that unfolds on a trip like this, without even trying. About a week ago I was bragging about the lack of stress in my daily life, posting about how I had to decide whether to stop in Eugene or Portland. A friend emailed me and wrote “You should definitely stop in Eugene, and run a mile for Pre.” She was referring to Steve Prefontaine, the legendary 1970s Oregon track star who died too young.
Skip ahead to last night – I turn on the tv in my motel room, and there on HBO is none other than “Without Limits,” a movie about Prefontaine. Then today, as I rode through campus in search of the library, I turned a corner and Hayward Field was surprisingly before me… the Oregon stadium and track where Pre raced, depicted in the movie I saw last night. Pretty cool, eh?
I didn’t care to do any running in my cleated cycling shoes, so tonight I went back and lounged in my room, hoping to be up early tomorrow. There’s an ocean out there waiting for me. Life is good.