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May 1, 2017

Return to Riverside

So like, in the morning I wake up and turn off the alarm.

I'm getting ready to go to the airport, but I know when I leave that I'm not going to make it. I leave the house 2 hours before the flight departs, and that's not really enough time. There's a train in my way, and then the TSA lines are bad, and I have to walk to the north end of the airport, and by the time i get there, I clear securtiy, and make it out to the gate. The gate is closed. The plane is sitting there. But they've already bumped me and put someone in my seat.

So now, I'm going to have to fly to Phoenix, then to Ontario.

Like, this is not great. It's the first flight I've missed on this project (and I've been doing this for 9 months). I message my boss to tell him I'll be in late, but he's also not coming in until later tonight. So, birds of a feather.

She gives me 2 boarding passes and I waddle down to my gate.

After about an hour, they let me board. I sit in 2A and tell the guy in 2C this, "there's a dude sitting in this middle seat. he's in the bathroom." He looks at me. I'm lying. Probably he knows I'm lying. But he just nods his head. I put on my headphones, close my eyes, and lean against the inside of the plane cabin.

Southwest flies 3 seating configurations on their planes: They seat 137, 143, and 175(? not certain on the 175 one).
And I've already asked her when I got my preboard pass how many seats are sold. So, I think she said 121, when means there's roughly 20 empty seats. All of this goes into the calculations.

It works, and he never asked where the guy went to when we took off.

I'm sort of surprised that we don't take off and fly due west. Instead, we head south, and then southwest. Like...who knew that we'd fly a different flight pattern if we went to Phoenix instead of Ontario right?

But it's kind of nice to see some different landscapes beneath us. And I'm shooting occasionally out the window, as we climb over the rocky mountains west of Colorado Springs.

I'm going to Ontario today. Like, it's so hard to keep up I just can't say. But imagine if you flew somewhere every monday and the guy just spun a roulette wheel every Monday to decide where you'd go. That's about what my life is like. And I mean...it's kind of exciting, but it's also kind of draining and unnecessary. Superficial and spurious.

I got a call from management about their expectations. Apparently, they're expecting me to work the same number of hours that I bill. And, based on my billable hours, they're having a hard time understanding why my presentation isn't ready. But, partly, it's not my fault. Partly, it's because we've been bouncing around the Los Angeles basin like pachinko balls in a blender.

Like...I could never tell you what the last two weeks were like in Los Angeles. But let me try...every day, we'd show up at the same building at 10920 wilshire blvd. Then, we'd hunt for a place to sit. Every day, we sat on a different floor....5th, 6th, 2nd, 8th, 11th....you could never know for sure. It was just insanity. They'd cram us all into these large conference rooms, looking out over Century City, and beyond, Los Angeles proper.

And, if I didn't get anything done during the day, then maybe I could be forgiven. I dunno. Every night, we went out to Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Marina Del Rey, Malibu...you name it.

Like...I'm trying to cut costs, so I'm living in a shed in someone's back yard. There's no plumbing or anything of course. Like...basically, I'm in a Grapes of Wrath situation.

And then, after 2 weeks in Los Angeles, they want us back in Riverside. Like...just when I was starting to figure out the LAX airport. Just when I finally figured out how to get from the gate to the parking garage, they shuffle us back to Riverside.

So, I ride my bike from Los Angeles to the Ontario airport. This is on last Thursday. I take the long way, by taking Mulholland Drive, from I-5 to the Highway 101. And, then, I get on I-10 heading east. Eventually, I get to Ontario, and I park in short term parking. And I go inside, and board the flight and we take off. And when we take off, I'm looking for the ocean. Like...I seriously think we're taking off from LAX. But we're not. We're taking off from ONT. Obviously. I've just driven over an hour to get here. But I'm looking outside and I decide that we've taken off heading east from LAX, against the prevailing winds, because we're not over the ocean. So, that's the only logical explanation. Then, I realize...we're not taking off from LAX. We're taking off from ONT. Heading west.


Like...I do this. I wake up, and I don't know where I am. I mean...I can sort it out. I can figure it out. But I do wake up and i have to think about where I am. This is nothing to be proud of. It's a sign of things to come. And it isn't pretty.

Every week, I go to the bank and I take out $9,000.00 in cash because, let's be honest....no one needs that much money in the banks and I trust them as far as I can throw them.


Riverside is like, you're sort of floating near the surface of the Los Angeles basin. Like, you're near Los Angeles, by some measure. But no one with any sense would ever go there. Like, it's just too insane. The traffic is too intense.

Lane Splitting: Everyone dies, not everyone lives.

I don't think that, in the long run, i would survive riding a KTM across the Los Angeles basin, lane-splitting, et al. Like, it's too dangerous. I do it, and you rationalize it. Everyone does. I'm not the only one doing it. I see other bikes doing it. But, every time you see a car change lanes, a part of you thinks, "that guy would have killed me if I was next to him". Like, you see it happening. Every unsignalled lane change is a sharp and painful death.

And, I see this. Every day. Now, mind you, I'm not seeing crashed bikes every day. But I see the opportunity for crashes. I see that things aren't safe. That commuting out here, the odds of death in a daily commute are probably 1:100. And, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that I've been out here for 9 months. Part of me wants to be here. Part of me wants to be anywhere but here.

Like...part of me says, "Make hay while the sun shines. Don't let this slip between your fingers." And, another part of me says, "Fuck these people. Get a Honda Africa Twin, and ride down to Tierra Del Fuego."

And, when Jen and I were flying down to Cancun, my glasses fell apart. Like, after how ever many years....I think I got these glasses in Portland...the right stem just fell off while we were on the flight from Denver to Cancun. It fell down inside my shirt. And, we tried to super-glue it down in Mexico, but lately it's been falling apart again, so that several times a day, I have to put my glasses back together while I'm driving the car.

So, I'm driving back from UC Riverside today, to my house in Mission Grove, and I'm deathly afraid that my glasses are going to come apart while I'm driving 90 mph down the road. Like...this is suicidal. This is insane.

Like...I'm seriously going 93 mph. Like I need this shit. Get the fuck out of the HOV lane if you're going less than 80 mph. Who has time for this shit?

Life is so short. Why do we trade our hours for dollars? What sort of insanity is that? Like, basically, we're incarcerating ourselves. For paper currency.

Finally, I can't stand it any more.

"Hey, sunshine...can you get me the chicken?"

"You want the kicking chicken? With veggies?"


Like....she knows what i want. I'm basically a retarded idiot. "I want the chicken." That's all I can muster. So pathetic.

We land at ONT and pull into gate 403 and I'm so excited to be back in an airport I'm familiar with. After 2 weeks at LAX. Like...I'm walking a tight-rope 24/7. I'm bouncing back and forth between Mountain Time and Pacific Time like a ping-pong ball in a dryer. I go outside, and this is where the rubber meets the road. Is my bike here? Am I at the right airport? Is this where I left it? Has it been confiscated? Is it still here?

Like...I can't tell you what it's like to walk out into a parking lot in California and then see your bike. Like...yeah....my brain says I left it here on Thursday. But every time I see that fucking KTM in the parking lot, I break into a big shit-eating grin like....Holy Fuck....I still got it. I'm still in the game.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 1, 2017 at 11:30 PM


Love it. More please!

Posted by: Joe on May 8, 2017 at 4:34 AM

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