I’ve been saving up for some time now for a Mini Cooper. I’ve mentioned my lust for this vehicle before and it hasn’t waned in the least bit. I had to turn in my Jeep Cherokee when the lease ended in November and since then, Holly and I have been functioning with one vehicle – her beloved Turbo Beetle. It’s been a bit of a cramp on our lifestyle, but the savings have been kind of nice. Only having one car note is nice on the pocketbook. Well, this warm comfy feeling for being thrifty ended today.
Today is one of those crazy days. Holly needed her vehicle and we need to be somewhere shortly after she gets off of work, so I had to be near her office for when she got off work. Normally, I would just meet her at her office in my own vehicle and we’d leave hers there until we got done with whatever we had to do. Since we only have one car, that idea was out the window. Luckily, I didn’t have any appointments with any clients, so I decided that I would go to the library and work there for the day.
The main branch of the Nashville Public Library is really, really nice. Spending the day there is no cramp on my style what so ever. I like to go to the 3rd floor and sit next to the wall of windows overlooking the Church Street Park. They offer free hi-speed Internet access for free, as long as you have a network card (NIC) and an ethernet cable. Sitting at the large tables, with the comfortable wooden chairs in near total silence makes it quite easy to work. If I get sleepy, I’ll plug in some headphones and crank some music in iTunes. I get a ton of work done on days like these and it’s almost become a treat the few times I’ve spent the day working there.
Everything was looking just hunky dory until we got out of the house late. It took a little longer than normal due to having to give Tumini her antibiotics, she’s doing great by the way, and we only had 15 minutes to get Holly to work. She up for review any day, and I really didn’t like the idea of her being late, so as we sped along the Interstate, I made the decision that I’d walk from her office down to the Library. It’s a bit of a walk, but I could use the exercise. Besides, if she opted to drop me off as originally planned, she could be 20 – 30 minutes late due to traffic, etc. We got her to her office pretty much on time and I headed off down West End towards downtown.
So just how far did I have to walk? Well I couldn’t get an accurate mileage from Mapquest or Yahoo Maps because they don’t give the same path that I walked. For some reason they insist you take the Interstate instead of just going to Broadway. Anyway, based on the blocks alone, I walked approximately 40 blocks and it took about an hour. It was a long walk to say the least. The day was bright and sunny and it was around 70F so you’d think I would have had a nice stroll enjoying the gorgeous day, right? I did for about 2 blocks. That’s when my backpack strap broke. Oh did I fail to mention that I have about 100 pounds of computer equipment on my back?
OK, it doesn’t weight 100 pounds, but it sure does feel like it. I have a laptop backpack full of stuff I “need” and after about the second block the left strap makes this “pop” sound and all the weight shifts to my right shoulder. Yeah, I was geeking out by “double strapping” my backpack and not looking cool by only using one strap. 8) However, given the weight of the backpack and the distance I had to walk, I think you’d have done the same thing. 🙂 Anyway, I stop for a second to remove the backpack and see what happened. It seems that Gracie thought that the buckle for the left strap was a chew toy and she had chewed it into a unrecognizable wad of plastic. Luckily I was able to figure out a way to “engineer” a way to make use of the left strap and was able to continue on my way.
I had the wind at my back and the majority of the walk was downhill, so I couldn’t have asked for better circumstances really. Unfortunately, with the weight of the backpack and the ambient temperature, my back started a nice sweat. Since Holly and I have a “thing” to go to after work, I’m wearing a nice shirt and as I make my way downtown, it’s getting wetter and wetter. By the time I reach the library my entire back is wet with sweat and there’s a wide dark line running down the back of the shirt. I just keep trying to look on the bright side and not let these things get to me. “Think of all the exercise you just got!”, I think to myself as I’m finally able to put down my 100lb backpack.
I’m an hour behind schedule, so I decide to forgo getting coffee for the moment. That’s right, I haven’t had my coffee yet, so you can imagine I’m a little cranky to begin with. The Main Library has a Provence Breads & Cafe located on the main floor, but they don’t have an open WiFi connection, so I opt to just go upstairs and get to work since I won’t be able to get anything done in the cafe and food and beverages aren’t allowed in the library. I have to admit, it’s a tough call when you’re weighing deadlines and productivity over your morning brew, but work won out this time.
I made my way upstairs and found an open table near the window where I like to sit. I quitely unpacked my laptop, power supply and paperwork. As the laptop started booting into Windows, I plugged in the NIC and opened the front zipper of my bag to pull out my ethernet cable. As I reached in the pocket, all I found was air. It seems I had not packed my ethernet cable. 😐 Translation = I was screwed. The library only offer a wired connection and without an ethernet cable I had no way of connecting to the Internet. My blood went from normal to boiling in a nanosecond. Here it was I had two WiFi cards and tons of other accessories, but no freakin’ ethernet cable. NO ETHERNET CABLE?!?! I felt like George Costanza silently screaming “Serenity Now! Serenity Now!“, doing everything I could to contain my frustration in the middle of a dead silent library.
With steam pouring out of my ears, my hair standing on end, and my eyes bugged out from all the internal pressure being contained my by sealed lips, I quietly, and calmly packed everything back into my backpack. I slowly stood up and with the grace of a gentleman heaved my backpack onto my shoulders and softly walked down the three flights of stairs to the street below. By the time I made it back to the street, I had regained some measure of mental proficiently for cognitive thought – instead of silent raging anger and profanity – and decided that I would have to go to a coffee shop for the day. The nearest one that I knew had WiFi was one of my new in-between hangouts Caffeine. The only problem was that it was about 15 blocks away. What’s another mile right?
Two hours after I left Holly at her office, I was finally planted somewhere where I could get some work done. I was enjoying my first cup of coffee as I sat dripping with sweat and red faced. I now have a blister on my right foot, my shoulders ache and my nice shirt isn’t so nice anymore. Clearly this was a cascade of small things that went wrong, but it just goes to show you how not having a car can impact you severely in today’s American Culture. So either I’m going to have to get a WiFi Backpack, or finally put my money where my mouth is and buy that Mini Cooper. If I’m lucky it’ll have Bluetooth built-in! 🙂
What about a bike? Throw your gear in the panniers (pack some rain gear for good measure) and head on out. If it’s a decent enough bike to ride but nothing great to look at, you shouldn’t have hassles with bike theives. 😉
If you hoofed it about an hour, you did between 3.5-4 miles. Check out the Toyota Scion (X_a not X_b!) Cheaper, a bit more practical, and NOT english!-B.
Love those Mini’s! I’m hoping by the time I’m able to get mine, I can get one of those BT-enabled models!
Or move to a city like New York that actually has mass transit options…..