Monday, May 12, 2014

Mile 712: The Smell of Napalm in the Morning

I just rolled up next to a guy eating something out of a styrofoam cup. He was "driving" with the windows down, both hands off the steering wheel, doing 75 down Southwest Freeway. You see some crazy stuff on Houston roads.

And you smell some smells.

When I left the house this morning after my typical Monday-day-off-sleep-in, I got on Southwest Freeway to go meet my brother, BIGJEW, for breakfast. I scooted across to the fastlane, eased off the throttle, and settled in. Just ahead was an ominous rain cloud preparing to strike like a sinister villain in an old cartoon rubbing his hands together and twirling his handlebar mustache. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the smell of the impending rain.

In a car, you miss out on a number of things that you notice on a bike. Sudden temperature changes when you ride down a hill into a low spot. The sounds of the tires on a fully-loaded 18-wheeler rolling down the highway. And the smells.

Hands down, what stands out most when you are on a motorcycle. The smells.

After breakfast, I made my way down to M. D. Anderson Hospital to visit my Gypsy brother, Spidermonkey, whose dad is having surgery today. Traffic was rough coming back into the city, so I peeled off the freeway to go up Hillcroft so I could hop on the HOV lane to the Medical Center.

Going up Hillcroft, you have to go through Little India. Lots to see. Lots of people. But when you go through Little India, what you notice the most are all the smells. I imagine it smells a lot like India. Mainly car exhaust, diesel fumes, and powerful whiffs of curry and spices.

Then, up the HOV lane, almost to the West Loop, you have to go right by a garbage collection and recycling center. Oh, the smell.

I get to the motorcycle parking area at Methodist hospital, shut down the bike, take off my helmet, and start walking over to MDA. I see my Gypsy brother, talk for a while, and just enjoy the beautiful morning. Simple as that.

When I left the Medical Center, I decided to make my way back home through the residential neighborhoods around Rice University before getting back on the freeway. No reason. Just because. And I as I rode, I blocked out the sounds of the construction and the big SUVs. I took a deep breath there on the thin roads of West U, and just enjoyed the gentle smells of the oak trees, the flowers, and the freshly cut grass.

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