Running across the bridge put the sun in my face, the wind in my hair, and blew up a fresh salt-air breeze that was both bracing and enervating; there's something about the shore that makes me want to just sit and do nothing - bask in the sun, and generally be a lazy mammal. But I ignored my instincts (unlike at this particular moment in time, when I ought to be running and am writing instead) and kept on running.
Just over the bridge was an honest-to-gosh fetid bog. The surface of a still water had been covered with a thick, ochre-green organic goo. The wind rippled the tops of the reeds that surrounded the bog like a grassy ocean - but the surface of the bog was completely still. It looked to be about the consistency of old puddin'. The smell was apalling. I kept thinking of Labyrinth, and Luudo's "Smeeeells Bad!" in the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Anyway - I ran out to the bridge to Ocean City and back. It was a good run. Afterwards, I found Mark and Dot on the beach, and went combing for seashells by myself. There were quite a few seashells with perfect little round holes in them - at first thought, ready-made for putting on a necklace (which ultimately I did, in fact do). On second thought, it occurred to me that those holes were the apertures through which the critters which once inhabited those shells were murdered - drilled by the cute little birds I saw scuttling up and down the beach, in and out of the surf. Ah nature ... so lovely, and yet so icky under the surface of it.
So I gathered a few shells. Then came dinner. Then came sleep.
The next morning, I was paralytically undermotivated to do anything at all. But, I finally dragged myself into action, and conviced Mark and Dot to ride bikes with me out to Ocean City -- the ride was longer than we expected. We wandered the boardwalk when we finally came to it, and for breakfast I had cinnamon-roll french toast - which is every bit as good as it sounds. I waxed nostalgaic about the times we came to Ocean City when I was but a kidlet. For old time's sake, I got a slice of Max and Mancko's pizza, which was every bit as good as I remembered it. Funny how so often those memories from childhood are exagerrated in their goodness - but this time at least, my nostalgia was justified.
After a night of carousing and arguing at Twisties and back at the rental - I got up and packed my crap and went home. I meant to stay for the day and come home in the evening - but Dot seemed displeased at the notion, but too polite to say so. So I skedaddled, after breakfast in Sea Isle with Mark - the very same place where a year ago he was toxically hung over and unable to eat. On the Atlantic City Expressway on the way home - it happened.
The traffic was pretty intense, which was weird considering that it was noon on a Saturday - people ought to be heading TO the shore, not home from it. The line of traffic next to me stopped suddenly as sometimes happens - and the guy behind me and to my left swerved and braked wildly to avoid slamming into the SUV in front of him. He failed, and clipped her bumper, and then caromed off of her and into the back of my car. There was a deep-register CRUNCH from the back of my car, though I wasn't forced off the road, or even apparently hit too hard.
When I stopped the car and got out, I found out why. The bikes on the rack on the back of the car had absorbed the majority of the impact - both of them were twisted by the crash, and the bike rack had slewed off the back of my car and onto the side.
I did some quick thinking. I realized I didn't want to stick around for the cops to show up. Outstanding parking tickets in Philly. Expired license. Etc etc. So - I told the guy who hit me that since there wasn't any damage to my car, and my bikes were both free, and worth about that much - I was going to just leave. I'm not sure I could have gotten insurance to replace those bikes since they were both free - and in any case, if I were to be reported as in an accident, my insurance rates would skyrocket. Again. So I left.
It wasn't until I got most of the way home that I realized my alignment was way off - and maybe I should have stuck around after all... who knows how much that will cost to replace?
Anyway - I was outraged at my bad luck. Lost my job - and now both my bikes were ruined. There's no way to do a triathlon without a bike - so therefore my triathlon career was over in one fell crunch. Without any income, I would have no way to replace the bikes. Blasted bad luck -- cursed entropy gods!
When I got home I unpacked my stuff, cleaned up, checked email. Then I went to Lowell's for game-night. He had good food, and we played a rousing game of "Unexploded Cow", then schmoozed for a while, and I went home.
The next day - I was off to DC. Of to Destiny? Maybe? Can't tell yet.