My commute today brought to mind a special ride that I enjoyed with Jerome almost exactly 3 years ago in the summer of 2005.
We had each returned triumphant from our respective major cycling events of the year. Jerome had completed the Transalp Tour with Juliane, along with hundreds (thousands?) of other two-person teams. I had survived the less-well-known „Matt Tour,“ going from Knoxville Tennessee, over the Smokey Mountains and then along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive back toward its terminus in Front Royal, Virginia with two vans and about 15 riders, led by Dr. Matt Parker.
We were both in peak condition, and the heat of Tokyo summer seemed no barrier as we headed out Yaen-Kaido (Local Rte 20) to get out of town as quickly as possible toward Doshi Michi, Yabitsu and scenic country in the hills.
What, you might ask, brought the 2005 ride to mind as I commuted to work this morning? It was not the heat, but an aroma. A very ripe, sweet, rich and complex aroma, perhaps better described as a stench.
Yes, back in 2005, as we headed out to the country we repeatedly got stuck behind, passed, were passed by, and then got stuck again behind, a sky blue colored truck with a familiar shape to Tokyo residents, a garbage truck full of „nama“ (raw, ripe) garbage. The stench made Jerome pretty nauseous, and we eventually pulled off for an unscheduled stop at a 7/11 store to recover. As usual, Jerome’s recovery was fast and the rest of the ride went fine, but the memory of the garbage truck lingered (maybe it was in our clothes?).
This morning (Tuesday), the trucks must have been picking up some very ripe garbage that had been sitting in a very hot garbage bins since late last week. Maybe the truck we saw in 2005 had been driving around and around for the past 3 years, as the same load of garbage grew more and more ripe? Except today I passed MANY of these trucks. I must have been going through an area where Tuesday is scheduled for burnable, raw garbage removal. The smell was, memorable, even unforgetable.
And now for something completely different, a report from the Onion News Network on President Bush’s latest disaster relief effort: