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August 26, 2002

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way In To Work Today...

When I first got hired on as an intern at Microsoft, I was given a choice: subsidized car rental or a free bicycle with one week of free car rental. As I looked down at my soft, doughy body, I decided to opt for the bike, thinking I would ride it to and from work and somehow get into shape as a result.

I'll wait until you stop laughing before I continue.

Well, it turns out I was placed 5.5 km (3.3 miles) from my office, and it's uphill the whole way. Those of you who know me know I'm not the kind of guy to get up early just so I can bike 20 minutes uphill. So I decided to ask my roommate for a ride every morning, since his building is next door to mine.

I bought a bike rack so I wouldn't have to rely on my roommate (let's call him Sam) for a ride home as well. For the month of May I strapped my bike to the back of his car and rode home on my own. (I also bought a speedometer to see how fast the downhill ride would take me. I hit a top speed of 55 km/h (34 mph)!)

Once June reared its ugly head things changed. "Sam" started placing restrictions on the ride:

  1. I had to wait until he was ready to leave in the morning. This only became an issue when he started sleeping in until past 10:00am, meaning I wouldn't be arriving at work until after 10:30. Granted that's still earlier than my mentor usually arrives, but it's later than I'd prefer.
  2. He would not drop me off in front of my building, but rather in the underground parking behind his building (despite the fact he had to drive right by the front of my building in order to get there).
  3. On days when I did not bring my bike, he would not call me before leaving for home, thus stranding me at work.
  4. He wanted $60 a month for the inconvenience. Let's do the math here: 6.6 miles a day, 20 days a month, gas costs $1.50 a gallon, and his car gets 22 miles per gallon. Actual cost of driving 132 miles: $9. Net profit: $51. Now multiply that by 4 months, and you can see I would be getting fleeced. (By the way, the $60 a month was after negotiation.)

It didn't take me long to look for alternate modes of transportation. I started riding my bike, which resulted in me arriving at work sweaty and exhausted. Then my fellow intern Bryant started offering me a ride. He would pick me up before "Sam" woke up, and we usually worked similar hours so it all worked out. That is until 2 weeks ago when Bryant returned to Rhode Island. Coincidentally, that was also the time I had to send my bike to get boxed up for shipping. So once again, I looked down at my puffy abdomen, and decided to walk in the morning. Thanks to the portable CD player Angela gave me, the one-hour stroll was quite pleasant.

Now at that time, I was still rock climbing with Bryant's schoolmate Andrew. His girlfriend came up to visit him for his last week in Washington and used the car whil he was at work. When she found out how I had been walking 6.6 miles everyday, she was aghast. She insisted I let her drive me to work every morning after she had dropped her boyfriend off at work. I didn't have the heart to deny her a 7 minute car ride with me, so I agreed. Thanks Jessie!

Last weekend Jessie and Andrew left, and I was once again sans ride. I was telling this same rant to some other interns on the weekend (yes, I also rant in person, and yes, you can book me for weddings), and someone took pity on me. I'm now getting a ride to work with Tia, another intern. End result: no exercise for Chris!

I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.

00:00 | Rant

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