A place to share words and pics. Mostly bikes, but my photog eye does wander.

Bikes let the good times roll. In solitude or with friends. For a half hour or 8 hours. Pedals become the gears that turn the earth as the sun seems to track their motion, day after day. Miles become food, and you're hungry. The bike stops being a vehicle, or toy, or transportation and becomes an extension of will, allowing you to journey beyond the pain of self into the realm of almighty, joyous nature, she that feeds our souls. Pedal yourself into the maw of creation. Pedal yourself silly.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shopping Carts

Yeah, I've been out of the bike groove for a little while, especially the sweet dirt type. But if you can't have the best, take the rest and in this theme I've discovered The Canals. There's a pretty extensive system throughout the city, and I'm lucky enough to have one of these life sustaining veins carry me right up to work so I get to commute as much as I want with minimal cager interaction.

Usually upon my bicycle, I'm far away form the city, surrounded by non-city noises, smelling non-city smells, talking about non-city things, and thinking non-city thoughts. I'm compelled to journey there, really. But alas, my body has borne the brunt of a barrage of beatings upon bone the left knee, and I needed to take a break for some osteopathic upgrades. This break has brought me a cross bike and aforementioned canals.....and city sights, smells, noises and thoughts.

Usually I prefer the desert tortoise sighting, as he non-chalantly non-yeilds upon the trail. Or the buzzards which circle you overhead, as if they know you kinda feel like you're gonna die after this climb. Or the story that the odd ancient ruin, artifact and other broken human memorabilia strewn across the landscape can convey, if only with a bit of imagination. But now, along the Canal, I get shopping carts. At first they didn't say much.

Usually shopping carts don't catch my attention, but ever since I saw the Stray Shopping Cart Project at SMOCA, they've been on my mind, not just for the pure academic practice of classification, but for the city stories they may tell, the humor they hide, or the city thoughts they possess which may be at once enlightening and banal, at chance transcending the city-muck in which we all often live, or just plain being that muck.

And Holy Crap. I found 49 of them in a 4.5 mile stretch of the Canal. And while many thoughts of mine swirled around the carts, the one constant as I gazed upon then briefly at 17mph was the sheer agony of life these carts must have had. These poor things look as if they've tossed themselves over the edge to escape some kind of cruelty that badgered them around every corner in their short lives. So much shopping cart death and despair. Or maybe it's just me, riding in my own Degoba Cave, seeing my dark side reflected back, the Nothing naming itself, my bike stuck deep in the mud. I'd have none of it this day, and struck back by filling in their stories, creating meaning, fleeting mostly, pointless certainly, for what is otherwise detritus, garbage, afterthought. Then again, if you can do that, if even seconds at a time, life will have meaning. My mind is clearly rationalizing for not being out on some far flung trail, seeing the raw natural beauty, rather than this inherent, coached beauty, sticking out from between the cracks in the creations made by Man's tireless, pawing hands. Yeah, I've passed these carts at least a hundred times.

My mind's eye is filling in the blanks, like people that have blind spots in their vision and see cartoon characters dancing within the void, so that it can cope with it's own void and unchallenged body......Rehab can't happen fast enough. Walk with me, through the valley of shopping cart despair.

The first cart I saw on my vision quest. The canal was low, so I was sure to find all the poor souls that sit in Davey Jones' Locker. Bonus points for kid on bike, who clearly doesn't care about the cart. (#1 Cart.)

This poor chap couldn't even make it to the canal. Rather than drowning, perhaps it was going for the guillotine style demise. (#2 Cart.)

This is why you check the depth before diving in. (#3 Cart.)

I think I see who had a hand in all of this.

Admiring the future anthropological puzzles. Who is "Cholola?" Oh, wait, that's the sauce at Chipotle. (#4 Cart.)

It seems this one left a note, but I can't seem to decipher it.  (#5 Cart.)

A lover's triangle done awry. (#6,7,8 Cart.)

So close to getting out...but couldn't manage. (#9 Cart.)

This certainly is a Bridge over Troubled Water. (#10,11,12 Cart.)

Look like Ted had another rough night. (#13 Cart.)

Maybe the note had something to do with this high security shopping cart prison. If you can get past the barbed wire, the sweet canal holds your release. (#0 Cart. Outside the boundaries - don't count!)

Even the wee ones be drivin' their cars into the canal, drunk on Capris Sun.

Vintage shopping cart death I imagine shot with a ten cent pistol. (#14 Cart.)

This suspected Food City cart was taken out back an put down. I'm sure no one cried. (#15 Cart.)

Then the non-city started to creep in!

And then this mac daddy....don't care about the cart either, which is partly Naturalized. (#16 Cart.)

I'm calling Mike Rowe for this one. (#17 Cart.)

A cart in mourning. "Why? WHY?!" (#18,19 Cart.)

We are all but reflections of our thoughts. Clear or murky, focused or disperse, we are that illusion our experience makes, at least until we can break that bond to the tv, then we can be people again. (#20 Cart.)

Ass over tea kettle and you can still land on the bright side sometimes. Make the best of it. The world will soon spin you around. (#21 Cart.)

The water here is never calm. Travel with trepidation. (#22 Cart.)

Sometimes, when you're all upside down, you're actually twice what you were, transformed. Carry on! (#23 Cart.)

Freedom! ...has never been so far. (#24 Cart.)

The way out is through. Right yourself and get moving. (#25 Cart.)

So, many, carts....does it end? Where's the humanity!? (#26 Cart.)

Lover's bones, exposed after time laying together. Was their union forbidden? A Food City and Fry's cart? A Walmart and Big Lots? We may never know....because I'm not climbing down there. (#27,28 Cart.)

Something about this place...it feels like Heaven's Gate. I found no loose change or Motherships though. (#29,30,31,32 Cart.)

Sheesh. Target is miles form here. Clearly a True Stray. (#33 Cart.)

The city jumble. Carts, man with sunflower seeds, sleeping fowl, resting bike, the Spot Parking Shuttle, powerlines, light rail JET! City-everything. (#34,35,36,37 Cart.)


They never end. (#38 Cart.)

I think this was Hatshepsut's cart. (#39 Cart.)

I need to break their code! (#40 Cart.)

I've concluded that it's impossible for one of these to land wheel's down. In fact I challenge all you vandals! - upside down is so passe now. Improve your craft dammit! (#41 Cart.)

Fatty fisheye cart trying for Dry Land. (#42 Cart.)

This one hit the spot. Turn around time. That's been 4.5 miles of shopping cart greatness, or hell. (#43 Cart.)
Like anything in life, you're not getting it all. You want the last six carts, go find them. They're out there. If I were you, I'd start by looking on the AZT.