Friday, June 19, 2015

Taking my business elsewhere

It took me a day to calm down enough to write this. To be honest, I'm still not entirely calm about it, but here it is:

My husband got kicked out of McDonalds for bringing his bike inside with him. 

Let's rewind this to a couple weeks ago, when my husband's ride, Mute, gave up the ghost, rolled up the choir invisible, or in terms cyclists get; the pedal shafts were stripped, the gear-sprocket shot, & it was declared unfit for riding (safely). Ben got Mute the same time I got Pinkie Pie, and Mute certainly did put in his time, though short. Mute hauled groceries, Christmas purchases, surprise delights, and most importantly, my husband's finely sculpted butt, all over. But time and tide got the best of the big boned Magna, and, beyond repair, it was time to get him another set of wheels. 

He bucked the notion of a folding bike at first, it was fine for me, and my needs, but he liked to break out the trailer. (If we had kept on driving, I'm pretty sure my husband would've bought a minivan by now) While he favors using a back pack for daily use, he wasn't keen of having a bike that lacked a trailer capacity. Unfortunately, most folding bikes do not have the capacity to have a trailer attached, and he hates using Pinkie because "its hauling a tank" though he does like the upright.
However, after a lot of discussion he ended up purchasing a spanking sparkly Citizen Miami. Which he named Barry. 
After Dave Barry. Yep. I still love him. 

Within two weeks he's become a folding fool, and strangely, he's able to keep up with me a lot better on a bike with smaller wheels than his previous one.  Barry's wheels are only two inches bigger than Scamper, my beloved ride, making him equally portable, but more easy to load on a bus. Ben takes pride in Barry like no other bike he's owned, I caught a glimmer of love in his eyes as he pulls it onto the driveway and asks, "Ready?" before each ride. 

So yesterday he took his bike to the McDonald's I went to after a fellow folding bike rider got the cops called on him for bringing a folding bike into, last year. You see, I found the story so upsetting last year I promptly took my own in to a local McD's to see if the same would happen. 

 I didn't get funny looks, and I most certainly didn't get kicked out. 

Ben, in his enthusiasm, went to do the same, and was promptly kicked out. He tried showing them how small Barry folded, but no dice. They didn't let him order, didn't offer to let him go through the drive through instead.

Oh, did I mention this particular McD's is off the Interurban Trail and has NO BIKE RACK?  Yeah, they apparently, even in the face of plummeting sales, aggressively, turn away business.

Now maybe I didn't get kicked out because my skin tone is that of a saltine cracker and he is swarthy (those handsome Mediterranean looks have gotten him mistaken for all kinds of different ethnicities). But I can tell you it had NOTHING to do with his personality without even having been there myself. You know why?

My husband is possibly the kindest man who has ever walked the face of the earth. Like maybe he's Saint Francis reincarnated. He is ridiculously genteel and absurdly understanding. His empathy rivals that of Diane on StarTrek-TNG. He is soft-spoken, with an even emotional keel. Oh, and before you chalk it up to how he was dressed, he's no middle aged man in lycra, nor does he dress like a "punk" or whatever we're calling young miscreants these days.

So why could they have possibly kicked him out? Was it his race? Was it his gender? Because if you let a woman-who-can-totally-pass-as-white bring in her folding bike do it, you have to let everyone bring their bike in. Or install a rack. Like anyone in Shoreline does that!

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a place to grab a bite, as a cyclist, if go just a little further down the trail, past the Sears, there's a Shake N'Go, the owner WANTS you to bring your bike inside. Went there last week and our bikes were just as welcome as our bodies. In fact, we were going to park outside, but he insisted we bring our rides in, fearing they'd get stolen, or just that we wouldn't enjoy our meal if we were worrying about our bikes.

In telling me about getting kicked out of a McDonalds for bringing his bike inside, my husband expressed confusion, "They're on Main Street, right next to the trail," he grumbled, "why didn't they put up shop on a highway if they didn't want bikes?"
"Main Street?" I asked, "Aurora isn't main street, its a highway!"
"No baby," he patiently explained, "The I-5 is a highway,"  he pointed, "the I-90 is a highway," he pointed again, "and the," I stop him before he starts listing every interstate route Washington contains.
"My Love," I tell him, "Aurora IS a highway, its the George Washington Highway, the I-99, its not a main street like we know main streets, its a honest to goodness... Like expressway," I finish.
"What? No, it runs right through the middle of town. That's a main street. It should have people walking on it, and store fronts that,"
"But they voted on it," I interrupt. I have no idea why he puts up with me just doing that, "They decided before we got here that they didn't want a street, they wanted a corridor,"
"That's stupid, it cuts right through the middle of town!" he grumbled. I sighed. We both stared down the stretch of Aurora.

Aurora is a nice street... if you're a car. Or a motel. Or a fast food joint. Or if you want to buy or wash a car. But it isn't good for anything else. Especially its community.