Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My bicycle is missing

Date: Feb. 18
Mileage: 18.0
February mileage: 267.6
Hours: 1:30
Temperature: 38

Last week, when I was having a bad day amid all my bicycle preparations, I jokingly mentioned that I might not mind never seeing my bike again. Today I’m despondent that I may just get my wish.

This is hopefully nothing, and I am trying to take a stubborn stance of optimism, but the fact is Pugsley is lost in a FedEx vortex right now, and no one seems willing or able to tell me where it is.

When I dropped the bike off on Wednesday, I was under the impression that it would go out that day and be delivered Friday. But in actuality, it sat at the Juneau FedEx center until Monday and was in theory picked up in the afternoon - although no one knows for sure, because no one bothered to scan it. Now I have the national customer service agents telling me that my package does not exist, and the local people telling me that it may be on its way to Anchorage, but it definitely is no longer in Juneau.

I stopped by the office today and tried to swallow my panic as I explained how much I *really* needed to know where it was.

“Juneau’s a small market,” the man told me. “We only ship out once a week and the driver came and picked up all of our ground packages yesterday. They don’t get scanned until they get to Anchorage.”

“Any idea how long it will take to get there?”

“Actually, I don’t know how long it usually takes.”

“Is there any way to contact the driver?”

“We used to call him, but he stopped answering his phone and then he changed his cell phone number because he was getting too many calls about packages.” The man smiled faintly as if this news was supposed to make me feel better. It did not. It made me feel a hundred times worse. He shrugged his shoulders as though to tell me not to blame him. It made me want to blame him a hundred times more. How can you stand your work? I wanted to ask him. If it were my job to send packages into a dark abyss with no promise or even hope that they will ever reach their destination, I think my own ineffectiveness would drive me crazy.

“If it doesn’t get there by next Monday,” he said, “give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.”

Now I am trying to accept that the only thing I can do is wait and see. I have been going over my options in my head. The nightmare of lining up for the Iditarod with my Gary Fisher is more than I can bear. I could maybe rent a fat bike in Anchorage, but what kind of bike shop would be willing to rent out for an event like this? I wonder if it is too late to build up a sled and reregister for this race as a walker.

Please, Pugsley, come back.