My European, early spring campaign finished up with Roubaix around Easter time at which point I played host to my brother for a handful of days before jetting back to America for the second half of April and all of May. A month and a half in America guarantees a busy 45 days for me and this trip didn’t disappoint. One wedding, a three-day bachelor party (unrelated), a Boston Marathon plus a pair of baseball games, a postponed birthday party, one UVEpic, trips all throughout New England, then onto Mill Valley and Napa, one Tour of California, followed immediately by a hockey game, a rooftop party, a basketball game, with some broken ribs thrown into the mix for good measure, a late night flight into Boulder, some very happy hours (like 14 of them) in CO, a BBQ, playing co-director/rider/manager/soigneur/mechanic/etc with Timmy at nationals, one national championship, the annual bike ride with my brother, and a flight back to Europe. In addition to about 7.6 billion other things that don’t fit in the space above nor into your realm of patience.
Home sweet home, I once again found myself back in Lucca where humid Tuscan air greeted me with the pre-summer flock of tourists. I thought a walk around town would help delay jet-lag. Plus amid the droves of tourists, I needed some Euros since my American dollar bills were not up to snuff. I approached one of those ATM machines where you stick the card into the slot, a door opens, and then you’re in the small room of elite company comprised of only those people who have an ATM card. So: card in, card out, wait patiently…
But the door didn’t open.
So I flipped the card over and tried again. Nothing. Sheesh. The informative sticker acting as a How-To-Stick-The-Card-Into-The-Machine clearly indicates that face up is the only way to go, and being the partial genius I am, I recognize that there are only two options – it’s either this side of the card in first or that side in first and yet unfortunately I was striking out on both.
One last try on this side whereupon the door still remained shut. My day’s mini-adventure was merely about to begin, because it was around about this time I fumbled with my card and then oops… I present to you Exhibit A:
Yeah, that’s my card languishing amid the cigarette butts and surely somebody’s pee.
About 45 different ideas quickly zipped through my mind, not least of which was asking the many young children walking the cobbled streets if they wanted to stuff their petite arms down the crack. But the mysterious foreigner wearing a bright pink shirt asking some toddlers to reach their hand into the sewer wasn’t going to fly. Leaving the scene didn’t rank highly on my to-do list either since a few people had witnessed this potential disaster unfold and, inconveniently, they were standing by to see how this potential disaster would ultimately unfold. I’m pretty sure this exact situation is why the world invented cell phones.
“Hi Rob?… Yeah, pumped to be back in town, thanks for asking… Saaaaay, what are you up to right now?”
Thankfully I have a good friend named Rob and Rob was about to head out the door almost in the same direction as downtown Lucca to attend a BBQ. Moreover, the only thing cooler than going to a Sunday sunny afternoon BBQ is going to play MacGyver for a bit and then going to a cook-out. Obviously.
“Soooo Rob basically anything long and skinny… Oooh, I’d say about 18 inches. (Yes, ha ha, that’s what she said.) Maybe some bubblegum to really make this creative… awesome, see you in a bit!”
I’ll save you further details, but Rob arrived with a shoulder bag of tricks, not least of which was the serving spoon to kill all serving spoons. I fired up some bubblegum, but then decided not to soil Rob’s spoon with my saliva and instead used the scotch tape. And yes, that’s a very snide smile on my face.
High fives ensued, I received a single clap from the curious onlookers, and with that I hugged Rob, had my card, and allowed him to go Bar-beee-que.
Some of you might remember that I’ve had troubles with Italian ATMs in the past. A quick visit here shows how to pursue your ATM card if it has been eaten by the automated teller machine itself.
Others of you may remember a particularly sad day where my wheel sank into a drainage hole in the middle of a bicycle race – oh, come to think of it, exactly one year ago this very day!
And therefore to summarize my thoughts on the matter in illustrated form, I have created the following clip art. (Somewhere amid the pre-made clip art icons, there was the “Mad Lego Head” icon. I added that for good measure.)
All’s well that ends well and I got to see my buddy Rob, I got my card back, and I had some tasty minty gum to keep me fresh and cool under pressure.