Saturday, March 22, 2008

Returning the borrowed gi

When folks asked me what I was doing this weekend, I told them that I had an errand to run that was 350 miles away. I think they thought I was joking.

I get up reasonably early, suit up in riding gear, and take off north. (It is SO cool that these Joe Rocket pants finally fit me! Now I have gear for cool weather as well as my armored mesh gear for hot days!) A straight shot up Interstate 5 takes me to Hwy 152, which cuts west to the coast around Gilroy. My destination? The USSD studio in Palo Alto, just a few blocks from Stanford.

I arrive at the studio a bit past 12:30, unbungie my package from the back of the bike, and walk on in. A red belt (student instructor) greets me, and when I try to return the package to her, she doesn't know what it's about and calls over the studio director, Mr Flickenger. Long story short, turns out it was HIS gi that I had borrowed, not Mr Diaz'. Now I am REALLY embarrassed. I thank him profusely (hoping that I am not stammering too much) and bow a lot ... I think it probably looks funny, they aren't used to someone standing in the studio foyer in motorcycle gear bowing, LOL. Oh well, whaddayagonnado?

Then, I hop on the bike and head back home. I make the smartest detour in my life bypassing the construction jam on 152 eastbound ... go through Hollister and hop back on the main pass just after they are building a new bridge if you are taking this road any time this year. Otherwise, bumper-to-bumper traffic will cost you an hour or more.

I get back home about an hour past sunset, mission accomplished. Sure, I could have mailed the gi to Palo Alto. But then I wouldn't have an excuse to ride 700 miles for the hell of it :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Green/brown test

I leave the house nice and early -- WAAAY too early -- to make sure I get to USSD headquarters on time. It's test day, I'm up for my green/brown stripe rank belt, and it'd be a disaster to be late!! What if there's traffic? I always give myself plenty of cushion for the 70-mile drive.

So I arrive just a bit past 8 am. It's when I am pulling my gear bag out of my trunk that I realise


that I have left part of my uniform at home. I am wearing the pants, but have left the gi jacket, clean and neatly hanging on its hanger, right there in the hallway where I won't forget to grab it before leaving. (Well so much for THAT theory.) There is no way to describe quite how the sinking sensation exactly feels. Sort of like a horror movie ... don't go up the stairs ... or that dream where no one notices you're naked.

There's nothing to do but go in, tell the instructors I have a problem, and ask them what to do. Mister Diaz comes to my rescue. He asks if I have my belt ("Yes, sir, I do") and then jokingly asks me if I'd like a red jacket. (Only 4th dan and above may wear red in my school.) Then he disappears into the back room and comes back with a gi top, and lets me borrow it. It's a heavy MAP gi, size six, and fits me perfectly. I thank him profusely, and proceed to sweat on it a lot for the next few hours. I got it chalked up pretty good too, when we were doing some knife defense drills.

I've been told to return the jacket to the Palo Alto studio. The instant I get home I fling it in the washing machine, then dry it, then safely bundle it up where the cat hair that covers everything else in my house won't get at it. I'm going to hand-deliver it rather then send it US Mail.

Apart from that adventure, the test went well & I passed :) With less than thirty students total, it went pretty quickly, and my group was out of there a little after one.