And Gutenberg Lived Here: Taxi, Taxi

When you are carless,

you learn who you really are.

Not that we usually drive everywhere.


Due to the narrow streets here,

castled walls,

city gates,

one way everywhere,

not to mention the road construction on a tourist fast train none of us wanted,

you can spend a lot of time driving around and around,

trying to get your gps to stop sending you down one-way streets,

which went the other way when the gps was made.

Or into the Rhine,

since the ferry is marked as a bridge.

No, we Gutenberger learned some time ago:

the best way to travel,

here in Gutenberg Land,

is to have a bike,

in the case of Harald and I,

a tandem,

which works great as long as there are actually two people on the bike,

since taking the tandem alone inevitably means that when you come back after shopping,

two people are sitting on it,

trying it out,

and one insists on being taken home.

And since this is a small town…

So anyway,

in addition to the speed-racer,

tandem style,

where Harold and I get into interesting major discussions about spin point,



and the ratio of the number of bugs eaten and teeth loose

to six-week muscle pain,

since Harold,

He who was born with  itty-bitty hiking boots,

prefers a ratio of fly at top speed,

with maximum gear and muscles being used,

followed by the maximum number of beers he and his buddies can down

before heading home again.

Harald seated behind me on the tandem,

holding on to me around the waist,

the others,

Laid out like moose, front and back, across the fenders.

And one of us,

obviously alone

and all by their lonesome,

doing all the pedaling.

And listening to the others sing off-key versions of

I love to fly where the wild geese fly.



Did I mention that I prefer a quiet cup of tea and a good book,

Or a quiet ride through a country lane?

Or that Harald is the one with the gear shift next to his handlebars?

So anyway,

since I am, due to compacting my car to the size of a sugar cube,

with me inside,

not yet able to do the tandem thing,

yesterday we set out on the great adventure.

And before I explain,

I have to add,

our mayor and co had the great idea,

two years ago,

to run a mini-train system through our city.

The Mainzel Bahn.

With pictures of cartoon characters on the sides.

To take the tourists to the amusement park the second German television,

the ZDF,

won’t be building,

we  hope,

since we voted it down several times.

But still,

they are now building the train.

Not a bad thing of itself,

what with a university and a college and a major teaching hospital,

and now the 05 soccer stadium

right within a few blocks of one of the stops.

And since university is nearly free here-

a few Euros per semester,

and you get health care and bus-

soon to be Mainzelbahn-

ticket thrown in….

The only fly in the ointment being:

the signs,

at the start of the roadwork,

read “coming in spring 2014.”

They now read “dedication October 2017”

Your government at work.

Oh well,

time to get new tires for the tandem.

Or, like yesterday,

take a one hour bus ride to go less than two miles

to the local shopping center.


next time,

we’ll just take a taxi.

copyright 2016

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