In order to prepare for the 1992 World Championships in
New Zealand, I decided to take a three-week sabbatical from
chilly Boulder, CO to the confines of Tucson, AZ. I stayed
with Jim Stites and Rane Smith, both are triathletes and
both work at the University of Arizona swimming pool. My
dilemma involved having no car and the Uof A pool being
15 miles away from Jims house. In my past visits to
Tucson, my bike sufficed as my major mode of transportation;
however, with fewer daylight hours during this time of year,
I was stranded when there was darkness and I couldnt
go to Masters swim workouts at the University.
Jimmy Riccitello, pro triathlete and long time residence
of Tucson, came to my rescue when I told him my situation.
He has a car I can use while Im here. I told him I
didnt want to impose and he said heck no, Ive
got my moped which gets me everywhere I want to go and Traci
(his wife) has her car if I need it. He insisted,
so I took him up on his offer. The next morning, after we
did a track workout, we ran back to his house and there
it was, a 1987 Suzuki Samurai. Its maroon color had faded
to a rusty hazelnut color and the plastic window coverings
(you could take the top off) were cracked and yellowed with
gaping holes due to the intense heat of the desert sun.
The rear flap to the back had been torn off. Apparently,
Jimmy had succumbed to the fact that his jeep was not a
secure place to keep valuables. After all, the radio was
stolen out of it about two years ago and there wasnt
much left to take, unless you liked Jimmys personal
belongings (we will get to that in a moment).
Again, I asked Traci if I was imposing. Without hesitation
she said, no way, I wouldnt be caught dead in
that car. Have you looked in it?
I replied, No, how bad can it be?
A slight smile came across her face. Well
get along fine without it, she said.
Jimmy gave me the key and said, You might want to
check the oil.....and the air in the tires.
I opened the door and the first thing I thought to my
self was, yes, this fits Jimmys character to a T.
Some of the black door covering on the drivers side
had come lose and was hanging below the door. Jimmy grabbed
a knife and began cutting it all off. Ive been
meaning to do this for quite some time.
I hopped in the Suzuki and I couldnt stand the mess
so I headed directly for a car wash where I could vacuum
this atrocity. My anal tendencies were coming out. Realizing
the unique content in this heap of metal, I decided to make
a list of what had accumulated over the year (years) in
his jeep. Hence, the following:
I will work from the front of the car backwards.
* Speedometer unreadable due to an excessive accumulation
* Taco Bell wrappers (two soft tacos and two bean burritos)
and cups under both seats.
* Dried half eaten banana and peel - all black.
* Eeegees bags, apparently Jimmy likes to eat and
drive at the same time.
* 6 Circle K coffee cups.
* Spearmint gum wrappers strewn about.
* Roll of toilet paper. Im sure this is solely used
as cheap Kleenex.
* You cant notice traffic approaching from behind,
not because there is no back window, but because the rearview
mirror is caked with scum.
* Sunflower seeds (used and unused) scattered throughout
Moving behind the front seats:
* Today section of newspaper dated December 21, 1993.
* 6 popsicle sticks.
* 5 Skoal dip cans..(Jimmy has since quit)
* Arizona vehicle registration stuck in a crevice beneath
* 6 empty Gatorade bottles.
* 3 dip glasses (I wont describe the interiors, but
lets just say they need to be washed, one of which
says Id rather be cycling!
* San Francisco baseball cap. Baseball, whats that
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