Friday, February 22, 2008


I doubt that's his real name.

He's the crosswalk attendant at a busy intersection near Jefferson School. He's an older gentleman, and obviously not from around here. Far as I know, "Good morning!" is the only phrase he knows in English. But he has a jolly smile, and we smile and say "Good morning!" to each other almost every weekday as I ride by. (Except for the days when school is out.)

Frequently Boris' wife is there with him, sitting in their car for warmth. She smiles and waves.

I've got other friends. I don't know their names.

There's the young couple who are out on early morning walks together, hand in hand. We smile and say hello. (As long as they can keep walking hand-in-hand, there's hope for their relationship.)

There's the guy who walks swiftly along the sidewalk, with a light-tan jacket and a blue beanie. He has a happy smile, and travels in the same direction as me. I don't know where he's headed. When it was really snowy, I'd slow down a bit so we could compare notes and strategies on surviving the slippery stuff.

There are some parents and kids, walking toward the school together, that I've come to recognize. (Lucky kids! Most kids get dropped off by car or bus these days.)

There used to be a nice lady who would be walking her dog, almost every morning. I haven't seen her for a few months... but now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I expect that she and other familiar faces will be back, one of these mornings.

Bicycling is WAY more sociable than driving a MSDC (Mobile Sensory Deprivation Chamber, AKA motor vehicle).

(If you choose to make it so. There are obviously cyclists who want no part of it. You can usually count on the snobs in their "George's" jerseys to not give you the time of day... it would waste their precious oxygen, or dislodge them from their lofty pedestals, take them out of "the zone," or something. But I digress.)

In fact, I'd say our total dependence on motor vehicles has, in many ways, turned us into a community of strangers. We drive straight home from wherever we've been, push the button to raise the garage door, drive in and park, and hole up in our IMMOBILE sensory deprivation chambers, until it's once again time to drive away.

A quick hello to Boris and the others always enriches my day, and I'm glad for that brief personal touch.


Anonymous said...

So so right. One of my favorite things about my commute is wildlife. I stop nearly every morning on the "1923" railroad bridge to watch the river and the wildlife there. Last night, on the way home from work, as I approached and wove my way through a Zombie hoard stopped in the middle of the path, I saw what they were gawking at: a beaver aside the path, chewing away on something.

On another note: it would go a long way toward promoting cycling if those jersey'ed snobs would lighted up a bit, and engage in some friendly gestures, wouldn't it?

Bikeboy said...

Danielo, I agree that the "Lance Armsrtong Wannabes" could be better ambassadors for cycling.

I try not to second-guess their motivations, but I can't help but feel there's a certain "air of superiority" going on. Or maybe that jersey and Team Socks and 8-panel shorts make 'em feel "competitive," even if no competition is involved.

They probably stir up motorist resentment more than idiots-on-bikes, when they're violating the laws of the land and of common sense, out on the streets. After all, you expect them to know better, unlike the totally clueless "bike zombies." (Who should also know better.)

I go riding with friends from time to time, who lean a little in that direction. And more often than not, the "ride" becomes a "race" at some point.

(They look plain silly, zooming down the GREENBELT, dodging root-induced pavement cracks and inferior pathway users, including the Zombies.)

Anonymous said...

I rarely see pedestrians on my West Boise commute. While some of the drivers may be the same ones it's impossible for me to tell and certainly no meaningful communication can take place between us.

Part of my route goes past a large fenced yard were every morning there is a dog who likes to bark and chase. I give him a friendly greeting and encourage him to keep running when he starts to lag.

Although my commute is lacking in human interaction I do enjoy experiencing the daily weather and gradual seasonal changes.