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.