5.21.2004

CHARACTERS
The city is litter with a colorful cast of characters, within this colorful cast of characters there tend to be a grand representation from the bicycle culture. Having lived in the city for well over a decade I have come to see an assortment of these characters over and over and over again. Fore example there are these identical twin sisters that walk and run along Rock Creek Park...they tend to move at an awkwardly slow pace and often work out together, but never within 20 yards of the other. Their body frames are thin and muscular, their equipment is high end, my guess is that their training is for endurance as it is long and slow, perhaps they are triathletes. My paths crossed with one of the ladies, then just a girl, at a party many years ago...it was short and abrupt, my introduction did not come welcomed and I retreated and went my way...that may be how women respond to me or that may just be how women respond to men in DC, that is a sociological study for another day. These twins with their thick and wild red hair are just some of the regulars, as is also a slightly women who rides an old blue ladies frame mountainbike, low end from the early days of the mountainbike. She climbs Calvert Street towards Reno Road all the time, often with a tennis racket in a pack. It is never clear to me if she is crossing town or doing loops for exercise, she too is annorexically thin...over time I just assumed that she is crazy. We met one time as I was stopping in at Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown saying hey to an old friend who was working as a manager there at the time. She was less crazy than I had expected, while still a tad crazy. Turns out she is a freelance graphic designer...something I can understand. As when I was a freelance graphic designer I spend some free time riding my bike like a crazy person across town only without the annorexically thin body and without a tennis racket.

In addition to the regular cast of people that I see on the city road and the bicycle trails occasionally there are the occassional treats. A kid on a low rider at Logan Circle, a man with hundreds of reflectors on his bike down by Union Station, or the Latino guy on Mount Pleasant Street last night. As I cruised down the main strip in Mount Pleasant heading for home last night I saw in the distance at the corner of Mt Pleasant and Park catty corner to the Argyle market a guy chilling on a small white bike with a strange box attached to the frame no unlike a gas tank on a motorcycle only larger and boxy. As I rolled in closer to him things became more clear, I could hear music coming from that box, he has some very soulful Latin rhythms coming from that box. Not sure if it was folk or electronic, but it was grooving, not the usual latino flavor from a Toyota Fourrunner that I do not care for. I rolled up on the curb along side of him and accessed his custom ride. It was a small white girls bike with pink detail, pink banana seat, and black 20 inch tires with gum walls. The custom box was wooden with large car speakers on each side and a cable leading to a motorcycle battery stored under the seat. It was an impressive little contraption, if for nothing else originality and for the action of actually seeing it through. We exchanged hellos as I complimented his handy work. His age was not clear, maybe 15 maybe 25, more than likely closer to 25. His speech was clear and crisp with no hint of an accent. As we spoke I could see his pride and pleasure, his invention was an attention magnet. People driving by were honking and people walking by were staring he was an exhibitionist in all his glory. Each of my questions were answered with pride and precision, each question had certainly asked before as he did not stumble or slow with any of the answers. In the future I should start carrying my digital camera, such a sight, much like many others should be documented. I suspect that this summer I will be seeing him again....maybe on a different bike with a more professional display of a similar apparatus or on this one, either way I hope to have my camera and hope to have as pleasant of an exchange.

No comments: