Pretty Baby

years and years ago
well at least over a decade ago
in a time when I had much hair I would say that I could have been a hair farmer, there was hair on my head that draped down my spine three quarters down my back, long glorious blondish brown hair with a natural waviness from long days in the sun on my bike and in my convertible rabbit, swimming in the ocean, jumping off the cliffs into the potomac, or wading into the C&O canal with my family dog
my chest was nearly hairless as it was just starting to creep up from around my belly button and I could not grow enough facial hair to grow a respectable beard
I was young and vain
never knowing that genetics was going to be my Samson and clip my wig

in these younger freer times we rode our rigid bikes without helmets
it was humorous time
the mountainbike was young and the technology was just out of the gate
I was riding a Canondale SM600 a wonderful yellow bike with a 26 inch wheel in the front and a 24 inch wheel in the back
the brakes were Sam Cunningham's roller cams
the gears took muscle to shift with the Suntour top of the bar thumb shifters
(some people were going custom mounting them under the bar, inspiring the designers to create the rapid fire thumb shifter technology)
our feet bounced free on the pedals with loose harnesses that were called toe clips

I remember a day I was out riding with a few friends, rob and greg, we were out at Great Falls Maryland on the Gold Mine Loop. we were young and foolish and felt like outlaws with little concern for the no bikes signs. I may have been a courier at the time and greg and rob had each had been couriers at one time or another thus extending the outlaw feeling for times on the bike. we were running these loops through the woods, popping out at Old Angler's Inn, and spinning up Macarthur Blvd to the top of the hill at Falls Road and dropping back into the woods. It was a pretty solid routine. The wooded trails were short loops and a far greater pleasure going down than up. As these were the early days of mountainbiking, and we went under the training.
On this one ride in particular there was a strange encounter...
After one of our loops I came out of the woods before Greg and Rob, while waiting for them to meet me at the parking lot a tall beautiful women caught my eye as she unloaded her bike. Just before Rob and Greg got out woods I started up with some small talk...."oh I see you are running the FARMER JOHN in the back and the FARMER JOHN COUSIN in the front....personally..." the conversation went that way, she had no idea what I was talking about and deferred all the bicycle questions to her riding partner, the owner of the bike, a guy I did not see, notice, or care about. Then Rob and Greg exited the woods, I mounted my bike with a quick good bye and then we headed up the paved road for a some more fun in the woods.
We dropped into the woods and I lead the route downhill. we were hammering down a chattering section with our helmetless heads, our rigid bikes, and our feet strapped in tight with leather straps on our toe clips; when I see this same beautiful women working her way up the opposite direction. as we passed/nearly collided she said, "oh, deja vue!" I turned looked, checked her out and thought.."oh, death to us all if you don't get out of my way...cause I am not stopping" While in actuality, I could not stop as the braking power of that era was more a matter of decelleration rather than stopping.
we did the loop one or two more times and managed to connect with this women and her invisible riding partner as they loaded up the car
we chatted, laughed and giggled and had a pleasant exchange
rob and I took in her striking good looks as greg finished loading up his car
then she removed her helmet and pulled off her glasses and shook her ponytail free
in a classic teen movie sort of way this all happened in front of me in slow motion...a hazy filter softened that already soft features as her long flowing hair whipped from side to side and dropped softly on her soft round shoulders
at that moment rob evacuated with a cloud of dust floating where he once stood
figuring it was time to go, I said my good byes and got into robs sporty little capri
we looked at each other
rob was white like he had seen a ghost
I turned and asked, "was that Brooke Shields"
rob said, "I don't know, but that is how I am going to tell the story"
we pulled away with greg following right behind and we headed off to the Highs Store (a 7-11 style store of an era now long since past, think Slush Puppies not Slurppies) to get some Gatorade and Dorritos or maybe a Blue Flavored Slush Puppy for a guarenteed ice cream headache. As we shopped around for the right snacks to replace all the calories that were burned I felt a friendly slap on the back. I turned and looked and thought..."oh, deja vue!" sure enough it was that same tall beautiful brunette that we had established as Brooke Shields, she was still wearing a white t-shirt with a Guess print and black cycling other words dressed to kill...not wearing blue eyeliner and big hair as was the fashion of the day for these hollywood types. we again laughed and joked, I told her it was getting creepy having her follow me around like this, as if she was some sort of stalker, she laughed comfortably and touched my elbow in a friendly yet meaningless way, but then our laughs and exchange ended abruptly as her invisible riding partner became visible and snatched her away by the arm, confirming her hollywood status by saying to her..."brooke...I want you to meet a friend of mine"
rob, greg, and I paid for our goodies and went on our way

again I was tickled
it was all very silly and funny
not sure why meeting famous people is so interesting to regular folk like myself
but there are those times when regular folks get together drinking their regular folk drinks (usually beer straight from the can) and they sit around and exchange the answers to such questions as..."who is the most famous person you have ever met?"
and clearly my story of meeting Brooke Shields is more interesting than my story of riding in an elevator and making small talk with Richard Nixon or my taking a piss at a stand up urinal along side of Dan Rather and our small talk exchange as we each washed our hands.