I like to take the same route everyday. I ride the same route and I run the same route. It suits my analytical side. I know approximately how far I am and how far I have left to go at any given moment. I know exactly where to expect conflict with vehicles and where they most often pull stupid moves. I know all the pot holes, cracks and manhole covers from my house to my work. Since I generally commute at the same time everyday, I often see the same vehicles and people.
Not that it really matters but I wonder sometimes what these people who see me on a daily basis think of me. Who do they imagine that I am? I’m sure with my longer hair and beard many think I’m some sort of hippy on an environmental crusade. Some may think I must have gotten a DUI and lost my license because no normal person would just ride for fun.
A guy from the office had been talking with one of his friends. His friend brought up a guy that he has seen daily for years on a bike. He says that he had always wondered about this guy on a bike and had once even followed him until he lost him on a side street. After a bit of back and forth, my friend realized that he was describing me. It makes me curious if others have followed me. I didn’t know that this person had. Do they wish they could ride as well? Do they think I’m fool hardy for pushing my luck in weather and on the road? Do they hate me and wish I would stop getting in the way?
I was in the grocery store last month when one of the clerks approached me and asked what my name was. I say it’s Jim, why? He then tells me he and his wife see me every morning and he wanted to know my name so he wouldn’t have to say, “There’s the bike man” anymore. It made me wonder how many others I see on a regular basis when I’m off the bike that think of me as “the bike man.” I saw him again a week later and he says, “hey Sam!” I didn’t bother correct him.
I see a homeless man, or at least I think he is homeless, walking the streets near our house all the time. He has a long beard and hair. He always wears jeans with his shirt tucked in, work boots and a ball cap. He walks slowly and always carries a gym bag. At night he is walking towards the Galloway trails and park. In the day he is usually walking away from this area. I have seen him all over town. I have created elaborate stories about him in my head. Where he goes and how he got here. Of course, most of them are probably wrong. I always think I should stop and talk to him some day but I never do.
Do you see any characters in your life that you know nothing about? What stories have you given them?