When the weather is nice, I bike from Edgewater to Evanston, and see thing like..


  Monday 6/07

I rode home at about 4 am today. I love the quiet and still of this dead-morning ride. Just south of Bennison's bakery, I passed the world's cutest opossum - licking its chops and cleaning its paws. It was in a pool of streetlight just next to a dumpster. Presumably the Bennisons folks left it a nice treat? What would an opossum's favorite pastry be? I'm voting donuts.

I also saw three different cars parked, but running with their windows open. First, a cop car outside of the Evanston police station (which gave me Grand-Theft Auto urges), then an SUV in south Evanston (kids in the back, making out?) and finally, a run down Honda, just across from my house. Is God trying to give me a free car?

Saturday 4/3

Today was my first day riding to work in the new year. The sun was bright, sky blue, scattering of gray clouds. It was kind of cold and windy, but the ride felt good. I like the freedom of riding my bike - it means I can stay at work as late as I like, and don't have to deal with drunks and freaks on the train home. 20 minutes with cold ears is nothing compared to 20 minutes next to a bum chugging Magnum tallboys.

On Morse, I nearly got run over by a crew of handkerchiefed gang-bangers, cruising through a stop sign in a tricked-out, repainted police car. They didn't have the top rack, but those crazy side spotlights. They gave me the finger. It was strange.

I saw three different people in three different places, walking and singing to themselves. This included a very gay young man, wearing draw-string khakis, a short jacket, a yellow shirt, and matching yellow purse and flip-flops. Cute!

On Davis, just near the Bennisons bakery, I passed the bike guy. Bike guy is a fixture in Evanston - one of the many crazy people that walk around sharing their thoughts and asking for change. But he's exceptional because he really has a message to deliver:

Bike guy will stop you on the street and ask you if you ride a bike. You say yes, and he asks if you wear a helmet. If you say yes, he congratulates you and says (as he did to me as I rode by today) "Very smart! Very smart to wear your helmet!!"

If you say no, he says the following: "I was a wealthy man. I had a nice job and a lovely wife, a home and beautiful children. One afternoon I needed to go to the store, but my wife had the car. So I decided to ride my bike. I got hit by a truck."

" I had to go to the hospital. I suffered a broken arm, broken legs and a very bad concussion. I lost my ability to walk. I couldn't speak.  was in very bad shape. Even now I cannot walk normally (see I have this cane) and I have a hard time remembering things."




"I am ruined. I lost my job. My wife left me. My children don't know me. If I had been wearing my helmet, things might have been very different. Please when you ride your bike think of me, and wear your helmet. Wear your helmet! Wear you helmet!"

I don't know if bike guy is really for real. On the one hand, he is clearly mentally damaged, and speaks with a significant slur. It wouldn't surprise me if this was some kind of delusion he'd cooked up. But...  he tells this story with such regularity, and such impassioned desperation that I feel it must be true.

And so - I wear my helmet. And when he shouts - I wave.