When I got onto the bus at Selby and Grotto, I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew. By that I mean no one that I knew outside of the bus context. I knew the driver, I knew the teacher looking guy with the driving cap, and the teacher looking lady with the peter pan collar, and the false-eyelash lady, and the mother and son painting duo. But only as part of my running bus narrative.
But one of my tenants got on the bus. He’s a nice buy. Big and quiet. Musician, works the night shift at the hospital. He’s taking some evening classes, so we’ve run into each other a couple times on the bus lately. We said our pleasantries and even got off at the same stop to connect with our next buses. His was on the other side of University Avenue, quite possibly the busiest street in St. Paul, and he also crossed Pascal Street to get to his stop. I went to my little stop and paced around. I’m a pacer. Rarely do good things come from standing still.
I noticed that my friend was still on my side of University. He was leaning over a bike which was held by a different guy. The second guy was a Mexican looking guy with a pretty nice bike. Something wasn’t working and the two of them were talking about it. This went on for another couple minutes. A young college aged white kid sped by my stop and crossed towards them. He zoomed past them about 40 feet, then he stopped. He turned around and went back to the other two.
Now there was my tenant, a mixed guy with fair skin and kinky hair; the Mexican guy with the broken bike; and a white kid, all crowded around this bike. The light had now cycled through 6 or 8 walk cycles, and none of the pedestrians was moving. They worked together trying to figure out why the back wheel wouldn’t move on this guy’s bike. They gestured a lot, and it looked like maybe the Mexican guy didn’t speak English all that well.
My tenant was a pretty nice guy. I could see him trying to help a stranger. But when the second biker rode by and stopped and turned around, I wondered if there was some sort of unwritten code of ethics that bikers follow. He was young. The age where I sort of imagine kids to be really into themselves and not much else. But he stopped, turned around and tried to help.
They never did get the bike going. The Mexican guy had to cross the street holding the back end of the bike up, which is an extreme pain in the ass because the only wheel that hits the pavement is the one which is attached to the steering wheel. That wheel wants to wander all over the place, and if you are lifting the back wheel up, its awfully hard to steer the front of the bike. They all went their separate ways, but now they’re stuck in a nice cozy humanity spot in my brain.