September Writing Challenge, Post 20: Of Bikes and Lungs

Some years ago – let’s call it twenty – I was having an espresso at Sonsie on Newbury St. in Boston. The big front windows were open to the sidewalk. A guy in his twenties went by on a bicycle, smoking as he rode. Not only was he smoking, but there was an ashtray attached to his handlebars by a bit of hose clamp. This was, for obvious reasons of aerodynamics, not going to hold any ash or butts – it was clearly more of a statement. I suspected he thought he was pretty hardcore.

A few days ago, at the Starbucks on Capitol St. in Indianapolis, I saw another guy on a bike. He was in his sixties or later. He had oxygen tanks hanging off his pannier rack, connected to a nasal cannula that he was wearing as he rode. It did not look like a statement.

That guy was pretty hardcore.

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