Skippy R's picture
08.03.2008 | Comments(27)

Maybe I made a mistake

Maybe I made a mistake.

Summer finally caught up to us a few weeks ago, just as my bike commuting was becoming routine. We've had 17 straight days of triple-digit heat. It's taking me longer to recover, and it affects my judgment.

For instance, last week I was wheeling through downtown one afternoon, past City Hall, past the homeless hangout, into the Farmers' Market district. There's a flower market there that's sort of an oasis on my trek. It's beautiful, especially in contrast to the baking heat of the concrete around me.

I jumped the curb to get a better look, lost control of the bike and slammed directly into a concrete post on the sidewalk. With my cat-like reflexes I embraced the impact and did a controlled collapse, ending up hugging the street. The bike's fork was bent and wouldn't roll. I was scratched and bruised, but nothing was broken.

It was late enough that the market area was pretty deserted. Like many urban areas, downtown Dallas goes dead after work, although that's starting to change. Still, the sun was up just high enough to fry me. I tried to drag the bike into a patch of shade. At more than 100 degrees it was starting to sap my energy.

I called my wife. This concrete post sort of jumped out in front of me, I told here. She said she'd come pick me up after she finished watering the garden. Fine.

I couldn't sit down because the concrete was too hot. I wanted to go over to the flower market, but I didn't want to leave my bike. I was embarrassed and sort of stunned.

In an instant, my whole afternoon had changed.

I was about to lodge a private complaint to the Lord about my condition, when I noticed Big Bob.

I'm calling him Big Bob, but all I saw was a large homeless man, clutching a beer bottle in a paper sack shuffling past me down the sidewalk. He didn't acknowledge me, and he didn't pass close enough for an exchange of greetings.

I almost felt like Bruce Willis in Sixth Sense. We were in two separate dimensions. Although I was sweaty and haggard-looking by this point, I was obviously not from his world. I was dead to him, and under normal circumstances he would have been to me. So, what was God trying to tell me here?

Big Bob walked over toward the wall of a building, until he almost had his nose to it. What the...

He unzipped and peed right against the wall. Broad daylight. Didn't even set down his bottle. Then he shuffled off.

Gee. That puts a cap on today's experience, I thought.

What brings a man to the place where his city serves him merely as a latrine? What mistakes, wrong turns and blind alleys in life brings you to this place?

Well, maybe in an instant, his whole life had changed.

And that bottle in a bag. One thing we learned early on when our community started taking in homeless people is that when they tell you they only had a few of beers, they're not talking about that little frosty bottle of Heineken you share with a friend at the local pub. They're talking about a 24-ounce bottle of Bud from 7-11. Two or three of those better explains why they, for instance, might have set fire to a dumpster.

One man who lived with us for several years explained that the bottles also come in handy at night. Just before you lie down under the bridge, you very loudly smash the bottle, making sure everyone else sees the remaining jagged edges of what's left in your hand just before you curl up. And the leftover broken glass can serve as a warning if anybody sneaks up on you while you're asleep.

But I didn't have to worry about any of that. I just had to get what was left of my bike back to my renovated two-story home in an old East Dallas historical district.

No wonder Big Bob relieved himself on his city.

Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe we all did.

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FurlStumbleUponTechnorati Tags: Bike Commute Homeless, Christian humor, satire, humor


Process Deist | 10:14 pm on 8/03/2008

Who is my neighbor?
And why in the hell do I keep meeting God this way?
Please God, quit hanging around, dwelling within a homeless derelict. Don't you care about your image?

pa personal injury | 07:43 am on 11/26/2010

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Mary | 12:08 pm on 2/18/2011

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SRebbe | 03:00 pm on 8/05/2008

the day after I was fired I went to Wendy's for lunch. I had $7 in my pocket. I bought lunch with $5 and took it back to my car. a guy tapped on my window. obvious he was homeless. 'I don't bother nobody,' he told me when I unrolled the window. 'I mind my own business... I'm just wunna the street people here, I just want something to eat, if you have anything to help out with ma'am...' I looked over at my sack of food, knowing that I only had 2 bucks in my pocket and that would be the rest of my money for the rest of the week. but this may be his only meal today. or tomorrow. I had food at home.

I asked him what he liked to eat. 'burgers? fries? you can get a couple things in there for a couple dollars... I have 2 bucks...' I dug the bills out of my pocket and handed them to him. he thanked me over and over and walked into the restaurant. I drove away and then remembered the change in my center console... well over $3.

when I went back, he wasn't there.

supposedly, I live in one of the best cities in America. only the poor help the poor, tho. this proves it, for me.

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jona | 04:29 pm on 12/05/2010

It is always a pleasing experience to explore the city with a bicycle. And if the expedition has an interesting incident, it would be more memorable. Thanks for the nice story. id plates

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have no idea who that is. If Burbank is near Charlotte, then maybe...otherwise, I think our zip codes are about 3000 miles apart. I went to Burbank, CA once; then I left//

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salvage yard | 05:01 pm on 2/27/2011

Due to climate change, accelerated by pollution of all kinds, the weather man is behaving erratically; summers becoming extra hotter and winters becoming cooler. It seems from your narration that the summer is at its peak in that part of the country. Thanks for sharing your experience.

pass4sure | 08:27 am on 3/10/2011

On Tuesday afterwards plan I had several errands to run as able-bodied as just absent some accepted biking fun. Stop #1 was the condo, for the the final airing through above-mentioned to the closing. All looked able-bodied so I pedaled on to stop #2, the Post Office. On the way I was pedaling in the bike lane and a car was axis larboard advanced and there was a band of cars chock-full abaft it. Bike lane was clear, but next to the car axis larboard was a anchored car. Plenty of allowance for me, a cyclist, in the bike lane to get through. That was, until the barter abaft the car axis larboard anticipation they’d clasp themselves through the bike lane. I’m not absolutely abiding how they anticipation their big barter was traveling to administer to fit in the amplitude advanced abundant for maybe two cyclist (I don’t even anticipate my Fit would accept fit).

luke | 01:08 pm on 3/13/2011

It would be better if we grow more plants in cities to counter the heat and pollution. It is a nice story depicting the poor conditions of our cities. I've refreshed myself reading the post. Thanks.
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