Friday, April 16, 2021

"Is That an R?"



 




The other day I was early for a doctor appointment so I sat down for fifteen minutes in Madison Square Park, which is a favorite place. I enjoyed looking at the lawn and watching the people pass by, many walking their dogs. After a while, I stood up to head to the appointment. A woman sitting about six feet away from me on the bench, who I hadn’t noticed, said to me, “Is that an “R” on the front of your bike? Is that a Raleigh?”

 

She was pointing to a logo on the stem of the bike. “Yes it is,” I said. “How long have you had it?” she asked. “One year,” I replied. When the summer looting happened last year, my previous bike was stolen from where it was chained on the street - a vandal had power-drilled through the lock. “I found this bike on Craigslist and went to Brooklyn to buy it,” I told the woman. “Oh,” she said. “I’ve had my Raleigh since 1963.”

 

She stood up to get a better look at my bike. I saw she was small, older, face-masked, wearing an employee card around her neck that said MET, which I thought stood for Met Museum, but later realized that MetLife has its headquarters on the park. She told me she stores her bike in her apartment building. “I used to put my son, who is now 51, on the bike and take him to school, down Park and back up Lexington,” she said. “Neither of us wore helmets then. Now I’m appalled to think about it.”

 

“I’ve never seen an “R” like that,” she said, and got out her phone to take pictures of my bike.  Crouching to take a photo of another logo on the seatpost, she said, “The other day I went down to storage and looked at my bike. I don’t ride it as much.” It was time for me to go and we said our goodbyes. I whizzed off to my appointment. I hope she gets her Raleigh out soon and enjoys it.

 

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