Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunday night, Pittsburgh line back to Oakland

Even from across the floor, he reeked of lemons. Fermented lemons. Strange, in a good way.

He sat up when he noticed my bike.
"Holdsworth?" He asked.
"Yeah," I said.
"Holdsworth, a Holdsworth. I've never seen that kind of bike before."
I looked at him.
"Wow, a Holdsworth. Huh. Where'd you get that bike?"
"Santa Cruz."
Then he fiddled on his phone and said "William Blake Holdsworth. English bike. Wow."
He came over to sit next to me.
"I've never seen a bike like that." The lemon smell was so strong. "I've got fifty bikes. I collect bikes. And I've never seen a bike like that." There was a family listening to the conversation a couple rows back. I caught eyes with the thirteen-year-old and she smiled.
"I'll give you a hundred dollars for it," the guy said.
"No, that's alright." I said.
"Good to meet you," he said. "My name's Derek."
"Katie." We shook.
"Can I ask you how much you got for that bike?"
"I got it for free," I was smirking in a hippy, pacifist way. "This bike found me."
"It found you? I've never seen a bike like that."
"Hmmm," I said.
 "I collect bikes. I've got fifty. This has been welded by hand. Wow." He bent down to touch my bike. Two-hundred he mouthed at me. I shook my head.
"Don't lock that bike up outside. Mount that baby on a wall." I just looked at him. This bike was meant to be rode.
"That's a real vintage bike you've got there. Real vintage."
"What have you been drinking tonight?" I asked.
"Cheap beer."
"But you smell like lemons."
"I popped in a lemon coughdrop." We sat in silence.
"I'm a busy guy, I'm a busy guy, I got a girlfriend."
"I'm busy too," I said.
"Yeah, I do things. Like, I kiss girls."
"That's nice," I said.

After he recited a poem to me about a bass trout, it was MacArthur, and I asked him if I had missed the 19th St. stop.
"You missed it," he said.
"Oh," I said. Then I rode home on my Holdsworth, feeling goddamn rad.

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