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Thursday, April 5, 2012

We Intersect, and We Move On

Those who know me – and I count you among them – know that I’m not a morning person.  This is not because I am unpleasant upon rising but because, once risen, I am forced to see the world for what it is and not as I prefer it to be. 

It is a momentary realization that I am quick to knock back. 

Once fully awake, lunch bag pulled from the fridge, bus pass confirmed, I enter the world quietly.  In the cool gloom of the morning, ever-so-slightly chirpified now that the song birds are back, I stand at the bus stop, one ear on the iPod, the other attuned to the pervert I suspect is creeping up on me.

Which brings us to Mike.

Mornin’ Mike.

Mike has not yet shown himself to be a pervert, although there is always time for that, isn’t there?  He introduced himself last summer, I believe it was, appeared out of the semi-darkness of the park, a cigarette clinging to his curled upper lip.  He wanted me to know that he saw me every day, wanted to be able to say “good morning” properly.  Introductions over, he pedaled away, the blinking red light attached to the back of his helmet winking at the past.

For months, I saw him.  From across the street, he’d bellow: “’Mornin’, Pearl!”

And I’d raise a hand.  “’Mornin’, Mike!”

And then one day, he was gone.  For months, I watched for him, vaguely missing someone I didn’t know.

It’s a funny thing, living in a city.  The people with whom I ride the bus, the security guards in my building, the people with whom I practice yoga: all of these people are strangers, intimate strangers.  We smile at each other, comment on the weather, admire each other’s handbags and shoes.

Together and alone, we intersect briefly and move on. 

When Mike disappeared, my morning was shy one helmeted, cigarette-smoking bicyclist.

And yesterday morning, he was back.

“’Mornin’, Pearl!”

“Mike!” I yell.  “Where you been?”

But Mike just waves, just keeps pedaling.  And then he is a block away and still moving, the blinking red light getting smaller and smaller.

Where had he been?  I’ll never know. 

It’s not that kind of relationship.  


Hilary said...

You have the most interesting encounters. You are a good observer of life around you.

Vicus Scurra said...

Yes, that's right, just leave us guessing.

Nessa Locke said...

Just the fact that he reappeared would make me nervous. You can't do that can you? Isn't there a law or something?
Doesn't it screw up the planetary alignment?

Amy said...

I think he went where the missing sock go.

Pearl said...

Hilary, here but not really here. :-) That's me.

Vicus Scurra, I could guess. :-) But it will cost you three -- no, four beers.

Nessa Roo, it was kind of strange, seeing him come pedaling out of the darkness like that!

Amy, or perhaps someone stole him out of the alley, like my plants, and he's been waiting for someone to come dig him up and bring him home? Ack. I wasn't going to conjecture without free beer. Dang it.

Bossy Betty said...

You? Not a morning person? Noooooo!

I think Hilary is right--You do have such keen observation skills. Perhaps it is because you are not the loud duck on the bus. You are the wise owl. (I would most definitely be the loud duck.)

Pearl said...

Bossy, I was born to watch. There are a million stories out there, and I want to notice as many of them as possible.

the walking man said...

Rather the knowledge he is peddling safely again than selling you a line.

Question: If someone get's up at 3am are they a morning person or is it still officially night making them a night person?

Anonymous said...

Mike is an interplanetary secret service man....you're back on his radar Pearl...be afraid...be very afraid.

Simply Suthern said...

We all disappear for a while for some reason or another. Then we come back to say Morn'n Pearl.

L-Kat said...

Ahhh, the suspense is killing me! Who is this Morning Mike in real life (life that begins after 9 a.m.)? Who does he report to? Why is he here?

Symdaddy said...

I've often wondered, amongst other
things, about where cyclists disappear to when they aren't cutting you up in traffic.

"Well, that another soddin' motorist cut up! I'm off!" said the
anonymous biker as he climbed back
into his SUV

Ms Sparrow said...

Perhaps Mike realized that to have a conversation about his absence would have socially escalated your relationship. He then would have felt an obligation to have additional conversations or exchanges and he'd feel embarrassed that there was nothing else to talk about. At least, that's what happens to me.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

It's the blinking light on his helmet, Pearl, he's got you hypnotized. hm...he's an alien investigating the beautiful life in Minnesota, that's it...

Joanne Noragon said...

Mild as the winter was, it may have been enough for Mike to leave the bike home. Then he wouldn't need the blinking helmet. Then he really didn't need to announce himself, since he was no longer conspicuous. Hmmm....two earbuds out, perhaps.

Pat said...

Maybe he's been inside.
That would explain his reluctance to chat about it.

Ach du lieber said...

Maybe he's deaf and couldn't hear your question.
Next time, I recommend throwing something at him. Preferably something that won't permanently maim him, but just solid enough to get his attention. Perhaps a well-aimed black patent pump?

momto8 said...

probably jail. just joking!!!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Maybe it's better you DON'T know where he went off and did...Or WHO he went off and offed...

esbboston said...

"Incarceration" (?) - Milton Bradley makes the best games in the world!

Perhaps he needed to take a smaLL break to recharge the red blinking light.

Most likely eXplanation though is weather. Snow + Ice = No Bicycle

Did you happen to have anyone yell "Good Mornin' Pearl " while using cross country skis? It was most likely Mike.

jenny_o said...

@ esbboston - lol

Pearl, that must be, as you say, a city thing. In our town, if you see someone regularly you will find yourself sharing names and asking them if they are related to (same last name) from (wherever). You are most apt to find out that you either know a relative of theirs, or, sometimes, you are one. I could never understand why lineage was a main topic of conversation for my father - until I reached the age where my curiosity kicked in and I started doing the same thing!

I think Mike was grounded by the weather. That is the most charitable explanation :)

Douglas said...

How long was he missing? Perhaps he was recovering from being hit by a... bus.

Not yours, of course.

Anonymous said...

The imponderabilities of Mike. What can one say?

Austan said...

But I love having people like that in life. A little mystery spices it up.

Kay Dennison said...

LOL My ex wasn't a morning person and I learned not to talk to him until after breakfast. Of course our son was one of those who wakes up singing which put his daddy crazy. It taught him patience. Our daughter woke grumpy so I had the fun of keeping her and her bro calm.

Jono said...

When I lived in the Miniapple there was a homeless guy I waved to most mornings. Then I didn't see him for a while until I saw his face in the paper. He had frozen to death under a nearby bridge. It's been over 30 years and I'll never forget.

Amber Star said...

I'm with Ms. Sparrow in the possibility of escalating social duties. You never know, but it could have gotten to the point of exchanging Christmas cards and such.

Also, I considered that he might have been in jail. Glad you are a lert and have your senses about you.

Anonymous said...

The "Mike's" in our lives keep us entertained don't they? I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thank you for coming to visit me today.

Mandy_Fish said...

I love this.

And I especially loved this line: "Introductions over, he pedaled away, the blinking red light attached to the back of his helmet winking at the past."

Just lovely. Funny. Poignant. Thank you.

Gigi said...

Ahh, Mike! I remember him. Wonder what he's been up to all this time? Maybe it's better we don't know.

Anonymous said...

You know you arr all on DEDST when " Billy Boo 222" gives it away with PORKMJ- Jagger.
Which they did.
And they did it with COMSTUL MEESE.
And that means they have BURCUS- FLOPME.
And when they got that " nest" and SCHERA, so went
And thank god, SOGODU brings down
For one and all.
( Not ot be confused with GREEDI or ONDCALIT)

JohnD said...

Mike is one of those alien Lerts that you have to watch out for - either that or a stand-in for 'Leatherface' from the TCSM!

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,
Yes I know, once again you've been thinking, 'Where's that incredibly witty Canadian dude who lives in England? I so look forward to one of his much sought after, thought provoking comments...' Did I ever mention I'm delusional? :)
Okay, I'm not a morning, afternoon or evening person. Which kinda' means oops and growl! :)
Your bicycle friend was at the recycling factory where he is a 'spokes'man :)
Take care and thank you for your kind and supportive comment on my blog. It was greatly appreciated.
With respect and happy writing, your way, Gary...

Unknown said...

Oh, my gosh, I've been WORRIED about Mike!!!

So glad, so very glad, he's back!!!

As long as he keeps at an appropriate distance.

Do you remember the sheepdog and the wolf who changed shifts watching the Looney Tunes flock of sheep?
"Mornin' Sam,"


"Mornin' Ralph,"

they'd intone as they punched the Shepherding Timeclock.

Unknown said...

OK, and I just read some of your comments,


honest to gosh?

I think,


"We are the bus" (sing with me)
"We are the strangelings", (hold your arms up)
"We are the ones who make your mornings weird,
By stuff we're saying...".

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Yes there are so many people with who we cross paths with each day we smile say hi sometimes have a litle idol chit chat and don't give it a second thought until one day someone isn't around and we wonder why they have vanished and know we may never find out why or where they have gone to.......

Linda O'Connell said...

He's making his way back to you. Heard on the news a waitress received a $1,200 tip which the cops confiscated as drug money. Wasn't your tip, was it?

Pat Tillett said...

I wonder how he paid his bail to get out of jail....

Elephant's Child said...

It may well be better than you don't know where Morning Mike is in his absences.

Cloudia said...

you are the chronicler of these little, but important relationships and moments, Pearl

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral


Amy said...

I often wonder about people who made a brief appearance in my life an then disappeared. There may be something that happens to bring the person to my mind.

Our lives intersect with so many people, I know I have been blessed by many people who's lives intersected with mine for a brief time.

Anonymous said...

I had a Mike in my life. It was wonderful. At first, I did suspect he was a pervert. Slowly, we became street pals. Not that kind of street pals, though. No hooking. No crime. One day, he ruined everything. He asked me out on a date. So, I moved.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

What's the problem?
You're in the US of A
Start carrying.
A .45 by choice.
If he gets too close, warn, draw and emphasise.

Tempo said...

Speaking of dead set perverts/weirdos...I see Michelle is back...
When people dont want to tell you where theyve been it's a sign that they were up to no good..or serving time.
People come and go, sometimes they have time to let you know where theyre off to and sometimes they have to take off before the cops come round..

Unknown said...

Where had he been? It would be interesting to know what questions he has of you as well.
BTW: I used to live in MN so I get the snow. I'm happy to just play in it every once and a while.
Happy Weekend!

Anonymous said...

To Linda O'Connell: That was a $12,000 dollar tip, not $1,200. We in Minnesota generally are not known for our big tipping tendencies, but that one makes up for all of the rest of us.
As to Mike? Offer him a cup of coffee the next time he rides by...like the marathon runners. He'll thank you-and then tell you where he has been all that time.

Jayne Martin said...

Wow. You're transitioning in your writing, aren't you? This is really interesting stuff. I likey a lot.

TexWisGirl said...

a great glimpse into our strange humanity.

congrats on your POTW!

Kerry said...

Reading this is the perfect start to my day. Mighty good.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Your post itself is a lovely POTW nominee (round of applause) but your commenters have taken it to a whole 'nuther level! I was giggling within moments of starting to read. :)

(My BIL rides the bus in winter and bikes to work the rest of the year. Perhaps Mike does this as well?)

VEG said...

I love this. I want more Mike. MORE MIKE NOW! Or perhaps Mike can only actually BE mysterious. It is just meant to be.

Wow I'm late to this party. Sorry Pearl.

Anonymous said...

I think we are related! And I really loved this post.