On my way home from work the other week, I was minding my own business at a stoplight in downtown Gresham. It was raining, so I was wearing my rain pants and had pulled my booties over my shoes. I’d put on my totally-not-waterproof-even-though-it’s-supposed-to-be (oh well) bikey jacket with reflective piping and my bright yellow helmet cover that sort of keeps my hair dry but mostly makes me feel more visible. All my stuff was stashed in a waterproof pannier on my back rack.
While I was waiting for the light to change, a man came right up to me, super purposefully, his face a beaming grin. “You must be a commuter!” he said, definitely in italics. “Look at you! You look just like a certified bike commuter!”
He was so excited, as though “bicycle commuter” were an exotic species rarely found in the wild. Which I guess might actually be true in Gresham. Much more so than in Portland, anyway. And it just so happened to be his lucky to day to catch a real live bicycle commuter out in her natural commuting environment.
I laughed and we talked about biking for as long as it took the light to change, and then off we both went, me feeling kind of like by simple virtue of existing, I’d just somehow made his day.
Commuting via bike is so normal to me that I forget it’s not everyone’s experience. Even more so, I forget that not everyone is used to even seeing bicycle commuters. Craziness. But I’m glad I made his day! And it was fun, for a second, to feel like a rare and exotic wild species — though I hope we become less and less endangered.