Same Streets

Same streets, different bike, different day.   I’m rolling up 13th between E and F at eight am handling parcel delivery in my role as a DC bike messenger.  Less than 24 hours ago, as a member of the Cycle Life composite squad, I was hitting the same section hard.  A small rise in the quick twisty race course.  A part of the USA  Crit Series.

It’s quiet now.  No crowds and no evidence of the impressively done event.  Just folks getting back into Monday work mode and me wondering if I could have pushed it just a little more yesterday.

The bike I’m on is a dated Cannondale Cad 6.   Retired racer relegated (and reborn) to courier rig.  An old war horse and what I was on the last time I saw regular NRC action circa 2001 era.  Now, that is rare to never.

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Nature Boy

As a DC Bike Messenger for 19 years running I see a lot of stuff.  I see a lot of strange stuff and some not so strange stuff.   Then there are things that look rote until they appear again and you realize they aren’t.

For instance the person I noticed walking one day.  In a suit.   Tired but somewhat composed.   The next day seen again.   In another part of town.  Same suit.  A little disheveled.  A little less composed.    Still walking, but blending in.  A part of the crowd.

This continues.   Each time more ragged.   More dirty but still a guy in a suit, walking.  I cover a wide area of the city.  So does this person.  I figure I may be the only one who is aware that he is basically on walkabout.  From somewhere, for some reason.  One day he just left something behind and started walking.  My vantage point is invisible but my scan is wide.  Blended in and part of the fabric.  Not stopping too long and not repeating too much.

There is another man who has been in his routine for as long as I have been in mine.  Between 9th Street and 14th Street NW bordered by L to the north and D to the south.   A small region but big enough to get lost in.   Mostly alleys and loading docks. He rarely comes out onto the main drags during business hours.

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Packing Heat

So I’m in line for the Toyota Congressional oversight hearings at the Rayburn House Office Building in my part time role as professional line stander. I’m there with about 150 others: homeless dudes, people sleeping in various positions, slumped against a wall, on rolled up mats, with bags and tents. All kinds of crap around and shady looking characters.

Anyone can enter a Congressional office building if they pass through the metal detectors, but there are no real security checks like identification or anything.  

OK. So, amid all that line-standing clutter, FOUR Capitol Hill Police Officers zero in on ME and say can we talk to you. I’m behind a velvet rope, like in a club or movie theater that they had set up to guide the line. I say sure even though I am a little nervous since there are four of them. What else am I going to say? Plus I know a lot of these guys and they know me. I have been coming in and out of these building for years as a bike messenger.

They say, “No, over here….” (pointing) So I go over the rope and say, OK. They say “No, walk with us.”

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