Thursday, July 31, 2008

Man. Bike.

A scene from last week.

On a muggy and disturbingly hot day, I was sitting in a Puerto Rican restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall on a main avenue in the Bronx. As I was eating my Super Desayuno (eggs, salami, mashed plantain, and fried cheese) at the white counter, a tall, drowsy and thin man with pockmarked, light skin sauntered into the place sideways.

He turned around to show what he was struggling to lug into the restaurant. It was a girl's bike, which he then tried to sell to the customers for "fordy dahlahs, fordy dahlahs".

When nobody took the offer, he exhaled and sauntered back out; the labor and burden of carrying the bike literally uphill of the avenue and into as many stores as he could was evident on his face. As well as buckets of sweat.

Back to my plate, I scooped some plantain, stabbed a piece of cheese and ran it through egg yolk from a bleeding sunnyside up serving. I supposed I was to assume he was looking for money to support his drug habit, but I know not the man's history and intent.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesAugust 1, 2008 at 3:41 AM

    I love the way you interact your own story with that of the bike seller - his speach reminded me of an old man that used to roam the streets of my town, banging the subway walls with his stick and yelling what sounded like "Aaaaah, up the Bee-Gees, up the Bee-Gees" in a thick irish accent.

    It's true that we do judge people and make decisions about them - but if he was selling it legitimately why not place an ad in the paper or something?

  2. Hmmmm I choose to think he was selling it for his children or grandchildren to be a able to eat. What did you say your eggs were? Sunny side up?

  3. The Clandestine SamuraiAugust 1, 2008 at 8:34 AM

    Yeah. I usually ask for them to be scrambled, but I've gotten used to the sunnyside up style.

  4. I miss posting my daily activities.

    Dont you love our P rican food? ;)

  5. I like that posting.
    A snapshot of life.
    A recognition that we don't know what happens before and after we enter snapshots of other people's lives.

    p.s. I'm going to NY in the fall for a couple of days. That restaurant sounds great ... can you recommend any favorites you might have???

  6. Don't Feed The PixiesAugust 6, 2008 at 10:34 AM

    By the way - i saw Batman TDK last night and thought it was great stuff. A bit over-long maybe and i don't think that Ledger deserves the posthumous oscar he will inevitably get (though he was fantastic), but what was that nonsense with the phone-computer? Why build that only to destroy it after one use? How did he know he would need it?

    Still a great film though - everyone else needs to up their game

  7. ha, the comment on my post is truer than you know with my boss. anyways, I checked out your blog: life, literary memento, and I love the style and the great fluidity of your writing. I want to read and read and read. unfortunately until i return to the States the said boss will be taking up my time.

  8. great post! very in the moment, felt like i was there with you.
    i might a have told him that craigslist works great for selling bikes (and is much easier on the back!). but i have a feeling this guy would have just glared at me...

  9. Bobbb - Citizen of EarthAugust 7, 2008 at 5:55 PM

    The man and a bike...
    Perhaps simply outgrown

    You are exactly right
    You don't know

    I also think you are correct in saying "I supposed I was to assume..."

    There is a sickness in this society, where we are simply expected to "assume" the worst.

    It is so much easier than persuing the truth.
    And SO much more believable...

    It has been a long time since I've visited the Bronx

    Sounds like a road trip...

  10. That is quite sad, when people do everything to get money, even if it means humiliatings themselves... :(

    I agree with Don't Feed The Pixies. I also love the way you interact your own story with the man's story. It shows us how indifferent we are. There are so much misery out there, and we can't do anything about it all... so we tend to instead focus on or own somewhat fortunate life. I mean, we all hear about what's happening out there in this world; war in Europe and conflicts in Africa. Even though we, or at least I, do manage to sleep the most nights...


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