Hey, I had two interesting experiences yesterday...
First thing happened as I was leaving work. The TV station where I work is in a part of town frequented by panhandlers and homeless people of every age, race, creed and gender. They usually go past the station and hit the shopping center parking lot down the block but today as I was walking to my car an older gent came up on an old beat up single speed coaster brake bike and told me he was a disabled vet who didn't get his check until Monday and could I spare him a buck so he could go to the gas station and get some air in his tire. I looked at his rear tire and it was a bit soft but rideable... just the amount of air I would have let out of my tire if I was gonna play on somebody but still wanted to keep riding.
As for being a disabled vet, he had just pedaled up the hill on a fat tire bomber and was hardly out of breath so really, how disabled could this guy be? I never know what to say to these folks... I am sympathetic to those having hardships but I like to think that if I was in the same situation I could find some way to get a few bucks besides begging. But in this case, I knew just what to say to the guy...
"Man you sure came to the right place." I told him as I opened my car door, reached behind the seat, got out my floor pump and proceeded to pump up his tire. I could see him wondering why a fat old guy would have a tire pump so readily at hand and I could see he was weighing in his mind whether he should go ahead and ask for money anyway after I'd not only inflated his tire but wrestled the tube and casing around to straighten the crooked valve stem. He decided against it and mumbled a "thankyouverymuch" and pedaled off.
The second thing happened on the way home...
I was on the phone with Nick and we were having a good laugh about the panhandler when I went by a house with a small pile of junk out front for trash pickup. I saw a large grey box with black straps around it so I went around the block and stopped. Wonder of wonders, it was a bicycle hard case!!! Also sitting on the ground was a Gateway computer. I grabbed them both and tossed them in the car. I figured it was a GI who had gotten orders to ship out... these guys throw out the damnedest stuff when they're in a hurry.
The computer had a noisy hard drive so I replaced it with one of my spares and stuck in a Windows CD but it still wouldn't boot up. I swapped the RAM sticks around and did a few other things, but no luck. I may fool around with it a bit more, or maybe I'll just take it over to my buddy at the computer store and see if I can swap it for something.
The bicycle case is a doosie tho.
I was hoping there'd be a bike in it but there was just the foam padding and a few olive drab t-shirts so I guess my theory about it belonging to a GI was right. What a find, this sucker will come in so handy next year when I pack up for Cirque!
Bob Hovey Columbus, GA USA
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