I went in to have a look at a bicycle. The one that’s really a road bike. Really sleek and doesn’t have gears. I saw the shopkeeper was at the back so didn’t want to bother with asking any questions. I proceeded to check out the bikes but the posters also caught my attention. Of course posters at any shop aren’t unwarranted and something quite expected.
When started looking at the bone accessories I was greeted with a pleasant “Hello!”. It wasn’t the kind you get used to in Japanese malls. It was a classic greeting that almost seemed out of a classic Hollywood movie. Unnatural for a bicycle shop but stimulus enough to grab one’s attention. Perhaps it wasn’t just the greeting but also the treble in voice you ought to hear from an elderly and experienced gentlemen.
A little man came out the back and asked me what kind of a flashlight I was looking for? His appearance did justice to the tremble in his voice but not too his accent. I now had to but the accessory which I knew at the time I hadn’t entered the shop to buy in the first place. Perhaps I was sold but this guy wasn’t selling to me.
He proceeded to tell me about his passion for bikes but his voice fell flat and a tad bit less excited when he said he was a cancer survivor. He didn’t ride anymore but heck he could show me his regrown pony tail to prove that he in fact used to be a biker. Unfortunately the cancer wasn’t his only tragedy. He had lost his wife a couple of years as well. He was rejuvenated towards the end now. Bikes were all he looked forward to. Reminiscing this incident makes me realize that I was audience to his life experiences for less than 10 minutes yet he told me all this and I still remember it.
Perhaps ‘biker-man’, as I fondly recall him, had a treasure trove of stories. He was brimming with life experiences. He knew his journey would come to an end soon but he was now over his mid life crisis. He liked an audience wherever, whenever. His shop was just a vent for his passions. The bicycles were just manifestations of things he could take care of. His family was nowhere around. All he did now was steal time. Not happy, contented yet loving every moment of living. Excited about each moment that he grasped. Not worried about whether he would amount to anything and not concerned about what anyone would think about his actions. Not careless yet carefree.