Driving and Biking in the Big City

An unexpected meeting on the bike path

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I was upon him before either of us noticed. The meeting was inevitable. He looked up at me with dark, heavy eye-lashed eyes and out of a bit of a ruddy complexion. Could he have been 30 or older? What was he doing on that kid’s bike. It was really small for his frame, at least 5-feet-10.

Had I not biked up quickly and close, I would never have been able to describe him. Dark pants, heavy sweatshirt and hoody pulled over his ears and much of his face. Nothing specific would have registered.

But he didn’t see me until he did. You might say, I surprised him. All of my life folks have said I am quiet-footed, in this case quietly biking.

So he looked up, startled, and we made eye contact. What is it between two strangers that passes quickly and you know something about someone without a word and with just a glance. He was surprised and then angry at seeing me. He had entered the bike path from a nice neighborhood in the middle of the morning on a school day. I happened to have taken a vacation day or I never would have been there.

In an instant, I knew he didn’t want to be seen and had been seen … by me. My senses told me he didn’t quite register me as harmless. We’d made eye contact, human contact. I could recognize him again. He could recognize me. Something he had been doing or thinking was not for an audience, even an audience of one.

I skirted him quickly and, in my mind, as casually as possible. I never looked back to see if he was gaining on me. I turned off the isolated bike path and onto a busy road. I presume he stayed on the bike path because he didn’t come out behind me.

I know where he was and what he looked like. He knows the same and certainly could identify my bike again. I could identify the bike he was on, although I suspect he’d borrowed it from a younger kid.

This has happened to me before in my lifetime as a police reporter. I arrived before the police at the scene of a suspect in the murder of five people. I drove by this man who, in fact, was found guilty of mass murder months later. He was raking his leaves in the front of a house that was the biggest, most frightening mess I’d ever seen. He looked up from his raking and we made eye contact. The feeling that passed back then was of his ultimate glee. Cold and irrational. Kids biked up and down that same street at the same time. My information was a mere tip but I knew, with that look, that I was in the right place.

Back then, I made the loop and parked a few houses down until we heard the helicopters and sirens coming in for his arrest.

Yes. I know trouble when I see it. Sometimes in just a glance. Perhaps not big trouble this time but mischief and perhaps burglary. And now, we wait and see.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

February 5, 2014 at 10:32 am

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