Thursday morning, I headed out to the garage to get on my bike for the ride to work. As the garage door opened, I could hear someone outside, talking pretty loudly. This doesn’t happen in our neighborhood: (Rosewood Estates: Passersby Free Since 2001™), so I glanced out: two young reversed-cap bros, strolling down the sidewalk across the street. Whatever, I figured: someone’s grandkids visiting or kids home from college.
I took a minute to get myself ready to ride, and then headed out. I came to the end of the block just as the two perambulators did. I glanced over and gave them a hey-how’s-it-going nod. They were both pretty scruffy, but in an underemployed-hipster sorta way. On seeing me, one of them yanked his cigarette out of his mouth and blurted, “Dude, dude! Can you help us? Where the hell are we? Which way is downtown?”
I came to a full stop, studying them a little more carefully. Up closer, the misspent-minimum-wage scruffiness now looked like it was up-all-night-drinking scruffiness. “Downtown? It’s a couple miles, but the easiest way to just to head out to the walking path there and walk till you get to Division. Where downtown are you trying to go?”
The second one gave me a look that suggested that the all-night drinking might have been all-night smoking up. “To the, uh, Rueb ‘n’ Stein,” a restaurant-bar downtown which I kinda doubt is open at 7:45 a.m. “Oh, yeah, I know that street.” He sucked on his own cigarette, saying to No. 1, “Dude, I can totally know that street.”
At about this point, I got a powerful whiff of B.O. coming from one or both of them. “It’s a good morning for a walk!” I said, getting ready to roll again. They said, a little too cheerily, “Yeah, man, sure is! Thanks!” and crossed the street to find the walking path.
‘What the hell was that about?’ I wondered as I rode away. ‘How do you wind up in our residential subdivision on a Thursday morning and not know where you are?’