A black cat just crossed my path.
I was making my way back on bicycle from Young at Heart practice around five o'clock when it happened.
Minutes before, I had been heckled by some roustabouts from the Florence Community Center. One of them had yelled something like "get a license!" and I plum near rode into a snowbank. It was pretty funny as he was the passenger. Crazy kids. All hopped up on goofballs I'm sure, and out looking for trouble. Ahh, the life of a teen aged ruffian.
But it made me stop and think about how I used to think those things about people just like me; people who just scream: "I got a DUI and lost my license. Otherwise there's no reason on earth I'd be riding around on this Walmart bicycle with an inordinate amount of stuff on my back, huffing and puffing in baggy Wrangler jeans, a black jacket and winter gloves. Stupid laws."
Don't get me wrong, I like riding a bicycle. I like getting exercise. And I was excited to be able to ride from Florence to Northampton with my guitar, a couple of effect pedals, all my cords, and everything else in my bag that I bring around town anyway. My tools if you will.
But I know how I looked, and I know what I would have thought if I had driven by in my car a few months ago. "Poor bastard. One of the unlucky suckers that got pinched. Hasn't happened to me in almost twenty years. Whew! He's probably on his way to AA or something." and I'd hastily search for something wooden to knock on; in this case it would have been my guitar and it would have been in the backseat.
I made this connection only after I saw a few people out on bikes who actually seemed like it was their choice. They had the helmet, the spandex (yuk), the special shoes, and the two thousand dollar Trek ultralight forty-two speed with the extra reflectors and the mirror and all that bullshit.
As for me:
I was on a rusty bike that my former neighbors left under the porch a year ago. I had a Sox hat on my head, a guitar on my back, and a black laptop case bursting at the seams around my neck. And no, it did not contain a laptop. It contained my portable analog office; papers and pens and such; the stuff I used to carry around in my car.
Yeah, I know, one of those unlucky suckers who got pinched.
"Get a license!"
Well, starting tomorrow, I very well may be able to do just that.
It seems that the forty five day suspension I was given on January 23rd is finally here and I can't wait to go to the registry and get laughed at. Hysterical, milk out the nose, tapping-the-co-worker-next-to-to-you-and-pointing kind of laughing. Laughing at the guy with the laptop case full of papers that's expecting to get his license back.
"Step right over here sir, I need to take your picture. What? Oh, no. It's not for the license, you have to wait another couple of years for that. No, I want this for my collection of suckers who think they're different from the rest of the second offenders. I have a whole album full of 'em. Smile please."
And then they'll tell me I should call my lawyer on the payphone that's right outside; the one with the three guys on bikes waiting in line to use it.
At least that's what I expect to happen. You know, prepare for the worst.
I'm actually going to wait until Monday to go there.
Tomorrow I have more important things to do.
Tomorrow I'm going to practice guitar all day. I'm going to go to the gym (on my bike), come home, get dressed up, and go play a sold out show with the Young at Heart Chorus. It's on a beautiful college campus in a breathtaking theater. Oh, and I was told to ignore the cameras. Actually, we all were. The Chorus, Steve, and the band were all told that "Mugging for the cameras is illegal." We should be used to it by now but it's so easy to forget.
Because the Today show is going to be there. Yes, the Today show from the TV.
And Nightline is coming on Wednesday.
And they're going to arrive in giant Hummers full of massive recording equipment. They'll unload all manner of cameras and laptops and buttons and ribbons and boxes and bowses.
And I'll roll up in style.
On my old neighbor's bike with everything I need to pay the bills slung around my neck and strapped to my back.
The guy who definitely looks like he got a DUI and can't believe his luck.
Well, I can't really believe my luck.
But in this case it's a good thing.
But yeah, the black cat. Never seen it before in my neighborhood.
I'm not a super superstitious person. But I always knock on wood whenever I proclaim good fortune aloud. It's just a good idea. It's usually not too hard to do. There's a lot of wood in the world. Good thing too. Cause plastic guitars sound just awful.
Thanks for reading.
See you tomorrow.