To meet a bike commuter is to meet a misanthrope. No one is quite as well accustomed to the human failures than those who day in and day out are asked to bear them and so closely. But I contend this: there are no people who trust others more than bike commuters do and if you aren't at heart an optimist, you'll never persist in bike commuting. Because the imbalance, the imbalance in power, the imbalance in responsibility, the imbalance in vulnerability, is rarely so great as when you're on the road a foot from a car piloted at high speed by another (thoroughly fallible) person and though you might not like people, you absolutely 100% must completely trust them because if you didn't trust them, and trust them wholly, there's no way that you'd ever put yourself in this position. So, there you go: bike commuters distrust everyone and trust everyone wholly. Bike commuters are suspicious of all and yet rely on everyone. It's a strange thing, but it's that thing that it is.
This morning I saw Ed and I rode with him for some blocks and then some blocks later I saw Mary and with her I posed for a goofy picture by those trees. Then I rode to work and before I got there I stopped for a bagel at a cafe next to a cathedral and then ate that bagel at work, which was right down the hill from the cathedral.
On the way home, I didn't know the way to go, so I chose the route down New Mexico and through Glover Park and Georgetown. I found myself behind another bike commuter, which is rare enough for these parts. Then there were no bike commuters for some time, though there were lots and lots and lots of car commuters, all of whom absolutely positively needed to be driving at that time because that must be true because why else would they be driving? Then it was M Street through Georgtown, which is one of my more favorite streets in spite of itself. Then it was L Street and 15th and bike commuters on Bikeshare and other bike commuters on other bikes and then scads of gobs of bike commuters waiting at the red light before the turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Some wanted to go fast and others slow and some of the slow ones wanted to go faster and some of the faster ones probably wanted to go even faster still and all I wanted to do was get home at a pace that was appropriate for my demeanor and disposition and hopefully that was what happened.
At the top of the hill and along East Capitol, I saw Taylor, astride his commuter All City and we rode from the parts of Capitol Hill to the parts of Capitol Hill that are still parts of Capitol Hill but maybe parts that those who live in the indisputable parts who prefer to disavow even though that's barely even 11 block later and we chatted and talked bikes and then parted. To commute by bicycle is to be a misanthrope. To commute by bike in a community of bicycle commuters is to never be alone.