Every town has a mainstay, that person everyone recognizes, but never knows by name; that person who is seemingly seen everywhere, yet at the same time never seen.
For me, it’s Randy. He’s the ever-present kid on the bicycle, working the bags at the Doylestown Genuardi’s, tooling around town. He’s the kid who life threw a thousand challenges at; challenges you and I will never know.
I ran into him this afternoon at the local burrito joint. He had a new shirt, a new name tag. No longer stuffing bags and sparking up conversation at the recently-sold supermarket; now slinging burritos at the recently-revamped California Tortilla.
He noticed the shirt I was wearing. I got it after riding last year’s tour of the county’s covered bridges. Randy asked me about it and we ended up talking about bicycles while I waited for my burrito. It was mid-conversation when something he said almost made me tear-up in the middle of the restaurant. He casually mentioned that we should go riding someday. He promised to take it easy on my much older legs. He said I should meet him “where the buses pick up the normal kids.”
Where the buses pick up the normal kids.
It was that moment – that single. microscopic blip in the fabric of the cosmos – where I saw the world through his eyes. Eyes that have been taught that different is normal and normal is different. Eyes that have seen everything despite never being seen themselves. Eyes that somehow still manage to look on the world with a sense of adventure and fun, enough to invite a neighbor to go riding. Eyes that see the fun in a Saturday bike ride for no particular reason.
Just like the normal kids.