The Mornings are the Only Safe Time

Mar 21 2020

In the afternoons social distance is near impossible to find.  In the night, in my neighborhood, things are different.  Maybe dangerous.

There’s people pacing around the deli that sells beer at 4:00 pm and there’s a lot of traffic.  Similar to an average rush hour-have to boss up on the lane or you’re getting pushed into parked cars status.  Chelten is busier than a normal afternoon.  A minivan busts the light by 10 seconds.  Two patrons of the beer store scream in his window from the crosswalk.  “Hey man you ran the light!”

Get up to the new yuppie coffeeshop and it’s closed.  No takeout.  That place must have been a huge investment. No money coming in. Move up Wayne and it calms down once I cross Lincoln.  There’s a lot of parent-kid bike rides happening.  A lot of car cleaning and lawn work.

Cross the bridge over the Cresheim trails to Chestnut Hill and go into the first loop. Cut off by a car anxious to get to the trails.  Look into the window and see a kid and his dad. Draft off them, he’s going  25mph but you can go fast right here on a bike.   He waves at me to pass as he parks.   Fuck off. Cars lining the side of the road.  There’s more cars parked then a holiday in the summer.  Groups of people, walking 4 across in the middle of the road.  These people got Corgis.  One family has 4. Multigenerational makeup.  Do they all live together? They’re walking close.  Do this loop once more and try to dip down to Valley Green.  So many cars parked.  Climb back out and head to the golf course thinking I’m getting in some laps.

There’s people everywhere.  Golf course is very active.  No carts.  This area usually has a few walkers or joggers.  Now it’s like Central Park.  Couple of laps of dodging people and I get a flat.  Look down at the tire and its worn through. I hate Schwables. Seriously.  I’m like a Conti only guy. No Vittoria is ok. Put in a new tube, finish the bigger loop and head home.  Feeling better on a bike than I have in a while. More people out. Saw skateboarders sessioning a curb. Yes. Kids on the street.  Cars driving to fast and kids on bikes and scooters.  Lots of walkers looking at me.

They’re just wandering around.  Nowhere to go, nothing to do.  I call them Wanderers like the song.  Wander around around around.  They’re everywhere.  Flooding the paths and the parks.  Trying out their sport leisure gear.  I knew it was bad when I saw a guy on the xc ski rollerblades with the ski poles. Stay home and do Nordic Track shithead, you’re going to get hurt.

Enjoy the descents.   This bike has a compact and you can’t pedal downhill much.  Enjoy coasting.  Get back and tuck.  A wanderer says “What’s up man?” Nod and continue going down.  on the Germantown side now.  The autobody paint shop is closed.  Chelten and Wayne is looking rough.  Bar patrons have a card table set up outside.  Styrofoam cups full of something.  Corners are swelling with people.  Lots of marker tags.

Trying to cross and a woman with a shaved head, grown out dyed neon yellow, keeps walking across against traffic.  I readjust to not hit her until I’m almost in the oncoming lane.  Dip back around her and look her in the eyes.  She’s looking right back into mine, ready to fight.

Kids running across the Ave.  Young boys trying to look hard on the sidewalk.  A lady in a pink sweatsuit is yelling at a car, her hands on the hood.  The car is packed up, moving day style.  The driver looks forward not looking at her. “You’re going to leave me in the middle of this shit?!”

My street is ok. Cops doing something on the corner of the next block. Sirens on, not checking it out.