Photo of Shawn Mahaney

HVY MTL's Blog

Has Been Reading Too Many Novels

Current mood:pleased

The quiet houses slipped by briskly in the morning light.  They always did.  Lucas knew this route well and even the overzealous amateur landscapers left good setbacks on this street.  The scene had a pastoral beauty, with a gilding of 'old money'.  He took this route to work for just that reason (and perhaps for the half dozen stop lights he'd skip on the main highway), but the same scene had played out on many other workday mornings.  He had never learned the names of all the usual shrubs and trees in the region, but he knew which ones featured in the better neighborhoods, and which were favorites of the more expensive landscapers.  He wondered if census takers would ever get clueful enough to use information like that.

Today Argent Lucas was not sightseeing, he was moving, fast.  He was scanning the road ahead and around with uncommon attentiveness - uncommon among others but second nature to him.  Three quarters through the neighborhood, something new finally came to break up the stale horizon.  A cyclist was pedaling up a slight grade on the opposite side of the street.  Behind the cyclist was another car, the standard mid-luxury SUV of the block.  They would pass all at once together.  Instinctively he looked his near side for extra room he could give the approaching traffic.  He knew no one else would think to do that when the cyclist is on the _other_ side, but then few others had tried to commute on bicycle - in suburban Detroit.

There was no room to give.  The narrowness of the street was a tattletale on the age of the neighborhood, the cracks near the gutter fine lines on her face.  Lucas slowed, letting the truck pass before the bike.  He had a moment to observe the cyclist.  The rider was certainly not on business, and his focus was not on the scenery.  He didn't have anywhere to be by 8 am, or probably 9.  No, this person was riding down motorized right-of-ways, sticking to what would be called 'safe' neighborhoods (safe of petty crime perhaps, but rife with distracted drivers!), for something to do. 

Lucas looked again at the upper-middle-class homesteads around him.  He thought about the mindset of the people here, on the better side of the highway.  Life should be easy.  Yet they have to make up challenges for themselves.  He knew the packs of mid-morning runners would be out soon.  Before them a horde of self-important middle-managers and agents of all types would set out from these blocks, with phones stuck permanently to their heads.  How many of those conversations really had to happen right that hour?  How many stirred up more trouble than they resolved?  As the street finally widened, he decided once again that he could hardly find his 'peers' among such a lot. 

But then the analysis turned inward.  He caught himself thinking these things almost 'out loud', in discrete composed literature.  Ha!  He'd been reading too many novels lately.  He was starting to narrate his own life!  In that modern rhythm of life, he started to formulate the idea into an online share-point.  Yes, "is starting to describe his own observations in the third person!" would be a smirkful Facebook status.  He would have to decide later about leaving the exclamation point in or out.  Until then, he'd fret about this new inclination growing into something of blog proportions.  No, that would be absurd...


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