Sunday, May 3, 2015

First Friday Writing for Randos: PBP 2003 by Paul Johnson

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's an excerpt from Paul Johnson's account of his PBP Ride in 2003* 

At the cafeteria I was treated like some sort of returning war hero. 
I was exhausted and a little off balance, I’m sure they were probably thinking: “This one, should we allow him to eat or send him to the infirmary?” I got to the food line just as the day shift volunteers were being fed. No problem I thought, but a little old man comes running through the crowd and insists, “Ah non, monsieur, you must go to the head of the line!” He whisks me ahead of the workers in their yellow shirts, carries my tray for me, gets me soup, won’t give me the tray but insists I go through the line picking the entrees I desire while he loads them onto the tray. Then leads me to the cashier, where I pay. Once paid, the cashier motions me to stay and calls for little Claudette. A cute little school girl possible 12 or 13 comes up, gets my tray and leads me to a seat in the cafeteria. She’s beaming in her new school dress. Due to my fatigue, I am on the verge of tears.

Is it the fatigue, or the poignancy of this moment, this bridging of cultures? I’ve ridden my bicycle right into a strange world that has existed for a very long time. Here I’m accepted as more than just a stranger on a bicycle. I’m some sort of distant kin, different but connected. It’s just all so bound in tradition and honor that I feel a sense of duty to finish this thing out. So many people going out of their way to help me achieve what I thought was a personal goal, but I am learning, is really a small part of something much bigger.


You can read the entire Post here:  Dr. Codfish Chronicles PBP 2003

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