A few days ago I was out on a bike ride, heading up to Mount Lukens (a peak—the highest point in Los Angeles city limits—named after Theodore Lukens, aka the “Father of Forestry”). I set out around 8 am, with my phone loaded up with enough podcasts to keep my mind numb and (mostly) free from wander for the four or so hours I’d be out.
As I made my way around the outskirts of the Rose Bowl, I passed two other riders, offering the California wave (✌️) as I inched past, but then heard my name yelled out as I cycled away. Turning around, I couldn’t recognize who it was, but as I slowed down and came back alongside the duo I realized it was the owner and an employee of a local bike shop. The owner’s hair had grown out into curly locks that rolled out of the back of his helmet like fluffy waves. I kept close to the middle yellow divider line while they hugged the white line on the right, pulled up my mask, and we chatted for a bit as we rode. The weather, the shop, and sure, the pandemic came up a few (dozen) times. “Looking good,” he said to me at one point, which I didn’t know how to respond to.
The vast majority of my conversations over the last many months have been transactional. Buy this, shop here, eat this, tip here. When we eventually parted ways, I realized this was my first chance encounter with an associate—one of those people you wouldn’t call a friend, but you still feel a spark of joy to run into—since the pandemic started. Unplanned moments, when this rare, hold a special power. They sit in your memory longer, tumbling dry each little interaction, a cozy spot to return to it.
Currently reading: The Stand by Stephen King
Currently watching: Queen’s Gambit
Recently watched: Underwater (⭐️⭐️⭐️), Possessor (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️), Mystery of DB Cooper (⭐️⭐️⭐️), Bombshell (⭐️⭐️)
Currently listening: The War on Drugs Live Drugs