The Local Toughs
0 comment Thursday, July 31, 2014 |
On Monday I stuck around at work a little later than usual, and then decided I would go pre-ride some of the group ride routes I set up for the DNC bike project. For some reason I decided I should start at the millennium bridge, requiring me to walk up a staircase shouldering my bike.
I went up on the side of the staircase that had these dumb slots in the event that one would choose to roll your bike up the stairs rather than carry it.
Note the slots, the other side of the bridge has about 3 feet between these and the handrail.
As I walked up, a group of six or seven 15 year olds started walking down from the top. One of them, dressed like this (sans ski poles and gloves):

...decided to come down my side of the stairs and about four steps above says to me " 'sup paaarrdner." After this peculiarly Western greeting, the kid hops up on the rail to slide down. Remember, only about 3 feet of space here, and as he slides down, either intentionally or because he was losing his balance, his foot was coming straight at my chest.
Not one to get served by fifteen year olds, I put my hand up to intersect his foot, and as he slid into my hand, the kid falls ass over teakettle off the rail, landing on his back and head on the stairs. The rest of his friends, were shouting "ohhh! You going to take that!" and things of this nature while the kid scrambled to get up. I should mention that I was also impressed that this assemblage of kids was multi-ethnic, fulfilling the promises Hollywood has been making for decades about a future full of color-blind street toughs:

Anyways, I kept walking, but I'll admit I was getting a bit nervous at the level of excitement I had caused. As a former 15 year old, I do remember that one's sense of invincibility can grow wildly in the presence of a half dozen friends egging you on, and I was in no mood to fight a group of kids. I think one of them yelled a challenge, which I ignored as I crossed the bridge.
I was climbing up the hill into the Highlands with this on my mind, and the troubled state of our youth when I saw another kid. This guy was likely also 15, and was riding a riser-bar equipped fixie (helmet-less of course). I was reassured, so I said, "Hey man, nice bike".
He in turn said, "thanks, yours is cool too. Are you 'commuting' from Downtown?".
Me: "Yes, I am."
Kid: "Cool. Well I have to go home now. By."
I don't know if there's any conclusion to draw from this, but it was reassuring, and I left feeling better about the state of our nation's youths.
And to the kid I tipped off the rail, sorry if you got hurt, but your dumb ass was asking for it.