Night Riders Are you sure you'll be okay, Jen? My friend asked after I walked her to her car. I was fine. I told her I was fine and gonna go to the Trader Joes before walking home.
I can drive you. My friend offered. I told her it was quicker for me to walk than for her to make a U-turn and two left turns. I then asked if she was okay. She assured me she was.
We had met up at a wine bar near my house and drank a gallon of sauvignon blanc. Our deep conversation on life, love, and adventure had caused us to order appetizers twice.
The wine bar was full of white collar creative industry hipsters. The men wore eye glasses with plastic frames, skinny jeans, and collared shirts untucked. The women had expensive handbags, high heeled shoes, skinny jeans, and tailored tops that were just tight fitting enough to be sexy during mid week happy hour.
Even though I like to think of myself as creative, I looked around the room and felt strangely alienated. Maybe it was because everyone was looking at their phones. Maybe it was because the menu was on an I-pad. I just looked around the room and asked myself who are these people? Then I realized they were the folks I went to school with and should have become but didn't.
After dropping my friend at her car, I walked down the street and headed across the green space to the Trader Joes. I noticed a lot of shadows milling around in the middle of the green space and heard some drumming. Even though the green space wasn't large and easy to look across in the daylight, I could not see the source of the music in the dark.
Still, intrigued, I turned into the darkness and shadows to find the source of the drumming. I would not get lost. The large red Trader Joes sign was my beacon through the trees.
As I moved into the center of the green space, I saw there were at least three dozen people hanging around and more people were riding in on bicycles. In fact, there were bicycles everywhere, and I wondered if I had stumbled onto a bikers' flash mob kind of thing. The smell of herb chilled my wine buzz. I found the drummer---just some dude patting away on his drum.
Sitting next to the drummer was a guy in a Dodgers shirt. He smiled and waved at me. I waved back and went over.
Sorry about the Dodgers. What was Mattingly thinking? I said.
Better luck next year. The Dodger fan said.
What's going on here? I asked.
Wherever the music takes us. You can join us if you want.
Sold my bike a few months back.
Get another one. Just not a beach cruiser. You gotta go fast.
We chatted a bit more; then I headed over to Trader Joes. As I started walking home with rice milk in my backpack, I stood at the crosswalk with a stylish couple on their way to the wine bar. We watched a parade of bike riders charging out of the green space. Cars were stopping for them. They were flying in an endless line. They were going and going and going.
Where are they going? The stylish woman asked nervously balancing on her heels.
And I realized it didn't matter. They were just going.