I am wet. Wet through, as my mother would put it. Slicked down by the rain with tufts of hair poking up through my bicycle helmet like a forest of pine trees. I see it reflected in the glass at this coffee shop where I’ve found refuge. It’s morning rush hour in downtown Toronto. This was the day I determined to climb back on my bike and dash-off anxieties haunting me since last month, when I learned about another death-by-cycling, this time in a neighbourhood I know very well.
So I awoke committed to courage, ate a hearty bowl of Cream-of-Wheat, popped a fistful of vitamins and snapped my cycling paraphernalia in place, including a black face mask that could get me arrested at a demonstration. And then I opened the door to rain. But I grabbed my keys anyway, detached my bike from its long-time resting place on the front porch, and swung my suitably rain-slickered leg over the seat.
There is a tie in to obituary writing, read on a bit.
I’m early for my meeting so I’m drying off and blogging between obligations. My bike leans against the window cuddled up between bicycles belonging to two police officers who are also idling here, at the next table. I’ve locked my bike but they haven’t locked theirs–they don’t have to, I guess. Anyway, I feel safe: who would dare snap my cable with this kind of companionship?
My appointment is at a lawyer’s office across the street. This lawyer is the son of a woman whose obituary I’m writing–her name was Mary Eady and she was a Canadian feminist pioneer, so I’m keen to learn more about her and honour her work through my words. Her son, Donald Eady, suggested I pop down to his office and peruse his mother’s documents.
This “popping down” business is unusual for me; I’m not sure I like it. Couriers exist to deliver such articles to me, precisely so I don’t have to pedal across the city. I asked this lawyer to courier this stuff but he hasn’t responded. Meanwhile, I understand his hesitancy in handing over valuable archival material…
But I want this information so I’m trekking, grumpily and now with pokey-up hair.
Exercise and obits. Rain and rush hour. Disgruntlement but heck–it’s Friday. And it isn’t snow.
Cop #1: “Is it still raining? I’m not going out there if it’s still raining.”
Cop #2: “No kidding! Ever try a gingerbread mocha? Ask for extra whipped cream; they really pile it on here.”