Recently, I heard a voice in the distance shouting. This happens so frequently that I rarely turn around.
“The day is the night and the night is the day!,” the voice cried.
As I began to chuckle, the voice became louder very quickly. Before I could turn around, the voice and man who belonged to it pedaled quickly by in a taped up bicycle proceeding up the sidewalk still yelling his vague prophecies.
My brief glimpse revealed tangled hair peeking out from the helmet. I could see he was wearing dirty clothes and that he looked rather dirty himself. He seemed completely unfazed by me or the dozens of others who were staring at him and stepping out of his way while biked his way through the nation’s eighth largest city happily yelling.
It was odd, to say the least. But he didn’t care. He was content doing his own thing. I had no idea what his sayings meant, perhaps I wasn’t supposed to understand. After all, he was clearly talking to himself and not to the rest of us in downtown. He didn’t stop to try and convince us what he was saying was true; nor did he hand out pamphlets about his beliefs. He was simply biking through downtown shouting to his own delight amusing himself and the rest of us.
My chuckles transformed into wonder when I tried to remember the last time I did something that daring and free. I had to admit I was kind of jealous that he was so carefree. I wished I had his nerve.
I didn’t necessarily want to bike through downtown screaming at people but I might like to sing above a whisper while walking to get my sandwich.
He was kicking orderly behavior to the curb and I kind of liked it. I was forty before I was able to convince myself that it was okay to wear different color polish on my fingers than on my toes. (Aren’t they supposed to match?)
Why couldn’t I sing loud while walking down the street? Why couldn’t I occasionally dance instead of walking? What was wrong with that? Nothing at all.
This strange man had birthed an epiphany in me. His chant-filled bike ride had taught me it was okay to be a little different. To stretch the boundaries of normalcy within reason. To unwittingly add spice into someone else’s day.
I prepared to run and catch him as he approached the stop light to thank him for inspiring me. When the light turned green, I realized I’d have to run faster. How could I catch him considering I was holding my lunch one hand and a drink in the other? What should I do?
Poof. He was gone. I knew I couldn’t catch him. My zany, bike-riding, inspiring friend was gone off to brighten someone else's day. I sighed and started to walk toward the office.
Then I thought about him again and danced the rest of the way.