Friday, July 07, 2006

The Saran Wrap Dress Guy

There runs amidst the white lined bike paths of Portland city streets a fervent bike cult, those who prefer the less polluting and petrol efficient two wheel form of travel. I do indeed count myself among the faithful, and although I do use a van for work, and to cart my son around, I dunno, life is just better on a bike.

Like any good cult, you have your various sects and factions, which in bike land, for example, include the Nike Aerodynamic Bike Suit clad, with their $1000 or greater sleek and sexy bikes, and those little dental-like rear view mirrors attached to their helmets. There are the The Family Bikers, young couples with their offspring who talk and giggle about their lives, which center around The Sunnyside Environmental Grade School, as they glide by my own impeccable and poisons-free landscape. There are the less serious bikers, like myself, and my wife, who just love the wind in their hair, on a ride along Portland’s east side riverview esplanade, and perhaps enjoy a tinge of the melancholy from glorious biking days past, when we soared with reckless abandon down the streets of Oregon college towns in our youth. And then, there is The Portland Wild And Crazy Bike Youth, those 17 through 20 somethings, not yet quite settled on career, or marriage, or family, and who perhaps, though they prefer beer to water, tend to be vegan. The hardcore bikers. The ones with green hair, poppin’ wheelies. The ones who rally for biker’s rights, know how to break a bike down and put it back together with a vice grips and a screwdriver, and on any friday night, may swarm to the streets for a good traffic halting protest. And if you catch’em on the right night, they might be buck naked.

Such was the case this past week as Marie and I travelled in our big white Chevy van, just minutes from our home, on our way to visit some friends. As we stopped at the red light on 20th and Morrison, I spied, on the corner, two young male bikers, who had apparently stopped to adjust something on one of their bikes, and, as I looked a bit closer, I noticed that one of them, the guy who was crouched down to look at something in his bike’s chain area, was wearing nothing but, get this, a saran wrap dress. “Oh, this is good”, I thought, as I pointed out the duo to Marie, whose mouth dropped open with lightning speed.

It was at that moment that I noticed, on the Saran Wrap Dress Guy’s bike, an entire giant roll of plastic wrap, the kind we used in my bakery days, to wrap bakery products for sale, perhaps 20 inches long, 8 inches thick, tied to the back of the bike, like a bedroll. You know, just in case you need to freshen up your look. And that’s it. No water bottle, nothing else attached to the bike. Just the guy, the wrap, and the saran wrap dress. I mean that I could see.

To describe the outfit a little more completely, well, imagine that you yourself were going to attempt this feat. The way you would do it is, first, get naked. Then, raise both your arms up, and with someone else’s help you begin wrapping yourself, under the pits, and across the chest and back, with many thicknesses of shrink wrap, and then, continue down ‘til you have a sort of mini-dress look, and then, cut off the wrap. Voila!

The other guy was dressed normally. I believe he had shorts on, and a T-shirt, and he was waiting patiently for Saran Wrap Dress Guy to finish fiddling with his bike, so they could cross the intersection.

Just then, the light changed. I drove on. Saran Wrap Dress Guy had mounted his bike, and was beginning to peddle our way, while our van crossed the intersection. As he began to peddle, his legs spread apart, providing us with a more thorough view of his undergarments. There were no undergarments. But he had something, something tan and black and small, attached to his, er, schwann. Maybe something like you might see in a National Geographic special about Natives in the New Guinean Outback, where natives adorn their genitalia with a variety of forest products.

It could’ve ended there, just a flash of something funny for Marie and I to remember over the years, in conversation, as we sit, and go forth, soon, into our twilight years, drinking wine spritzers in our beloved Pond View Chairs, but unfortunately, it did not.

Our dear friend Nancy, who lives within ear shot of our back door, has a way with gardening, as does my wife Marie, and the two of them are simpatico where flora rules. A few days ago, Nancy hosted yet another stellar dinner party, in her stellar garden, complete with her very famous barbecued Tandoori Chicken, an Eastern Indian dish she picked up while living abroad for many years.The scene was a delight. The garden's dining table was beautifully set, with Nancy's charming and eclectic outdoor plates and platters. Brightly coloured paper lanterns glimmered above spirited conversation. The fragrance of barbecuing Tandoori spices mingled with sweet mock orange blossoms in the warm evening air. Wine glasses were filled and refilled, and even our son Blaine wheeled over for the merriment. We finally sat down to dine, and at some point, I decided to butt in with my new favourite story. “Guys, listen to this”, I blurted, and then began a version of the story above, which you have just read, about the Saran Wrap Dress Guy, and his bike, and how Marie and I were so shocked and perplexed and well, you get the picture. But then, just because I have absolutely no sense, and because I am impulsive and immature, and occasionally needy for a laugh, when I got to the part about The Saran Wrap Dress Guy’s Genitalian Adornment, there at that lovely dinner party, attended only by wholly refined and intelligent guests, all smiley and attentive and polite, I suddenly exclaimed loudly and without reservation, “The guy, he had, well, HE HAD A CLOTHESPIN ON HIS PENIS”, which was not exactly true, but brief, and I immediately felt like a complete idiot, while some giggled and my wife trembled, in a cowering kind of way, in her patio chair by my side, there among the fine wines and exquisite foods, as I had proven, once again, that she just can’t take her husband anywhere.

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