Every school day I drive over to Not Bad President Elementary, park about half a block up the road, and wait for Lauren to get out. My classes are either during the school day or at night, so I can take the time out of my day to do this.
It's time well spent.
It’s a nice thing to be able to pick up your kids from school – Lauren and I go directly from NBPE over to Mighty Clever Guy Middle School and repeat the process for Tabitha, and on Fridays we stop at the BP station on the way home because apparently they have the most awesome selection of snack foods in town, even though we almost always end up getting the same things.
It’s also my down time – I bring whatever book I’m reading at the moment (right now I’m working my way through the entire Discworld series, in order, because I need something that makes more sense and less aggravation than the current set-up of reality, plus: it’s funny) and I take a few minutes just to myself.
Every day for the last two school years, about five minutes before the bell rings to end the school day at NPBE, an old man blows by me on a bicycle.
It’s a pretty cool bike. It’s low-slung and long, built like an old-fashioned chopper. It’s bright cherry red. The rear tire is about three times fatter than the front one – it looks like a motorcycle tire, really. The handlebars are bright chrome.
The man is clearly a grandfather, white haired and wrinkled, and just as clearly he is enjoying this more than he feels he should. He rides that bike with gusto, down the sidewalk toward the school.
And sometime about ten minutes later, after the bell has rung, I see the bike coming the other way, this time with a kid on it. He pounds ahead like he just robbed a bank, weaving in and out of the pedestrian traffic. A few minutes later, if Lauren is taking her time that day, I’ll see the grandfather walking slowly back along the same path.
It’s a one-way ride for him.
But there is always the next day, rain or shine, snow or heat. I’ll be there with my book, and the grandfather will be zipping by me on his borrowed bike.
It’s a good day, down at NBPE.