Lunchtime at the Plant

I walk out of the office at noon and the smokers, huddled against the wall seeking protection from a bitter rain, cast amused glances at my outfit. Their eyes speak to one another. "Look at the freak," they say.

My car is parked near the end of the lot. I walk proudly, head held high, as the wind blows and my waterproof vest is pelted by cold rain. My legs and arms are soaked. I open the car door and take out an old friend, covered with rust, scratched by a thousand nicks, bumps, and falls, and creaking like some long gone, worn-out battleship. We set off. There is no final destination. Just a steady rain, the distracting buzz of passing cars, and the relentless march of time.

We move gracefully together. We hop over curbs, splash through muddy puddles, and beat out the lights when we can. A small rock becomes a fallen tree, a pothole a fantastic stream, and a thin line of trees the edge of a terrific cavern.

The rain stings my eyes but I remain steadfast. The roads are gone. The cars are gone. We are alone in the woods, cruising down an unmarked trail, bound for parts unknown. The office is a distant memory, while the smokers and their smiles have become a faded dream.

Because today I ride.