A year after I left the bike business in Southern California, I moved to Eugene, Oregon; I lived there from 1994 until 2001. When I got to Oregon, I remembered why I left England; it rains a lot.
People in Oregon are different, not all people of course, but some of them march to the beat of a different drummer, if you get my gist. If you live in Oregon, or have ever lived there you will know what I mean.
Those in step with this different beat, along with the drummers, (and there are a lot of those too.) Let’s say some people are colorful; read on and I will explain. The above picture of myself was taken in 1997; as you can see I was a little different myself back then.
However, not as different as the man I recall seeing one time walking down the street in Eugene, wearing a ladies flower print dress. This was no female impersonator; the guy had a full beard, hairy legs, and big muscles.
He was walking with another man and woman (Dressed conventionally) and carrying on a normal conversation like nothing was out of the ordinary. And I suppose in a way it was not; it was summer and this was a summer dress.
I read this piece recently on Bike Portland about unicycles; they are apparently popular in Oregon and I can relate to that. While I was living in Eugene, I hosted an open mic for songwriters at a place called “The Rainy Day Café.”
One evening in the middle of the show, a guy comes riding by on a unicycle. He was wearing a one-piece silver skin suit complete with a hood, and a red cape.
Once again, you don’t necessarily have to be different to ride a unicycle, but you do have to be different to do so wearing a silver skin suit and a red cape.
He stopped on the sidewalk outside, rocking back and forth to keep his balance, watching what was going on inside. Someone opened the door and he rode in; he rode the length of the long narrow room that had a bar on one side and tables and chairs on the other.
He did a U-turn at the back of the room and rode back. Someone held the door again and he rode out while the restaurant patrons gave him a standing ovation; he continued on his way down the sidewalk.
Not a word was spoken by the unicyclist, and he never faltered or put his foot to the ground. The whole incident was over in seconds. Just one of those crazy, spontaneous, magical moments in life, that unfortunately happens all too rarely.
No one was hurt, no one was offended, and everyone was amused.