A co-worker just breezed through the front office wearing a homemade knee-length silver lamé cape.

There are lots of things I am going to miss about this place.
A Black man (this is novel enough in Missoula to merit comment, yes) of about my father's age and with a similarly grizzled beard was waiting at the crosswalk this morning as I approached. He wore a snap-brim cap, comfortable clothes, athletic shoes, and black leather fringed motorcycle gloves... the better to steer the electric scooter he rode. He also wore headphones and was happily rocking out, playing aim-drums over the handlebars of his scooter as I walked up. We greeted each other and I commented that I really liked his gloves. He pulled the headphones away from one ear, grinned broadly, and said "I got to wear my gloves! I learned to roll when I was fifteen. I got blowed up in 'Nam and I had a stroke *gestures at scooter* and that's why my coordination isn't so good. But my music... I got to have my music! Music is my life!" At that point the light changed and we crossed the street. He turned and cut across my path with a half-apologetic, half-playful grin and we wished each other a great day.

It is now my opinion that any person who uses a wheelchair, electric scooter, or other wheeled device because of limited mobility needs to own, and preferably wear when using said wheeled device, a pair of fringed leather motorcycle gloves. Yes, this includes the walker your great-grandmother uses in the rest home. You know she wants those gloves, she just doesn't know how to ask.
(Other than the possible job-related thing which is friends-locked.)

I work in downtown Missoula. It's a great place and there are many happymaking things to see as I walk around downtown. One day it was the 20-something guy in full black... black spiked hair, black spiked collar, black motorcycle boots, black jeans, black shirt hanging below his black leather motorcycle jacket, and black front-carrier for his four month-old baby, who was wearing pastel yellow.

Yesterday as I waited at the crosswalk for the light to change, I noticed that on the opposite side of the street, a man was waiting for the same light. He was dressed very nicely, in slacks and a dress shirt with a tie. He was close enough that I could tell he wasn't wearing "buy cheap stuff at K-Mart so you can pass as professionally dressed until you can get better clothes" stuff. This was nice clothing. The happymaking part was the longboard he carried across the street with him as he crossed. The board was similarly high-quality, and as I walked across the street I silently begged him to ride it once he got back onto the sidewalk. He did. It was the most wonderful thing I've seen in months. My favorite program director was approaching our office building from the opposite direction and was also staring in wonder across the street at the very well-dressed banker-type riding his skateboard to work.

She said it first: "If he weren't ten years younger than me and if I weren't already in a relationship..."



September 2007

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