First thing in the morning Jim and I stopped at Einstein's on Connecticutt near our home for a coffee after Mass. We are regulars here and I was happy to snag our favorite table near the window and next to the newspaper rack. I picked out a day-old NY Times Art Section.
An article about conceptual artist Matt Mullican was intriguiing.
I can't say that I understood all of what he is "about" but I really related to his saying,
" it's all about projection," Mr. Mullican said, (in explaining his art) " I"m sitting in front of you now, and you're seeing me. But you're also seeing lots of other things, based on your experiences."
I get that - I not only get it - I experience it all the time. Its how my stories pop through.
I wrote the quote in my journal, nodding, "I will think more about this later. " I told myself.
I did. Sooner than I thought and not in the way I expected.
Later in the afternoon we were the last to leave Jim's doctor's office at 6 pm. I could see through the fourth floor window that it was dark outside and I knew that K Street traffic, going home traffic, was going to be heavy.
I was distracted when we stepped into the crowded elevator - going down. The door slid closed quickly.
The flashing light on the back of his bicycle caught my attention first. Then I turned to see what was happening. In a split second I was alert and taking it all in. From head to toe.
I was standing next to a man and his bicycle. He was wearing a red and white sleek bicycle helmet with a red light flashing on and off - in time with the flashing light on the back of his bicycle. The lights pulsed together lighting the back corner of the elevator car. He was wearing white and red shiny biking gear with body hugging mid-thigh length pants. To top off his outfit he had on shaped reflective dark blue glasses that were contoured to his face. He seemed oblivious to my studying him until I blurted out: "You look like a super hero."
That broke everyone else's reserve and they all smiled. The man turned to me and laughed."
"Well. I have never been called that before."
The elevator bounced as it settled on the lobby floor, the doors opened and we all moved into the lobby. The man walked ahead of Jim and me and through the double glass doors into the dark night.
"I wish I had taken his picture." I said out loud to no one in particular.
The traffic was unusually heavy on New Hampshire Avenue as we wove with a line of slow moving cars toward Connecticutt Ave. Jim was quiet - lost in throught.
"I was thinking about that guy in the elevator."
"He reminded me of the afternoon I opened the door into my waiting room in the Blake Building at 1025 Connecticutte Avenue and a bicycle courier was standing on a chair taking the speakers off the wall. He was wearing his helmet. He had on a back-pack and his bicycle was propped against the sofa."
'You mean he was stealing the speeakers."
"Yeah. I suppose he was picking up a little extra at the end of the day - something he could sell."
"What did you do?"
" I walked into the room and there he was. I was startled - and he was stunned that I was still there.
Put those back.
I remember that I kept my voice low and quiet.
Put those back. And leave.
And that's what he did.
He put the speakers back, jumped off the chair he was standing on, pushed his bike into the hall and left."
"My gosh Jim, he could have jumped you. Or, what if there had been two or three in there when you walked out."
" I know. I was lucky. I was lucky I startled him so badly that he just did what I told him to and left.
I stood there and watched him so he saw that I was not going to call the police.
In a way we made a deal."
" You were the super hero that time."
" I guess - come to think of it I was pretty cool."
Passing under a street light I could see him smiling, enjoying the memory.
I was grateful to the man in the elevator who prompted Jim to remember it.