(Supplementary Note: I know, I know, there has been no new addition to Shabathawan - writer's block is a bitch.)
(Post-Supplementary Note: I realize I am being somewhat egotistical in thinking anyone even cares about the previous Note.)
(Post-Post-Supplementary Note: Nikki, sorry about missing your bash. I'll have to give you your present some other time.)
(Post-Post-Post-Supplementary Note: Anyway ...)
I left work 20 minutes late and descended to the remarkably warm spring sun shining down on King Street. Cursed myself for leaving both front and rear lights on my bike (yes, I'd left them on, too - batteries are more than dead), and thanked the good citizens of Hogtown for not stealing them outright).
Meanwhile, someone had parked their bike tight against mine. Typically charming, I cursed as I unlocked my machine and struggled to free the lock. As I wrestled it free I noticed a well-dressed, silver-haired, mustached gentleman standing close by, talking into his cell-phone.
"Hi sweetie. Yes, the meeting's over. I'll meet you by the tracks." That guy looks awfully familiar, I thought. Could it be ...?
I loosed my lock and reached to catch the other bike. Mr. Mustache did the same and we exchanged the mutual apologies in which Canadians so often delight.
To my surprise, the gentleman reached for the other machine and it became clear that - despite his well-cut suit - it was his.
I wheeled my bike towards the street, then decided to say something. "Hey," I said, "Are you Jack Layton?"
"Yes," he said, "I am."
I nodded. (I've always had a hard time with celebrities; not because I'm intimidated by them - I grew up surrounded by politicians and media people - but because the idea of shaking someone's hand and saying, "Gosh, I really like your work," or whatever. Have a beer with them? Sure? But pointlessly complement them? I don't think so.)
"I thought so," I said. "I hope you don't mind me saying that I think you're doing a hell of a job."
"Well, thank you!" he said and he broke into what looked like a genuine smile. "Thanks very much."
I don't remember what I said to that, only that it wasn't, "No. Thank you."
And that's it. I rode off on my bike and let him unlock his.
And yes, I think it's pretty cool that Jack Layton gets himself to meetings on a bicycle.