Road-ragers, listen up! The first Friday I'm in Love post is about two guys, with a lot of love for the people they share the road with. We could all learn a lot from these dudes.
Tuesday morning on Camden Road. 7:15am. I’m waiting at the bus stop, shielding myself from the rain with a broken brolly. It’s no longer Winter, not quite Spring. We’re stuck in some kind of drizzly purgatory. A few other people gather, bleary eyed and burnt out already. How is it only Tuesday? Obviously, nobody talks. It’s London and we’re strangers. Heaven forbid anyone make any human contact. That would be too much excitement for a Tuesday.
But then –
Someone on a moped comes scooting along the bus lane, just as a man, engrossed in his mobile phone, crosses the road toward the bus stop. It’s like they’re making an oblivious bee-line for each other. I’m watching a catastrophe about to happen, but I can’t say a thing because it’s all happening too fast. I think the man on the moped says something out loud, but I’m not too sure because there is no time to process anything and they are LITERALLY ABOUT TO CRASH and –
The two men collide in a cataclysmic fashion. The pedestrian topples over the front of the moped, and the biker (mopedist?) is suddenly flat on the floor with the bike on top of him. I watch this disaster unfold and think: Oh crikey. They’re going to have a fight. Right here in the street. At 7:17am. On a Tuesday. This is too much.
But then something amazing happens.
“Oh shit, man, are you alright?” That’s the mopedist, clutching the shoulders of the absent-minded pedestrian.
“Dude. That was totally my bad. I wasn’t looking. I’m so sorry!”
They hold each other for a minute or so, then exit the embrace with a manly pat. Their attention turns to the bike. Together, they pull it up from the road and straighten the front wheel. It all looks intact. The driver revs up the engine and there are a couple of failed starts, where us onlookers take a dramatic intake of breath, but then the engine splutters and starts and we exhale in unison. It’s the most united I have ever felt.
“S’all good,man.” That’s the driver again, absurdly optimistic.
“Shit, what a relief. You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah. I’m okay. Are you okay?”
The pedestrian whistles to the sky. “I’m okay!”
They hug it out again, tightly, and with deep, genuine affection, before the biker hops back on the moped and prepares to depart.
“Have a good day, man.”
“You too. Take care.”
And then he’s off. Leaving the gaggle of bystanders agog. We have no choice, but to look at each other. And smile.