driving along my street to say hello to a friend this afternoon, i saw an old man riding his bicycle. his face was almost expressionless, mouth perhaps turned down - but not due to distaste, more so because that was the way gravity and time had shaped his mouth. his hands firmly gripped the wide handlebars, and he was wearing a blue rain jacket and mr. rodger’s sneakers. pedaling slowly, surely, steadily, he biked in the opposite direction of me, underneath the tunnel of greenery created by the august trees above him.
when i returned, 15 minutes later, i saw him on the same street, traveling again in the opposite direction. he looked precisely the same as he turned the same curve, at the exact same moment as i did. it was as though he had not been affected by the last 15 minutes of his bike ride - although something must have changed. he decided, somewhere along the way, to stop, turn around, and return.
i was struck by the symmetry.
it’s not as though how i spent my 15 minutes changed my life, but his was almost certainly less affected by his 15 minutes. an old man, living far longer than me - the past 15 minutes were brief, a blink to him. i hope this doesn’t sound condescending or ignorant or dismissive of whatever he experiences in his sunset years. but i appreciated the beautiful serendipitous symmetry as i drove back, and realized what a short time it really was to me, yet even more so to him.