Monday, August 15, 2011

Encounter during an evening grocery run

Lost in contemplation of the snacky goodness we just purchased.
This evening we made a quick trip to the grocery store for a few items, which is not so consequential in itself. What was unusual about the trip was something that we experienced on the way home.
We were at a traffic light on a small street waiting to cross a large street. There was a large SUV in the left turn lane on the large street, positioned to turn onto the small street toward the side opposite of where we were. Then I noticed that although the driver had a green light and that the road was clear for the SUV to turn, it didn't, but rather stayed immobile in the turn lane.

After several seconds, the passenger side window rolled down and a woman yelled something at me. My years of riding in traffic has conditioned me to the occasional, often unintelligible message yelled in my general direction from a motor vehicle, which I mostly ignore or dismiss.

Tonight was a bit different. Following a couple of repetitions, I realized that the message was in the form of a question: "Who made your bike?"

I shouted back, "Surly. Surly Big Dummy." The passenger repeated "Surly" to the driver and yelled "Thanks" to me. With the exchange complete, off motored the SUV.

Perhaps the occupants went home to order their very own Big Dummy. Perhaps they left with more nefarious motives. Who knows. Only later did I realize the unfortunate positioning of the model name of the bike in my response, which may have been received as a personal epithet following the name of the manufacturer. If you were in a gold Suburban and think a guy on an oddly long bike called you a "Big Dummy," I assure you that's not the case.

This encounter was a bit puzzling for me, although in retrospect it probably shouldn't have been. Quite different from my personality preferences, the Big Dummy wants to get noticed. During the nearly three years that I've been riding this big distinctive bike around suburban Denver, I can recall only a handful of trips during which no one has eagerly asked me about it. Even just a few minutes earlier when leaving the grocery store, I had talked with a bicyclist who wanted to check out the Dummy and the load it was carrying. It stands to reason that some people who happen to be in cars may be just as curious.

This bike induces a stream of questions from nearly anyone within sight of it, and has forced me to become a bit more of an extravert by way of explanation. In fact, the people who have asked and received information from me about the Big Dummy, sometimes in depth and at length, easily number in the hundreds over the past few years.

I don't know what effect these sort of encounters have had on Big Dummy sales. However, in my mind's eye, the people in the Suburban are presently making plans to upgrade from a large capacity GM machine to a large capacity Surly machine. To them I say you've made a great decision and I look forward to meeting you on the trail to hear of the fun you will have had.

If anyone from Surly ever reads this, you're welcome. My commission can be set straight by hooking a Daddy up with an "I'm with Big Dummy" t-shirt, size large. Maybe one in size extra small too, for good measure.
We love you, you Big Dummy.

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