Critical Lack of Mass

5 November 2004 at 13:50 (General)

I should hold true to my word and post a follow up to my critical mass article (Bike activist) from the other day.

At about 1700hrs last friday, I wondered down into Axiom Communications, (a wonderful phone repair store next to the underground suit hire place on Grendfel street, near King William St). I asked the young man behind the counter if he’d seen Dan. After some delay, due to confusion about which Dan I was talking about, he replied “no”. Before this very word had finished reverberating inside my ear cavity we were both pleasantly surprised by the uncomfortable sound of a man in cleats descending the stairs.

Speak of the devil, Dan waltzed in. He seemed in high spirits. After a brief moment of hesitation he greeted me by name. I thought this was reasonably impressive considering we’d only met briefly, about three weeks ago. He asked me how the ‘revolution for sustainable transportation’ was going. I reported that it was going great and asked him if he was going to be at critical mass tonight. His mouth dropped, he grabbed his watch and then asked me to reaffirm that it was the last Friday of the month. He looked very doubtful but said he should be there but he was going to have to try to round up some people.

At about ten to six i rode down to hindmarsh square wearing my dust mask. As i rolled down the path in the north western quadrant a lady screamed at me “what, are we all contaminated?”

My mind leapt back to last semester down in the dissecting room at uni. They showed us a pair of lungs that were part of a deceased elderly lady. The tutor extrapolated that she was not a smoker, but the black deposits, which resemble cultures of mould, were probably just the result of breathing city air. Apparently a smoker or clubber/bar tender looks a lot uglier (refer to the lungs featured in the quit ad).

Anyway, I crossed the road and wondered around. No one was there. i waited. At six i jumped on my bike and sprinted down to Victoria square. I did a lap of the fountain (the traditional meeting spot) and then sprinted back to Hindmarsh.

I waited by the lights until 18:30. As I’m standing there, an old homeless man walked up to me and told me how life is very difficult sometimes. I agreed. he said, “sometimes it can be really tough on you son, and things can be really hard.” Yes I know. He continued, “sometimes it can be good, but then it can also be really hard.” I pointed at the little pedestrian crossing man who had turned green and he wished me a good day. I returned warm wishes and he staggered across the road stopping every few steps to turn around and hurl advice back at me. People honked and nearly hit him but somehow he was able to continue on his miserable way.

It looked like critical mass was critically lacking mass. I headed to Everest (cafe), acquired Dan’s mobile number from a friend and messaged him. Next time we need to be better organised. For a start, I’ll message him a few days before to try to ensure that all systems are go.

I sat outside Everest with some friends for about an hour and a half. Here I largely entertained myself with some bread tags, a glass containing ice, a slice of lemon and a straw while they held their own conversations. After a while my dad called me to see what I was up to. I decided to cycle to my parents home. It had been a long semester and i was yearning to hear the soothing call of my jack russell.


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