Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dan and the Rickshaw

I went to Bite for breakfast for the second day in a row. I was kind of surprised to find myself in a conversation yesterday about the relative merits of various Aaron Sorkin projects with Dan the daytime waiter, and several nearby tables.

He had asked me to burn him a copy of the latest Studio 60, which he had attempted (but failed) to record. I labelled the disc "Goat/Midget Porn for Dan," by which I meant no disrespect to goats, little persons, the porn industry, Sharpies, DVDs, NBC, Aaron Sorkin, or Dan. OK, bases covered.

Dan is sort of a bitter-coated sugar pill. He comes off as gruff if you don't know him, but talk to him for a few minutes and you'll discover that he's actually a very nice guy. He used to work all sorts of shifts at Bite, but the weekday shift suits him, and is now pretty much his sole domain. It isn't crowded, and he sometimes manages to turn four or five tables into one big floating conversation. Which I think requires some sort of skill, since these tables are usually filled by a lone male, un- or under-employed. He also gets a fair amount of night workers students, I imagine. And, when I come in, at least one creepy recluse.

Dan is a big Thin Lizzy fan, which shows if you ever get a chance to hear the album his band The Fancy Lads made before calling it quits. He also likes a lot of good music.

He tried to email me last night, to tell me that he had watched the episode I was burning for him at and didn't need it. He had lost my address, but found my MySpace page, and said some nice things about one of the tracks on there. See? Nice guy.

He told me he would have no patience for me if I return from England saying "Cheers" all the time. Apparently this is a common side-effect of travel.

Walking home, I noticed a rickshaw which someone leaves permanently chained to a fence along Augusta. I always try to picture the guy who bought it. Eyes shining with his Kramden-esque scheme, imagining the better life this rickshaw will bring to him and his family. Probably, he attached it to his bicycle a few times, and when he found that nobody was much interested in rickshaw rides, chained it to the fence and forgot all about it. He likely doesn't even see it anymore when he leaves the house; it's there, but it doesn't register. He thinks of it only when his wife, during arguments, brings it up and tells him to get rid of it, that stupid thing. He doesn't ever use it anyway.

I'm sure some of you thought Dan was gonna interact with the rickshaw in some way before I was done. The title certainly suggests it. But you'd be wrong.

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