Rolling Along: Look, ma, no hands ... or plaque
- on July 9, 2012
I don’t often travel with the 8-to-5 set, but not too terribly long ago, when the Journal-World was still an afternoon newspaper, I often would drive to work with other early-morning commuters.
Though commuting to work inside our city limits is nothing like the longer commute in a big city, I’d still see lots of folks making the most of their relatively short drives by multitasking.
This was before the prevalence of cell phones (yeah, I know, I’m old), so back then, instead of tweeting and texting, passengers and drivers alike would make use of their car time to primp, preen and otherwise prime themselves for the work day.
I’d see lots of people eating; most kept it simple, with single-handed meals like biscuits and fruit and such, but on a few occasions I’d see people spooning into bowls of cereal.
I’d see people reading — the paper, notecards, even books splayed out over the steering wheel.
And, of course, there was a lot of personal grooming on display: women applying makeup, men shaving, fixing of hair, plucking, tweezing, brushing of teeth, etc. I never saw a woman shaving, but I did see a guy dragging a dry razor across his face. Ouch.
Commuting by bike makes all but the simplest of commuting time-killers all but impossible. Read? Not without becoming a hood ornament. Fix your hair? What’s the point? Brush your teeth? Nah, you have to wait until you arrive, just to get the bugs out. Shave? Depends on whether you like your features.
The other day, though, I saw something that made me think I had it all wrong.
During my vacation to cycling-friendly Seattle, I saw a guy riding down the street, shirtless (the guy, not the street), flossing his teeth. Vigorously. With both hands. I’ve seen people riding and eating and drinking and doing all sorts of things, but never before had I witnessed oral hygiene on two wheels. I hoped to follow to see if he’d go through an entire routine — hair, deodorant, clothes — but he shifted in the saddle, made a surprisingly sharp no-handed turn and vanished from sight around a corner.
As much as I’d like to accomplish something besides pedaling during my bike commute to work, I think I’ll save the flossing for home.
Then again, I had to give the guy props. If ever he were to, say, become a road waffle, at least he’d have pearly whites.