I had another pretty interesting conversation, if you can call it that, at the coffee shop this evening. A guy whom I sold a bike to last week was looking a bit lost and so I waved him over and asked if he wanted to sit down. He did, well sort of. First he asked if I'd rather stand. I said no and he sat. He seemed to have a really short attention span and couldn't seem to string two sentences together in a very coherent way. His responses to my questions or comments were vaguely related to what I had said, but not quite right.
He asked what I was reading and we talked about that for a while. He made some comment after looking at the cover like, "I can tell you that there are better things you could be reading." I asked him what he considered good reading and he said that he wished that he had never learned to read. I tried a different line and asked what movies or TV shows he preferred (he had previously expressed that he had some interest in these). The Chapelle Show was the only one he could come up with. He asked if I read a lot and I said yes. Then he said something like, "So you prefer to do this than live?" I told him a little about my philosophy of reading, but he started to glaze over. He said that if a book didn't catch him in a couple of sentences then it wasn't worth reading. Same thing with TV or movies. He said that he was an artist, photoshop and photography.
He started flipping through the book, looking at the pages, but not really reading them. It was like the letters didn't mean anything to him. He seemed to have a lot of trouble with symbols and ideas. He asked if the book wouldn't be better off as a tree. It was as though looked at things as objects without meaning or context rather than as objects with a use, purpose, or deeper significance. He didn't seem dumb, but he didn't seem to be in the same content-rich world as I am.
Then he asked me if I had a flag. I asked what kind of flag, thinking that he meant something like a personal flag (based on his art background) and he pulled a US flag out of his backpack and gave it to me. He gave me a talk about proper ways of displaying the flag and we discussed that for a while (about two short exchanges which seemed to be about the best he would do). He then decided it was time for me to go and told me to "say one for Uncle Sam," whenever I saw the flag.
Odd. I'd like to know what goes on in some people's heads. If I had to make a diagnosis I'd say schizophrenia (based on his inability to see things for other than what they are, though this doesn't mesh well with his artistic aspirations), but it might just be drugs. Who knows? It was actually kind of enjoyable though difficult for me to have a conversation with him. I've seen him hanging around quite a bit so maybe I'll get to talk with him more. Anybody need a flag?
I'm starting to get used to riding the Rocket. I've finally got the seat at the right height and I'm starting to remember how to ride a full-suspension bike. I hit a couple of tough technical climbs in the area (very short, but steep with no way to carry momentum) and re-learned how to use my gears and body weight. The headlamp is also taking some getting used to. The long ride I'm doing this weekend should teach me how to conserve energy on the bike. Something I haven't quite figured out with this bike. The bike also feels a lot sketchier on gravel and loose stuff than my Crosscheck. I feel like my tires are going to wash out in the corners. Maybe it's the higher CG or perhaps it's the suspension that is taking some getting used to.