16th March 2001

Those of you who don’t live in a big city should know that bike messengers are cooler than you. They don’t care about getting hurt, they don’t care about getting dead, and they don’t make eye contact with anyone but the brethren. Their style is a sort of studied rejection of trends: Frayed jeans hacked off at the knee, old T-shirts, gravel-conditioned helmets, and the standard tattoos and piercings.

Imagine my surprise then, when I saw vanilla-collegiate guy sporting a Timbuktu bag with several messenger tubes protruding, and the identifying walkie-talkie attached to its strap. He was wearing a navy blue polo shirt, a pair of short-leg Gap khakis with cargo pockets, and some Van-like biking shoes. Beh? I had to resist approaching him. “Excuse me sir, do you have a tattoo on the inside of your lower lip? No? Perhaps a tongue stud? Some faint facial scars? No… Sweet mother of God. Is that gel in your hair?”

12:13 p.m.