Friday, February 24, 2006

Chariot of Fire

Last night I was coming home from work late. Well, okay, at my usual hour. Which is late. There's a four-way-stop at an intersection on a busy street that so needs to be a traffic light. Cars back up scores deep waiting for their turn to get through. But by the time I'm heading home, it's usually clear.

Not last night. I was stuck blocks from the stop sign. Creep forward. Stop. Creep forward. Stop. Creep... well, you get the idea. The car ahead of me had really dark window tinting -- too dark for me to see through -- but it looked like the next vehicle beyond that was a motorcycle. I could only see around the left side of the car ahead of me, but... no... it couldn't be. It looked like no one was riding the motorcycle.

My curiosity piqued, and with after all nothing better to do, I peered around the car ahead of me as best I could. Was it a sidecar attached to a motorcycle? I could see a pannier on the left side. Who puts panniers on a sidecar? And I was pretty sure that was the gas tank. Yes, I was sure of it... it was a riderless motorcycle!

And then the riderless motorcycle turned on a street before we got to the stopsign, and this was the deal: There was indeed a sidecar, but it was attached to the right, not the left, of the motorcycle. And it wasn't low and aerodynamic, like a normal sidecar. It was obviously homemade, and it looked like nothing so much as a Roman chariot. Handlebars had been attached to the front of the "chariot" to allow the motorcycle to be controlled, and there, in the chariot itself, driving the motorcycle, was...

...are you ready?

A guy in a wheelchair.

How great is that!

He was a big guy wearing a black leather vest and a bandana over his head (Florida doesn't have a helmet law). In a wheelchair. Cruising down the street. He wasn't going to let a litle thing like paraplegia slow him down!

I would have gone after him and taken pictures, but I couldn't. It would have made me late for an appointment that I didn't dare miss. But it made my evening.



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