The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 10
Rich's Interest Episode
Rich peddled east out of Olean and stopped at a grocery. He bought a small can of corned beef, a couple of packages of Twinkies, a can of assorted nuts, and a half pound of bacon. He turned northeast and soon found a woods and camped about fifty yards from the road.
The next morning the fog hung low and thin like a bed sheet. Rich fried the bacon and sliced potatoes over a fire and had a magnificent breakfast. He cleaned up the campsite and pointed the bike north. In a couple of hours the fog lifted along and with it the fear of being hit by a car.
The weather was incredibly pleasant and warm, not at all what he had expected. He had not experienced any frost, but knew it was coming. H prepared for it with an insolated jacket tucked in his gear. He thought little of home. He knew there was turmoil and anger - perhaps some tears. He had tears. Emotions were many and not known whether they were tears of sadness or determination. He peddled on, straining the inclines, and coasting down hills with speed and exhilaration that dried the tears.
A red Renault coasted beside Rich. He looked into the car. It was a young lady with long straight hair and dark horn rim glasses. She leaned over and rolled down the window. “You going to Alfred?”
“Yeah,” Rich said as peddled alongside.
“Do you want a lift?” she said.
“Sure,” Rich said and stopped.
She stopped the car and got out. She was tall, thin, wore black lose fitting slacks, and matching blouse. She looked as if she was in her early twenties. “Can you tie it to the back?”
“I think so,” Rich said and lifted the bike on to the back bumper and secured it with rope he had tucked away in his tent roll.
They climbed into the car. The back seat was packed with clothing and household items and a plant.
“Mary Kaplan,” she said as she put the car in gear and drove away.
“Steve Barnett,” Rich said. He did not have the level of trust he had with Glen.
“Where ya from Steve?”
“Ohio,” Rich said, “How about you?”
“Buffalo,” she said. “This is my last year at Alfred.”
“You a freshman,” she asked.
The question stumbled Rich at first. He was thinking freshman in high school and it occurred she must have meant college. “I hope I didn’t give you the wrong impression. I’m not going to college at Alfred. I just happened to know there’s a college there. I’m just passing through.”
“Oh,” she said and hesitated.
“If you want me to get out that’s okay,” Rich said.
“No, no that’s okay. I just assumed,” she said. “Where are you headed?”
“Maine,” Rich said.
“You have family there?”
“No, just want to live there,” Rich said.
“Why a bicycle?” she said.
“I thought it would be the best way to see the country,” Rich said.
“How’s it going so far?” She asked.
“Good,” Rich said. “New York is beautiful - not what I expected.”
“How so?” she asked.
“I didn’t expect so many hills. It’s hard to do on a bike,” Rich said. “What are you taking in college?”
“Astronomy,” she said.
“That’s interesting,” Rich said admiringly.
“Yes it is,” she said smugly. “Are you going to go to college someday?”
“Perhaps,” Rich said.
“That usually means no,” she said.
“If I say perhaps it means perhaps,” Rich said.
“What are your interest?” She asked.
“I’m interested in everything,” Rich said.
“Can you narrow that down?” She said. “That means you have no interest. You’ll be like a steel ball in a pinball machine, bumping from one thing to another with no direction in your life.
“I appreciate your concern and frankness,” Rich said, “but we are not that far apart.”
“What!” she said incredulously smiling. “We are nothing alike.”
“I’ll give you an example,” Rich said. “You’re interested in everything in the universe, right?”.
“Right,” she said.
“The universe is vastly and infinitely larger than the earth, right?” Rich said.
“Right,” she said.
“I’m interested only in what is on earth,” Rich said. “That makes it vastly and infinitely more narrow than your interest.” Rich smiled.