He walked by and smiled “good taste in glasses”. I smiled. My sunglasses were same as his.
He sat at a table close to ours with two other guys loud like he was. He was intimidating. Tall, heavy, dark tight sleeveless t-shirt, long gray beard, long chain hung from his neck. He wore boots with all kinds of spikes.
He would walk to the bathroom a few more times and smiled. I sat there listening to the band on this beautiful summer afternoon while enjoying the breeze coming from the lake.
The waitress approached us; the gentleman on that table is sending you the next round. I accepted more intimidated than grateful. I nervously looked over and nodded acknowledging the drink.
The crowd grew thinner as the sun began to sink in the lake. The tall man approached my table. “May I join you?” For whatever reason I said yes. He sat with us and another one of his friends did too.
He had an exquisite sense of humor and put me at ease quickly. In our conversation he told me about his love for bikes, how he had put aside riding while raising a family. Now retired after a successful career as an engineer and his daughters in college and one of them pursuing a career in singing, he had returned to riding. “My wife doesn’t like to ride, hurts her butt”. He told me what the long string of eagles on his chain meant. Each one won for competing in a bike tournament. He showed me his boots and the spikes, meant to strike and hurt someone, but really worn just for show, same as the knife on his belt. Never been used, he said with pride.
When the band stopped playing I said goodbye to the biker. I was having such an interesting conversation with him that I almost felt reluctant to leave. Walking to my car I felt ashamed of myself. I had judged this man so incorrectly based on my own stereotyping.
A few spaces from my car was his bike. I placed a sticky note on his tank “thank you. I learned at lot.
More than he ever thought he could teach me.