Bike Light

October 27, 2011
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Joe came home from work on Friday, ready to party with his friends. He ate dinner and cleaned the kitchen. Then Ryan called and asked, “Want to come to a bar with Jake, Alex, Jim, and John?”
“Sure,” Joe replied. “Which bar?”
“Let’s go to Cocktail. I’ve never been there or even heard of it, but it has a special today.”
“Okay, see you in fifteen.”
Joe decided to ride his bike to the bar, considering it was only eight blocks away. He figured he’d get there just as fast on a bike as in a car with all the traffic. Also, it was 73 degrees, which is uncommon weather for October. Because it was getting late, Joe fastened a bright red, flashing light onto the front of his old-fashioned handlebar stern. He wanted to make sure the cars could seen him. As he finished biking the third block, he came upon a very busy intersection. He began to cross the road when a mini-van taxi began to turn directly towards him. He jerked to a stop at the sight of the car coming towards him, and the light on his bike fell off. He backed up his bike, leaving the light on the street, about a third of the way across.
Luckily, the large, yellow taxi did not hit the light. The driver had seen it fall, and he purposely avoided it.
It was now safe to cross the street. Joe picked up the light as he passed it but did not want to take the time to attach it to his handle-bars, so he just clipped it onto the belt loop on the back of his pants.
Finally, Joe arrived at the bar. The front windows were filled with neon flashing signs, advertising different brands of beer. He walked into the smokey, dark, and loud room. There were people yelling, singing, hugging, and drinking. He turned to his left and was surprised to see two men kissing. Joe learned the hard way that this was a gay bar. He didn’t want to look like he discriminated against gay people by turning around and leaving. He just didn’t feel like staying because he didn’t fit in at all. He reluctantly kept walking in to find his friends.
After five minutes of searching for his friends, Joe almost left the bar. He was tired of waiting for them while other men stared at him. He began to wonder if his friends had stood him up. He wondered if they were playing a trick on him. But, even more, he was wondering why all of the men there were staring at him. Some were even staring at his back end. This made him feel extremely uncomfortable.
Joe didn’t think it was a good idea to leave now because he thought it might attract all of the attention that wasn’t already on him. It seemed odd for a straight man to walk into a gay bar alone, walk around for about five minutes, attract many stares, and leave. To fit in better, he bought a drink and stood in a corner. There were two men standing behind him.
Finally, Joe’s friends walked into the bar. They took a look around and began to laugh. It seemed that they, too, did not know this was a gay bar. Joe shyly waved his free hand above his head to get his buddies’ attention. Unfortunately, he got a little more attention than he wanted. Some other men with whom he was not familiar waved back. His friends started towards him and began to laugh hysterically. Joe thought they would die of laughter. They finally reached Joe with red faces and teary eyes.
“Yo, Joe!” Ryan said.
“Hey!” Joe said. “What’s so funny?”
Ryan, Jake, Alex, Jim, and John all gave each other funny looks and cracked up.
“You really don’t know?” John asked with a big smile on his face.
“No! I Don’t! Someone tell me!” Joe said. He was feeling left out.
“You’re flashing, Joe! Your bottom is flashing red!”

When John said that, all of the guys started to laugh again, even Joe.
“I musta....forgotten to...take!” Joe said between laughs.

Joe turned around to see the two laughing men behind him. Their glasses were flashing red, reflecting the light. He quickly grabbed the light off of his belt loop and turned it off. He and his friends left the bar, although Joe was beginning to feel more comfortable there. He now knew why everyone was staring at him. It wasn’t because they liked him. It was only because he had a flashing bike light on his belt loop.

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