Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bezos Rules

So Washington Post's new owner talks: Surprise me, he says. Tell me things I can't learn elsewhere. He points to profiles and features - hardly the bottom line of daily journalism but, it seems in his view, the key to survival. Case in Point: the biography of a bouncer at DC's 9:30 club (alas, only after the guy has died). Would others like to know about the elaborately attired biker I met in Whole Foods this week, sporting so many electronic contraptions on his head that I thought he might topple over before he paid for his food? (Varied goods to be stuffed into two identical waterproof bike bags, presumably for his own use.) The clerk smiled when he approached the register but I saw nobody else reacting to the scene. Surely patrons aren't indifferent to the sight of a man with a load of cameras, wires, helmet and other gear stored atop a sturdy frame. What gives? I asked him. He was only too eager to say: a self-motivated self-employed surveyor of DC's transportation scene. A founding member of the DC bikers club, a whistle-blower marking when DOT falls down, even to stated measurements  of roadways and such. And willing to confess how he helped a 'mentally handicapped' friend of his adapt to riding a bike. "You get her one of those folding ones, low to the ground, tell her to think of it at first as a scooter, get her legs moving and eventually she - true story - used the pedals and set off." He wanted to tell me more but my ice cream was melting...

Also - why not harp in newspapers on lost causes/topics, the ones seldom noticed in public, such as the man I saw on a Metro one night lugging around a giant harp. It wasn't gold, didn't have a label, and was occupying one of the Orange Line's double seats. Other passengers were looking on but staying silent. He had crafted the harp by hand, he told me when I approached him (he handed me a card), and uses it on behalf of a Christian group helping to save souls.

That diligent doo-wap group holding forth periodically downstairs at Metro Center, between Orange and Blue tracks. Who are they, doesn't anybody want to know? What's their daily take?

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