This afternoon when I left work, I met up with an old friend who wanted to get lunch. He suggested we take his truck to the restaurant because he had little faith that I would make it the whopping two miles from my work. On the drive there, he showed me his new tattoo (a cross with his parents’ names above it and “por vida” in gangster script below). I rolled down my window to avoid inhaling too much of his cigarette smoke. We arrived at our destination intact and had a lovely lunch; then—at his insistence—we walked around the mall for a few minutes before heading back to where my bike was locked up. He lit another cigarette and turned down the rap music he was blaring to ask, “So you ride your bike to work everyday?”
“Yes,” I answered, glancing nervously at the wheel that he was controlling with his gut, all the while ignoring the road completely. He threw his cigarette out the window, and it landed in his half-primered bed, in the middle of a pile of Mountain Dew bottles. Then, without looking back at me, he said, “Riding your bike is white trash.”
I looked down at the torn, stained upholstery of the bench-seat. My gaze ran across the seat to his baggy, ripped denim shorts, half-hidden by his giant, faded blue t-shirt that hung loose over his enormous belly. Then I glanced up to his eyes, barely visible behind his plastic sunglasses.