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Short #35: Making it to the Game
Terrence stared at his smarphone in dismay. “The traffic is serious today.” He looked across the room at James for some sign of panic.
James however, seemed relaxed. “Trust me,” he said in his typical calm, low voice, “the Lambo gonna get us there in time.”
Terrence could never really tell if James was joking or serious, and so his determined finger continued swiping and tapping at his smartphone. Then with his best straight face and chin held high, he pointed the phone screen at James. He wanted to display the bad news in his face so it could not be ignored “One hour and 46 minutes bro. Traffic. Gonna be tight to make the game. Even in the Lambo.”
“Nah. Ain’t none of that matter to me,” responded James.
“Get out into the garage with me. You’ll see.” James motioned across the foyer, to the side door. Behind this side door was a corridor leading to the largest room in the mansion. It was bigger than all of the homes’ eight bedrooms put together. The room held James’ vehicle collection. Three Ferraris. Three Mercedes. A Porsche. A Bentley. A Rolls-Royce, and his newest acquisition, a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster.
Terrence looked at the cars, shook his head, and pointed at his phone. “Brother. One hour and 46 minutes. None of these goin’ anywhere in traffic.” With his back turned to James, Terrence continued shaking his head as he sulked, walking in defeat towards the Lamborghini.
He was half way across the giant room when James yelled.
Terrence stopped. He snapped his head around, searching for James among the dark, motionless cars. He yelled into the shadows, “Hey! Where you at, man?” but got no reply. Pocketing his phone, James poked his head around the Rolls-Royce. He circled around the car, then continued down between the Bentley and the Porsche. As he paced down the line of Ferarris, he wondered if James was playing games with him. Maybe he had snuck out of the garage to arrange some other form of transporation. Seems right. James probably knew the Lambo wasn’t going to work out today. He is always figuring out how to do stuff that no one thinks about. There was probably a monster truck waiting for them on the lawn, or maybe a tank. Or maybe something that would attract less attention, like a helicopter. Or…
“Terrence! Man! Where you at?” James shouted again.
Whipping his head around, Terrence spotted James at the left-most garage door. This was the smallest of the 10 doors. So small that no car could fit through it. “Huh?” Terrence wrinkled his forehead at the scene.
James was holding two helmets in one hand, and his smartphone in the other. Beside him were two bicycles. “47 minutes, Terrence.” James said casually, as he held up his smartphone.
Terrence looked at the phone, and then eyed the two triangular frames with wheels on them. “On bicycles?”
James widened his eyes as he pressed the garage door opener. “On bicycles. That’s how you keep your body going.” The garage door chain cranked and clinked as it pulled the tiny door up slowly. The shadow in the garage receded and was replaced by that vivid Los Angeles sun. As the floor and bicycles were illuminated, James smiled his biggest smile. “Faster than traffic, and it feels nice, too.”
Some of you might get the idea that this story was inspired by a person named LeBron James. Certanily, there are some similarities.
LeBron began riding his bicycle to Miami Heat games one day, when the traffic was particularly bad. On that day, the bicycle was simply faster. After this experience however, he kept doing it, even on days when there was no traffic. At first LeBron said it was for conditioning, that the rides gave him the energy to play through a game without becoming tired. That is probably true. But later, he opened up to reveal that the bicycle rides had a deeper meaning beyond clearing his head or staying in shape.
During his childhood, the bicycle was a symbol of freedom that enabled LeBron to venture into new neighborhoods, to make relationships with new kids from different schools, to widen his views on life and open his eyes to what was possible. Plus, it just felt good to be on this simple, human-powered two-wheel invention. That is part of why, for more than a decade, LeBron has made a habit of regularly donating hundreds of bicycles to at-risk kids in his hometown through his family foundation.
To the young LeBron, the bicycle meant freedom, possibility, and discovery. As an adult, the bicycle still means all of these things to LeBron. Any of us who ride will understand that.
After moving from Miami to Los Angeles, LeBron still bicycles. He does not however, bicycle to the games. This is thanks largely to L.A. having one of the most inadequate cycling infrastructures of any big city in the world.
But alas, this series is about The Possible City, and so here LeBron can happily bicycle to a game in Los Angeles … at least in the form of a drawing.
I write these stories because I love it, but of course, a guy also needs to eat. So thanks to all of you paying subscribers for filling my stomach, and thus making this project possible ;-)
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