My first dollar

It isn’t as easy as it sounds, transitioning from a full-time lawyer to a full-time itinerant bicycling minstrel of medieval Chaucerian poetry.

Most people are like, “Dude, nothing to it. What’s taking you so long?”

I don’t know, but I think a five-year timeframe is reasonable, as I’m only about 4,000 lines into the Canterbury Tales out of more than 17,000.

Plus I have a lot more comments to respond to about whether a heavy bike is faster than a lighter one.

Any way, if you’re going to be a minstrel of medieval Chaucerian poetry there is no time like the present to start, and the present was actually in the past, several months ago, but I had taken a hiatus because of life.

Today seemed like a great day to go down to the Redondo Pier, put up my Chaucer banner designed by master artist Greg Leibert, and get into the practice of doing it every day. The total Canterbury Tales are over 17,000 lines long, and it’s taken me 22 months to learn 4,000 lines, so if I wait until I know the whole thing I’ll have been dead for five or six years when I’m ready.

It was sunny and the Pier was deserted except for a homeless lady. Kristie came with me. She is a former figure skater and has these fancy inline skates that allow you, by which I mean her, to replicate a lot of the moves you can do on ice, especially falling.

She began dancing around in skate circles.

I got going on the General Prologue, but after about half an hour my voice started to get rough. It is windy out there and dry, and even speaking very quietly it is hard on an old man’s voice. The last time I did this I couldn’t speak for a week, so it ran through my mind IF ONLY THERE EXISTED PORTABLE SPEAKERS WITH A HEADSET THAT WOULD ALLOW ME TO BROADCAST USING THE MIRACLE OF ELECTRICITY.

I didn’t want to burn through my whole pack of vocal cords, and since it was just practice I figured I’d pack it in.

The homeless girl came up. “Hi, I’m Megan,” she said. “That was great!”

But she wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to Kristie. Why would anyone prefer a graceful, lithe, pretty person doing acrobatic skating to an old man with a scraggly beard mumbling a dead language?


Megan handed Kristie a dollar, and Kristie handed it to me.

For a split second I thought about handing it back, but then I understood, and I pocketed it. “Thanks!” I said. “That’s the first dollar anyone’s ever given us.”

“I figured,” she said, smiling. “I’m glad it was me.”

Hope it’s not the last.


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