An Ode to the Odd

| May 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

I was taught a life lesson by a man on a unicycle.

Now I’m not actually entirely sure if I’m talking about just one guy or a legion of people who operate á la Sisterhood of the Traveling Unicycle and take turns riding off into the Comm Ave sunset. I never actually spoke to the guy (guys? person? people?). It’s not like he stopped me while I was walking to class, saddled up next to me while balanced precariously on one wheel, and told me to follow my dreams. I have seen him (them?) only in passing, and precisely three times:

1. Freshman year, spring semester. It’s warm, I’m in shorts, and some people are crawling out of their dorms for what looks like the first time in weeks to enjoy the sunshine. Unicycle Guy rides by me in the middle of my leisurely stroll. He’s juggling three colorful balls.

2. This year, spring semester. It’s cold, it’s snowing, and I’m pissed about being awake at 8 a.m. on a day that class should be canceled. The stupid metal strip near West Campus almost kills me when the waddle over it. Then, Unicycle Guy sweeps over it on his trusty unicycle, slicing through the sleet as if he doesn’t even notice the weather.

3. This year, spring semester. It’s warm again, I’m not in shorts, and some people are crawling out of their dorms for what looks like the first time in weeks to go to class. I’m walking on Bay State Road when Unicycle Guy crosses my path. He’s holding a single black ice skate.

Each of these magical encounters lasted maybe ten seconds. And each one drove me absolutely fucking nuts.

photo credit: Seattle Department of Transportation West Seattle Summer Parkways September 25, 2016 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Seattle Department of Transportation West Seattle Summer Parkways September 25, 2016 via photopin (license)

Because: Who is this guy? Why isn’t he at clown college when he clearly has this higher calling? Why is his preferred mode of transportation in a snowstorm a unicycle? How does he have such freakishly good balance? Why just one ice skate? Where’s the other one?

Does he know how god damn weird he is?

I’ll probably never get the chance to ask Unicycle Guy these questions as a) I’m still not entirely sure there’s only one guy to ask and b) I’m half convinced he’s not even a real person, so hunting him down to interview him would prove to be a fruitless effort.

But in regard to that last question, my own answer is that I sure hope so. I hope that every second Unicycle Guy is riding down our humble sliver of Boston, he’s acutely aware of the double takes that happen when he walks by, of the sheer bafflement he leaves in his wake. And I hope that he loves every minute of it.

I think we all struggle with embarrassment in our day-to-day lives, have all had moments where we stepped back when we should have stepped up, shut up when we should have been loud, because we were scared of what other people would think. Because: what if I’m being weird?

And I think the question that Unicycle Guy poses in response is: even if you are, is that a bad thing?

What’s wonderful about Unicycle Guy isn’t just his odd mode of transportation or the strange things he decides to do while on it—what really makes him special is the sense of mystery he brings to our humble little college campus. The questions he makes us ask. The looks he makes us share with other passersby, half-laughing and looking for confirmation that other people just saw that, too, right?

So maybe it isn’t bad to be a little weird. Maybe the lesson to be learned from Unicycle Guy is that we should all do the stuff we want, even if we might look a little strange doing it, because we could become a funny story friends giggle over, or a cryptid people try to spot around campus, or a muse that some random girl writes an article about.

Maybe we could brighten up the morning of some miserable kids as they trudge through the snow to classes they don’t want to go to, and maybe we can leave a little wonder in our wake.

featured photo credit: ** RCB ** un via photopin(license)

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Category: Art and Literature, Campus Culture, featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy

Isabella Amorim

About the Author ()

Isabella "Izzy" Amorim likes reading, writing, and sleeping for disgusting amounts of time. No, she's not thirteen years old. Yes, she's actually a freshman at this college. She has a BUID, see?

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