Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Best Critical Mass I've Been On.

Does it take a death to learn what a life is worth? - Jackson Browne

I got to Westport about 6:30 after carrying a bag of dog food home and getting a set of housekeys made. But I wanted to be at Critical Mass, tonight, especially.

I had met Lewis Bailey a few times, first after my first Critical Mass in July of 2005. A bunch of us were sitting in front of Cave Dave's in the Crossroads, drinking cheap beer and telling stories and Louis came by with his knapsack, saying that he had an alchemy textbook from the 1870's. He may have even shown it and passed it around. I would see him at Acme from time to time and he had something going, comic books that were going to net him a fortune. According to others, he was a drug addict but he made his living, such as it was, salvaging flowers and reselling them. He was a character, the kind that makes a city into a collection of human beings, that makes life interesting.

He was killed this past Wednesday,just after midnight, by a motorist. I can't call it murder but I have to wonder how much of our humanity that we're willing to sacrifice for our cars.

Due to work commitments, I was unable to attend the vigil on Thursday but I did find my way to Critical Mass. We took a long time getting out of the Sun Fresh parking lot and made it into the Plaza with what seemed to be a hundred of us, completely filling 2 lanes on the Plaza and looping around for awhile then heading into downtown KC and across the ASB Bridge where we looped around the site of Lewis' death, the intersection. I set one of the empty PBR cans next to the plastic flowers and drew a breath. We headed back to Acme.

Sarah, at Acme, had lights from Planet Bike, one of our successes for the Kansas City Bicycle Federation. We gave them out to a lot of people who had no lights. I took a couple sets for people who work with me at Whole Foods. It seemed an appropriate way to remember Lewis. I hope someone else's life will be spared.