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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Take that bike horn and beep it

At the shop where I have purchased a couple of bicycles, they attach a horn to your handlebar before they send you out the door with your new bike.

These horns look and sound like squeaky toys. My two bikes are identical, but the horns are different. I have a white cat and an orange dinosaur.

I’m told most adults remove them. To each his own. Me, I like beeping.

In the beginning, I mostly beeped at outdoor cats. Their reactions range from puzzled to annoyed.

It’s always fun to try to read feline minds.

“Yeah, beep-beep yourself there, pal.”

“What the … ?”

“Do you mind? I’m hunting here.”

“Good God, there’s never a moment’s peace.”

“Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?”

Once in a while, a beeped-at cat will move in my direction. Maybe it’s thinking, “The tuna man’s here!”

Either that or “If I can get him by the ankle, I think I can bring him down.”

Eventually, I branched out. I started beeping at little kids.

They also respond with a variety of reactions.

Some smile and wave. Others look concerned, as if I might be that not-to-be-trusted stranger/bad person they’ve heard so much about.

Again, a certain amount of mind reading comes into play.

“I hear a lot of noise there, Chief, but I don’t see any ice cream.”

“Well, will you look at that goofy son of a … ?”

“What? Are you trying to be a character?”

“Keep your eyes on the road there, mister.”

Because there’s often an adult nearby, I wave and smile at them, too. That led to occasionally beeping at grown-ups unaccompanied by kids.

I haven’t done that a lot. But here’s what I’ve learned.

Most people want to be friendly. At least that’s my impression.

When I beep and raise my hand, people wave back. Maybe they figure I’m a nutcake, but they wave.

I think a lot of us hate the way we have to be nowadays. You know, keeping our guard up all the time. Being suspicious of everyone.

It’s true, of course. There are a lot of thieves, con artists and psychos. But a guy on a bike beeping a kid’s horn? That’s a stranger who poses no threat.

Try to remember that there are a lot of us out there.

It’s hard to believe June is just hours away.

Have a great summer.

Beep beep.

•Today’s Slice question: What did you spill?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. For previous Slice columns, see www.spokesman.com/ columnists. Some sweet onions aren’t.

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