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Editorial: Hipster on the Subway with a Unicycle

So, I saw a hipster on the subway this morning – short blue single-breasted blazer, black thick-framed glasses, beard, skinny brown jeans…  with a unicycle.

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Now, let me preface this by saying I have no issues with unicycles or hipsters, so before you get your knickers in a twist, know this is purely a single slice out of what it’s like to live in my observational writer universe.

My Problem with this Unicycle Thing

The world is a collection of stories and I need to know them.

It was quite early in the morning, not long after the trains started running for the day and early enough it was still dark out. Not unusual for me to be out that early since I’m up by 4am or earlier as has been my habit over long years battling insomnia, so this was just a regular day for me. So, I’m sitting there lost in La-La Land the way I usually am in a public place surrounded by people with my brain in a thousand places and keeping myself amused in my usual way. I don’t need a travelling companion, since my invisible entourage follows me everywhere, of course. Anyway, I happened to draw my eyes down the length of the car and see this guy down the other end.

As soon as I saw it, that was it – every other thought left my head. I did a double-take, because I didn’t have my glasses on and wasn’t sure I’d seen that correctly, but after another look, yup, confirmed – hipster with a unicycle.

It hit me, “Where the heck is this guy going at 5:50am with a unicycle?”. It was on after that. The questions rolled in.

I mean, it’s winter, after all, and certainly not something you would expect to see. I need to know why things are as they are, so I could not leave this alone. I had to know. Was there a unicycle convention going on I didn’t know about? Was there a last minute unicycle rider absence and they had to call in an emergency sub the way they do substitute teachers through some special unicycle sub hotline and that’s why he was out at that time of the morning, hurrying to the unicycle gig he was called-in for on short notice?

Likely, most of you won’t appreciate or understand my obsession with this random happening, but you didn’t see this guy. I was having an O.C.D. meltdown. I had and still have a million questions. It wasn’t just the unicycle. It was the whole scenario.

He looked so serious. I mean, you’d think someone with a unicycle in their possession or living the kind of life that includes owning and using a unicycle would look a lot more, I don’t know, happy? I don’t presume to be an expert in the happiness levels of all unicycle riders everywhere or anything, but it struck me that if you have one and are taking it places to ride, there’s a high degree of probability the kind of life you’re living differs from most of the rest of the regular shmucks still chained to a 9-5. I imagine that sort of person may be in the arts which is usually only seriously pursued by people with a calling and so probably doing a lot more of what you want to do rather than what you have to do which would naturally, at least in my opinion and experience, generally always result in more personal satisfaction and chuckles. No?

And he was in such a rush – all flustered, flittering, jiggly-legged, obsessively adjusting his leather messenger bag and collar and blazer lapels, champing at the bit at the doors. It didn’t take long to reach the next destination station, but during that time I was wholly caught, watching this guy on the verge of a nuclear meltdown, vibrating and fiddling and eyes-ranging around the walls, leaned forward in anticipation of the stop with nowhere to go and with the devil on his heels. I mean, what the hell, man? The second the doors opened, he leapt gazelle-like through the not yet all-the-way open egress and sprinted across the platform to the stairs with his unicycle in tow at which point he passed the lip of the wall and, to my disappointment, became lost to view.

I’m dying to know now what could cause that sort of urgency among the unicycle riding community. What would instill that level of furtive and fevered angst? My curiosity’s caught. I have to know. And I have no info. To a thing like me? This is torturous.

I took note of where he exited and it wasn’t downtown. He couldn’t have been going down to the Citytv television station to perform for the early morning show Breakfast Television which I know begins a lot earlier than that. There were no unicycle riding events posted anywhere that he might have been going to – I know, because I looked it up. The Toronto International Bicycle Show doesn’t come up until March 4, so it couldn’t have been that.


Since I’m obsessed with solving this unsolvable puzzle, my hope is he’s part of The Flying Belmonts (Isabella Hoops Entertainment), live performance entertainers who put on shows including sword swallowing, juggling, unicycling, magic and contortion and have an upcoming show at the beginning of Feb. (See Here for show info if you’re into that).

At least that way I can be satisfied he was in the arts and rushing to a practice or something, because if that wasn’t it, then I’m stumped. And I can’t have that. I’m not even kidding, my brain will eat itself trying to work this out. Everything has a reason and I always figure it out. Always.

But there’s the thing, right? Unlike reality, fiction needs to make logical sense, and dammit Reality, you screwed-up-illogical-random-collection-of-unconnected-happenings, you rarely do.

Aaand there’s an extra-special glimpse into my life. Fun times. Going off to O.C.D. implode now. I’ll be back.











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