Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I Saw While Riding My Bicycle Around on May 14, 2011

Graduation ceremonies at Kansas State and the filming of The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network) in Manhattan attracted thousands of folks to Aggieville this weekend. Recent graduates, their parents and friends, alum of both the -ni and -nae varieties, and garden-variety locals filled the midtown area when I visited in the middle of Saturday afternoon.

Three of the competing food vendors prepared and peddled their fare in the northwest corner of City Park, and one worked the crowd in Aggieville. Congestion slowed the traffic in Aggieville, so I walked the bicycle through the 'Ville and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the crowds and savored the aroma of barbecue, burgers, and coffee from restaurants in the district.

Through the window at Radina's Coffeehouse & Roasterie in Aggieville (Manhattan, Kansas)

Attracted first by the tandem bicycle parked at Radina's, I noticed the grandmotherly woman seated near the window. Maybe she was in town to attend a grandchild's graduation. She didn't fit the profile of the usual patrons of Radina's--academics, hipsters, hipster academics, academic hipsters, folks who tote a Roland Barthes tome to be seen toting a Roland Barthes when one's Derrida is unavailable, the cat having swiped it into the home aquarium of guppies, black mollies, and angelfish. But back to our weary grandmother: She had finished her coffee, and she appeared to be tired, maybe bored, too, and I imagined her wondering if all the fuss over the grandchild's graduation really required her presence. It's naptime, dammit.

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