Saturday, March 20, 2010

But, still, the bicycles rolled

A little reading for a rainy Saturday...

(Picture credit: Mohammad Karim Faiez)

The bicycle man prefers working in the sun, sitting on a cushion nailed to a wooden block, stretching out his right leg, the one with a missing foot, taken years ago in that instant when a man's life veers another way.

Abdul Hibib has been fixing bicycles for almost 30 years. His hands are quick, clicking gears, moving across spokes as if he's plucking a harp. So much worn rubber and troubled history have rolled past him. His country tumbled from war to war while he tinkered with bicycles, outlasting the Soviets, surviving the Taliban.

[ . . . ]

He grasps a bent rim, breathing lightly, the sun in his gray-black beard, his hands a diary of scrapes and cuts, seldom resting. He twirls the rim; it wobbles and he stops it, bending it some more and then spinning it again, hypnotic almost, the blur of rust and steel.

(Fleishmann, Jeffrey.  "Fixing what he can in Afghanistan."  Los Angeles Times 15 Mar. 2010.  20 Mar. 2010.)

Read the rest here.