By virtue of profession and personality, I've spent a good part of my life perfecting the art of getting noticed. It certainly had its strategic uses in business. Whenever I succeeded too well, however, I found being recognized to be a nuisance — not to mention a discomfort out of sync with my humble Catholic upbringing.
At the extremities of mental illness, the homeless still attract attention. Ernest, the walking man in my Colorado neighborhood, slogs along daily in an ever-changing wardrobe that ranges from black plastic bag to tire tread sling for carrying groceries. We worriedly discuss whether anyone has seen him if we miss him on the road for a few days. Yet Ernest is huddled deep within his own world and sees any bit of notice as a threat.
Unless they are actively on the make, Ernest and most of his colleagues gratefully fade into the woods and the woodwork.
My more disreputable errand bikes look like they could belong to Ernest and his street brethren. This keeps them, unlocked, reasonably safe from casual theft. Fat tires and big basket plus rust, old parts and eccentric decoration offer rolling security, too.
Today, carless, I had to head into town to pick up a repaired computer. Added to the basic problem of cushioned cargo capacity were the possibility of rain and fact that I'd be wheeling at about 10 miles per hour through a relatively high crime neighborhood with an iMac G5 that's still worth a few more bucks than most consumer electronics you can pull off a cyclist.
I have to admit, a woman did tell me she liked my bike, but I think she was a little touched in the head.