You never get a second chance.
Unless you do.
I was sitting in the The Pit in Raleigh, North Carolina, with my old friend Bob Ringham, when I saw this dramatic hairstyle slide past the window, atop a young man riding a scooter. Scooters are the thing in Raleigh, apparently.
I drew Bob's attention to the stiff ridge of pointy hair as its owner disappeared.
"Odd," I said. "Mohawks were a way to broadcast punk rebellion in 1977 and, 40 years later, they still are."
I wanted to elaborate how they never aged, like other rebellious cuts, the DA, which went from genuine tough guy Rebel-Without-a-Cause talisman to toothless coiffure sunk in nostalgia and the mock heroic. A mohawk is still strange; like a tantrum in hair, a way each generation expresses anew its displeasure with the world.
A few minutes later, he was back. I couldn't let a second chance slip by. I quickly stood up excused myself, hurrying outside and introducing myself, mentioning Chicago and this blog as if they were charms. He said his name is Todd and apologetically said his girlfriend had just been in a traffic accident and he had to go. Though nicely, nicely enough that I implored, "Two seconds," and he posed, briefly, in profile as instructed. In the first two photos, his magnificent crest was lost in the background but, for this final frame, I dipped my knees and silhouetted it against the sky. And then he was gone, off down the street.
"I hope she's okay!" I called after him, and returned to the restaurant, where I was met by an inquisitive waitstaff.
"Do you know that guy?" one waiter said.
"No," I replied, "we just met."