Favourite familiar stranger

March 31, 2011

Do you have a favourite familiar stranger? I’m talking about the people you see everywhere and recognise, even though you don’t know them.

My favourite familiar stranger (FFS) is an wiry, hirsute, older chap. He rides through my neighbourhood on his ancient black road bike. He used to work in the same building as me. I see him at the pool. We’ve never spoken and I have no idea if I’m a FFS of his, but he always makes me smile when I see him with in his safety reflecto-vest and faded bags of gear. He’s all sinew and he’s always in transit, wheeling down the road or tearing up the pool lane.

I saw him today and was startled yet delighted to see him unlock the very handsome, very new bike parked next to my very handsome, very new bike. He too knows the joy of deluxe wheel upgrades! Hurrah for FFS! Is that odd, to be so attached to a stranger? I think I’d miss him if I never saw him again. He’s a feature of Melbourne, for me.


  1. I really miss my FFS since I left Brunswick and never see him riding the other way along the bike path in the morning. We’d got to friendly head-tilt-of-recognition stage. Then he stopped appearing. Then I moved. Sigh.

  2. Yes! I’ve referred to him as “the loping man” because of his signature gait about town. He’s also referenced in the local Wiki as “The John Muir guy”. I’m sure you’ll remember him…tall, lovely demeanor, always smiling, wears a cowboy-ish hat, vest, jeans, white long-sleeved shirt and boots to match it all. Haven’t ever really spoken to him, but every time I see him I wave and he returns the gesture with a wide smile and twinkly eyes. Quite a character. Always wished he’d make an appearance at the House of Bogey. Alas.

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