And that’s when we saw him. As we sat in the car waiting for the red light to change, a cyclist crossed in front of us.
“That guy’s naked,” I noted.
“What?” Alan asked.
“That guy’s naked,” I repeated. Alan did a double-take.
“You’re right,” he replied. While we were both at a loss for words, we agreed that we should probably follow him, so we turned right at the intersection to track him down.
I don’t know what’s creepier – the fact that there was a nearly naked man riding his bicycle through downtown Austin, or that a pair of guys was right behind him capturing the moment for “posteriorty”. (Don’t judge – you would’ve done the exact same thing.)
Anyway, given the difference between his leisurely pace and the flow of traffic, it wasn’t long before we passed him and were soon far, far away from the nearly naked cyclist from Austin.
When we met up with Brittany to return her M12 head, we were still in a state of astonishment.
“Have you seen anything like this?” I asked her, scrolling through the slideshow of pictures that I had just shot.
“Oh yeah,” she replied. “That’s naked biker guy. I see him all the time.”
Apparently, in the vein of “Keeping Austin Weird,” this guy was a local legend of sorts, and his regular, nearly nude appearance through the streets of Austin was commonplace, never even garnering a second look from the local town folk.
Huh, I thought. In other parts of the country, he would certainly get harassed or shunned, beaten to a pulp or arrested. In other parts of the country, he would be seen as odd, out of the ordinary, not the norm. But here in Austin, he was accepted as just a part of the eclectic landscape that they were seemingly so proud of. In being weird, he was normal.
And that reminded me of the facility managers that we had just met. They represented colleges and universities and healthcare facilities from all over the country. In some areas, PEX is seen as out of the ordinary, not the norm. While in other areas, PEX is accepted as normal.
This nearly naked cyclist served as a timely reminder, that as we move forward selling PEX as an alternative to copper in commercial plumbing and hydronic distribution applications, we are going to come across folks who look at us, bewildered and astonished that we would ever propose something so outrageous. Our job is to show them the benefits of PEX so that they see PEX as the “new normal.” Our job is to make sure they are comfortable with PEX so that when they see it on a submittal or value-engineering list, they don’t pause and do a squinted double-take.
Our job…is to ride naked.
Alan and I were fortunate to witness this lesson. Indeed, there are lessons weaved into everyday experiences. If there weren’t, then I wouldn’t have had an excuse to write about a naked guy riding his bike through the streets of Austin.