This morning a tan sedan nosed out of its parking spot just as I passed it on my bicycle. To my discredit, I don’t know whether it signaled or not. I was lost in thought, though not so much so that I wasn’t able to avoid the collision, scooting my bike into the centre of the road just in time to miss the headlights, the wheels. It’s a war against bicycles.
I wasn’t able to make eye contact with the driver. As I rode away, slowly, looking backwards– confused and awed– I realised that any collision would have been just as much my fault as it was his, because I had a bell and could have signalled if I’d known he was there.
The moments leading up to the near-miss are totally missing. What did I do with them? My head was filled with vanity, errant thoughts about weight-gain and loss, and running speeds at two hundred and fifty pounds.
“Craig didn’t think I would run very fast, but I ran so fast that when he saw me run he stopped and said ‘Wow, I was wrong: you do run fast’.”
Construction on 16 West. They’re repairing the water mains until August. When I bought my bike Dave at the shop told me not to go over too many curbs. “Okay,” I said. I hit a big pot hole in the middle of the road and my chain slipped off. I turned off to the side of the road, flipped my bike over and dug around in the dirt and grease until I got it back on.
I get from there to Shaw, up Shaw, to here. Cars don’t signal anymore. Today I notice this everywhere I go. It’s a war against bicycles. I thought we had an uneasy truce: cyclists don’t want to get smashed up by two-ton trucks, two-ton trucks don’t want a two hundred pound dead weight flying through their front window. Was a week of warm weather enough to erode it? Does it have something to do with the recession? A few weeks of inexperienced cyclists turns even car signaling into passive aggression.
“Why should I? There aren’t any cars on the road, are there? Oh– you turned into me? Well. Look at that.”
Bang, bang, goes the bicycle courier. His fingerless gloves rattle off the fiberglass. His face is red, greasy, puffed. The bike lays sideways in the intersection.
Dinner is frozen dumplings from the Korean grocery. I ride there at 5:45. Without thinking I park in front of the Adult Movie Theatre. On the way back I think “Oh, yeah,” as I fumble with my lock for five minutes. “Hi, I just road my bike to the Adult Movie Theatre. This shopping bag is filled with hardcore pornography. There’s an empty bike stand in front of the grocery store. Feel free to think whatever you want.”
“Honk at the pervert, honey. Look, there he is– right there! The big man who hasn’t shaved in a week.”
When I get home the phone rings twice and hangs up. It is 6:14 and Lisa should be home in two or three minutes. At 6:39 I get another call and it’s Lisa. Someone beat up her bike. They tore the bell in half and slashed or let the air out of the front tire. She has to take out money, take public transit. Men and women waiting for the bus blow smoke in her hair, in her eyes. It’s a war against bicycles.
FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENT ZONE
news you can use and it’s also fun
- If you don’t follow professional sports, you can be forgiven for not understanding their appeal. But if you want to see it in macro, you should read today’s article at FreeDarko.com. If you do follow professional sports, Bethlehem Shoals is now accepting pitches for future Free Darko material– and it doesn’t even necessarily have to be about basketball.
- Tao Lin (a novelist you’ve probably never heard of) pretend sold his myspace account. This isn’t notable. I love you.
- You may have already noticed this. A couple of weeks ago I integrated all of my old blogs (dating back to 2006; including that comic blog) into this one. 90% of those entries are terrible. But it’s here and it’s searchable. That’s some kind of bonus, right? For the most part, the comments survived, though they’re often butchered and out of order.
- Robot and Boy (caution: link ancient) is getting their own website again. Soon. I’m going to try and “do it up daily”.
- I’m also going to try and “do this website up daily”. For the next little while.
- Swine Flu.