Saturday, August 11, 2012

nothing but bicycles

Despite my genteel restraint in my regular life (and as I write this, I acknowledge that the idea of me showing restraint is unlikely) most people who spend any time with me are aware that I dig bicycling and bicyclists.  If these people spend even more time with me they come to an uncomfortable truth whose name is:  I am not just a bicyclist, I do not like cars.  If these people are bright enough to think outside of the automotive box then they finally figure out that they themselves, lovely persons that they are, deserving of everything wonderful and all sorts of special regard....these special people find themselves behind the wheel of a car?  I do not like them.  It's pretty personal and when you consider the love affair that people have with their cars (not to be confused with their hatred for traffic) you can see that someone might end up with hurt feelings.

I don't discriminate at all, I don't like people in cars with the possible exception of ambulance drivers taking critically injured people to the hospital.  I...disapprove of cars.

And this disapproval...grates...and is ... annoying because in the grand scheme of cliques and jobs and social status?  I'm nothing special.  The thought that a podunk little network engineer (network!  not software!) would be disapproving of their driving behaviors is frankly abhorrent.  I don't make a big deal of any of this when I am away from the blog but there you go, I'm the Bartleby of bicycling in that no matter what car situation you find yourself in... I disapprove.  I find myself in car situations at times and know what?  I disapprove of that as well.  Driving?  I prefer not to.

Cars are done.  Cars are dirty.  I don't like cars.  The reasons are endless but start somewhere with a paved planet full of flat black ugly parking lots and continues right through a steady stream of crushed animals with staring eyes and past flat birds with bloodied feathers and goes right up to children being backed over by SUVs and engineers killed by road rage-a-holics.

So it came to be that I was bicycling to work last week and thinking about a post someone had pointed me at where a woman driving an SUV wrote about harassing a bicyclist who she had seen run a stop sign.  She cursed him out and he spat on her shiny car and then she tried to kill him or scare him at least to show him how bad he was and she reveled in the terror she inspired.  I am so tired by her actions, by her car, by this driver's immutability... I'm tired of all of it.

It is about a year since the software engineer Steve Lacey was killed by a road raged car.  And it it many years longer since family friend and future physicist Thomas was killed as he bicycled to his high school.  It is I don't know how many year's since my friend A's brother died in an intersection, dead of a collision between two cars.  There was the mom who died in the minivan with her twin babies.

I thought about this and more as I bicycled to work hoping that no one would get angry with me or just not see me and in a few moments end my life.

As I thought the soundtrack in my head rolled over to a new song.  It played in my head only, since I can't listen to headphones when I bicycle as I might not notice something important.  As the song played I imagined all of these accidents one after the other except just before the moment of impact, instead of impact, a beautiful and perfect CTRL-Z instead.  A suspend.  And in the moment of suspension instead of a car and a bicycle colliding, instead of two cars destroying their occupants, instead of a semi rolling over Lauren Ward instead of any of these terrible moments the cars are replaced by bicycles and two people collide largely harmlessly and fall off and roll over and pick themselves up and maybe argue or maybe laugh because they aren't dead.  It probably sounds stupid to read that as I thought about this hopeless idea of bicycle collisions instead of car collisions I cried, and I cry as I type it out now because life is not a shell session and there is no such suspend.  The cars collided, the bicycles were rolled over, and all of those people are gone.

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