My ‘blogger of the week’ contest, where I begged you to write a frothing-at-the-mouth rant so I can run it and have a minute off to eat cat food, keeps reaping rewards. Here’s a lovely tirade from “The Fuming New Yorker,” aka Gregory Moore, about the joys and sorrows of bike riding, especially the sorrows. He even uses big words like ‘inviolable’. Get out your pictionary and enjoy!
For years, my main form of transportation in NYC has been my bicycle…or should I say, my bicycles, as by last count, I’ve had 17 of them stolen from me over the years (that’s a rant for another day…grrr…). So, I finally wised up and got the best lock there is: It’s called the “New York Fuhgeddaboudit Lock”. It weighs more than the average adult male and is virtually impenetrable. And I have proof. Someone tried to jimmy the lock and broke off a piece of metal into the lock hole. I’ve tried every form of needlenose pliers, hemostats, etc., to dislodge the metal, with no luck. I was told by a locksmith that I should have the fire department bring their gigantic lock clipper to my now permanently stationary cycle, lashed to some scaffolding in front of my building (where it’s now been for almost 6 months). I went to my local fire house and explained my predicament. A burly fireman grabbed the clippers and followed me home. Well, it totally wrecked his week when even THIS wouldn’t break the lock. He huffed and he puffed before leaving, even more dejected than me. I’m told that the scaffolding will be dismantled next month, whereupon I can take the bike (with lock still attached) to a locksmith to be surgically removed. In the meantime, I’ve learned the joys—and horrors—of being a New York pedestrian.
Now, it seems to me that the “right of way” rule in New York City is an inviolable one. You stay on your right, I’ll stay on mine. But it’s become clear that certain pedestrians just don’t get it. If I’m approaching someone who is obviously a clueless tourist or a child or someone handicapped or very elderly, I try to cut them some slack and move to the other side. ON THE OTHER HAND, if it’s an aimlessly wandering fool, yammering away on their cellphone, walking wherever they damned well please, I don’t move for ANYTHING. Generally, I’ll just keep on my path and will come to a complete face-off with them until they get to the proper side. If they still don’t move, I have a few snappy rejoinders saved up: “Welcome to America! YOU’RE ON THE WRONG SIDE!” works well. Have things gotten worse in this era of cellular technology, or has it always been like this?…
It seems unlikely that they’ll pass any laws about walking and talking on the phone at the same time, such as the totally unenforced laws that pertain to drivers in NYC and their cellphones (don’t even get me started on taxi drivers who babble gibberish nonstop into their cellphones, totally ruining one’s very expensive ride). For now, I tend to walk in the street a lot, especially on Lexington. I want my bike back, chop-chop! Do I have to dismantle that scaffolding myself?