Friday, February 5, 2010

Crazy taxi, and other insane vehicles

New Yorkers know that Manhattan traffic can be hairy. I mean really hairy, like Robin Williams' arms, or Selma Hayek's unibrow when she used to have one. The roads are often a mad, Darwinian scene out of Mad Max, which, I must say, is really, truly, a fine piece of cinema. It's almost enough to forgive Mel Gibson's ludicrous anti-semitic rampaging, and general alcohol-induced insanity. Almost.

We accept the meanness of New York's mean streets as part of the city's culture, its history. However, this state is still part of America, albeit barely and grudgingly so. And in Amurricah, we rose above the savages--well, "rose above" is not exactly what I'm looking for, more like "moved through" the savages, by killing them, with giant machine guns. Kind of like this:

And speaking of fine pieces of cinema, gol-ly, Hot Shots is a doozie. But historic cinema and systematic genocide aside, New York, it is generally believed, being one of forty-nine states of the Union (Texas doesn't count), follows such American fundamentals as, say, the rule of law. Wrong. It's utter chaos out there. Sometimes I feel like I'm in downtown Jakarta. Not that I've been to Jakarta, but I've heard the traffic laws are quite loose there.

Now, when you're driving in Manhattan, it's bad enough but at least you have a wall of metal to protect you, that is unless you're driving a Toyota in which case you are not protected by that wall of metal but, on the contrary, trapped inside its fault-ridden jaws of death. If you're walking, your chances of survival start to plummet. Crossing the street at a busy intersection can sometimes be like an X Games event, and no, not the snow mobile race that Sarah Palin's husband competes in, I'm talking about the death-defying dirt bike events where they do triple backflips in the air. No joke, people die, yes die, from simply trying crossing the street. Holy f$#, right?

For cyclists, it's even worse. Not only are we as vulnerable as pedestrians--maybe even more so because we're traveling at speed--we also have the added danger of having to defend ourselves against the psychotic, Neanderthal-like vendetta some drivers have against cyclists. For reasons that escape me--and, I'm sure, escape those drivers that engage in this behavior because their brains are not human, but are inherited from the wooly mammoth, and thus cannot exercise reason--some drivers, excuse me, big-horned mastadons, take pleasure in trying to run cyclists off the road. I know this because I've witnessed it. Just the other day for example, riding south on Riverside Dr., an off-white, rather puke-colored, miniature pickup truck type thing that reminded me of a Toys-R-Us plastic car drove alongside me for half a block, coming dangerously close to ramming me into the parked cars on my right. And when I looked up, dazed, and electrified with adrenaline, at this maniac who quite seriously almost murdered me in broad daylight, I caught him looking back in the rearview mirror, not with remorse or fear, but with a grin so wide, and so dripping with self-satisfaction, that you would've thought he had tricked Kim Kardashian into performing felatio on him while he drove and that she was finishing up at that very moment. Oh, and he also gave me the finger as he drove off. What a swell guy.

So, just a word to drivers like that one: murder, even if it's a cyclist, is still murder. You pickin' up what I'm throwin' down?

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