I call upon Ludacris's classic "Move Bitch" today to dedicate it to several pedestrians who made me: 1) Slam on my bike's sh*tty, almost useless, brakes; 2) Swerve into a grassy knoll where, had I not possessed the reflexes of a young gazelle, I would have most definitely ran into a tree; and/or 3) Stop riding no-handed, which I was deftly doing to either position my coat's collar in front of my face to act like a scarf or change songs on my iPod.
Astute pedestrians may be asking a fair question right now: What the hell am I doing riding on the sidewalk in the first place? Well, my commute takes me up upper Connecticut Ave., where, unlike downtown, it's not illegal to ride on the sidewalk and also, the whole thing is almost entirely uphill, which means I average about 5 miles per hour. It's basic self-interest that leads me to get the hell off the street where drivers decide for themselves what the speed limit should be.
Even more astute pedestrians, though, may be asking an ever fairer question: Why didn't I just f*cking wear a scarf and make a decent playlist as to eliminate aforementioned complaint No. 3? OK, so that third numerical bullet is a bit of a stretch, but I never claimed to not be an idiot. Plus, riding no-handed is so much more fun because it frees up my hands to act like drumsticks so when I finally find the song I'm looking for on my iPod I can get to dancing-- and dancing mid-ride on a bicycle is seriously underrated. Trust me.
Which brings me to a question for errant pedestrians: If you see a cyclist in tight yellow pants, flailing her arms about and occasionally beating her own ass to a silent rhythm, why wouldn't you just get out the way? Does basic self-interest not apply to those on two legs? I mean, I can't imagine not getting out of the way because that sh*t probably looks crazy.
Which brings me to this point: A large number of pedestrians don't watch where they're going when they walk. The main culprit, I've noticed, is the ubiquitous BlackBerry. Now, I get it -- it's hard not to check your Gmail when it's right there in your hand. And when your friend Blair writes you about what Chuck Bass did to Little J, I get that you'll be compelled to respond ASAP, regardless of what is going on around you. But really, if it's a choice between someone less adroit than myself, which means some 95 percent of the population, running you down on a bicycle or forwarding that SMS to your catty friends, I have a hard time believing the latter is more important. After all, a swift bike wheel over your toe is bound to leave a mark on those several-seasons-ago UGGs you're still wearing, which, I suppose, can't make them any more hideous, but you get the point.
Or do you?
See, what I'm trying to say is that you're not that important. There is no business so important that it simply cannot wait for you to conduct when you're not walking. You are not a cop on Law & Order. You are not Ice-T. You're not even those rejects from Criminal Intent.
In fact, if you are that important that you're required to conduct business in transit then you probably wouldn't be walking to the Metro to commute to your job. Your job would commute to you in the form of a luxury vehicle or, more likely in this city, several luxury vehicles in the form of a motorcade. Trust me, your life will get a whole lot better if you just accept your non-significance. (Mine did!) For one, I won't nearly run you over on my bike. That's certainly a plus!
And now to close, not in full circle, mind you, but in an oval-like formation, I will return to the subject of bike-dancing and what may be the greatest (read: only) bike-dancing movie of all time: "Quicksilver," starring Kevin Bacon, who plays a financial whiz turned bike messenger/dancer. This sh*t is beyond what I can do, which begins and ends with mock drumming on my person, but in my mind I've been doing handstands on my handlebars for years. You may also notice a quick appearance by Louie Anderson in this clip. In what is surely a tell of how clever and original this movie is, his character's name is Tiny. Get it? A fat man named Tiny! Whodda thunk!?
And if you have another 9 minutes and 38 seconds of time to waste (and you do, considering I just established you're not that important), I suggest you click HERE for another couple of vignettes from "Quicksilver," which I plan on watching in full on the job soon because I'm really unimportant. The first part features Mr. Bacon, my apparent fashion inspiration considering he's sporting both a beret and fingerless gloves, and, uh, Laurence Fishburne (?!) with a rape whistle! Hmm, I think I might have to take back that sarcasm-adorned assessment I gave the film above because after watching these scenes, I think I may have e-stumbled upon the greatest piece of cinema ever made. No one runs Laurence Fishburne over and gets away with it, goddammit!