As I typed my last post announcing my vacation, I did so with trembling hands. Not because I was excited to take my leave, nor because I feared blogging withdrawal, nor even because I had just received a substantial Nashbar gift certificate for Festivus and could finally take advantage of their Inventory Reduction Sale to purchase Primal jerseys, obsolete Shimano components, and wire-bead tires with single-digit thread counts at unbelievable prices.
No, I trembled because I had been traumatized less than an hour before.
I had been riding Manhattan-bound over the Brooklyn bridge when I was overtaken on the incline by another cyclist. As he passed me, I noticed to my astonishment and horror that the waist of his jeans was so low that it revealed a sizeable percentage of his buttocks. I'm not talking about the sort of incidental plumber's crack that's so commonplace in our society that we hardly notice it. No, I'm talking more crack than Chris Rock smoked in "New Jack City." I was being mooned. Maybe not a full moon, but certainly at least a waxing gibbous. What's more, it was pretty cold out that morning, so the entire objectionable region was redder than Kentucky on election day.
While I generally observe a policy of not taking candid photos of other cyclists out on the road, I do make an exception when I feel that I have been wronged. And nothing's more wrong than exposing yourself to a fellow commuter like a mating baboon. At that moment, all bets (and, apparently, undergarments) were off. So I took this:
Note that I have maintained a respectful distance. (Though in all fairness and honesty, the distance is more out of fear than respect.) However, through the dubious magic of modern technology, I can zoom in to give you a better sense of just what I was subjected to that awful morning. Fortunately for you, as I zoom in, the resolution suffers--so you don't have to:
Note the strategically-placed bag strap. Unfortunately, it was not strategically-placed enough. Had it been a mere centimeter to the left, it might have covered his gluteal cleft and I might have been able to convince myself that I was simply looking at his back and not at his backside. That was not the case. In such moments, I find myself contemplating how the fate of man is often decided by the tiniest of margins. What if the Titanic had changed course just a little bit sooner? What if Lee Harvey Oswald had missed? What if Fignon had not lost those eight seconds to LeMond? Tough to say. All I know is, if only that strap had covered his ass crack, I might still believe in God and I might not have spent the rest of the morning rubbing my eyeballs with sandpaper.
Closer still and we note a few more items of interest. Our assailant appears to be riding a fixed-gear bicycle with SPD pedals in dress shoes and socks. He is also wearing a lock around his waist which may be the only thing keeping his pants from falling any further. I may very well owe that lock my life.
I'd like to say that after he passed me he receded into the distance and the image of his chapped rear receded from my mind's eye. That was not the case. Instead, after passing me he slowed just enough so that I was stuck behind him until we got to Manhattan. I'd also like to say that this is the only time this has happened to me. It isn't. It's just the only time I took a picture.
In fact, I was so traumatized that later that day I took a totally different route home. While it took me completely out of my way, I did encounter the following:
A Brooklyn Machine Works Gangsta Track simultaneously: 1) proving that top tube pads are indeed out of style; 2) showing that it has clearance for bar spins even with a 700c front wheel; and 3) doing an uncanny impression of a dog licking itself.
Green lights as far as the eye can see as a brace of spankin' new fixed-gears (complete with reflectors) dutifully wait for their owners outside an Avenue A bar. (New fixed-gears + drunk riders = fun!)
A friendly reminder or a bewildering reminiscence, depending on how you read it.
A lovely sentiment, or a graphic reminder of my morning nightmare, depending on how you look at it.
Fortunately, though, nobody exposed themselves to me as I headed home to embark upon my vacation. Which, save for tomorrow's holiday, is now over. So there it is--a chapped and repulsive ending to 2007. Let 2008 be more modestly attired.