What follows is a tale of heroism that falls decidedly under the "bandied about" category, but the mundanity of the circumstances and fatuousness of the protagonist should in no way diminish the thrilling nature of the actions described herein.
But first let's pause for a moment and honor America:
Now let's begin.
Yesterday afternoon I was returning by bicycle from the Westchester suburbs to my home in the Bronx, and our story takes place just south of the business district of the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, the wealthy river town the New York Times famously dubbed "Hipsturbia" back in 2013:
Sure, people may move there from Brooklyn, but they're the ones who never "got" the whole bike thing in the first place and have now embraced an auto-centric lifestyle with aplomb. If you see someone who looks like that in Hastings you can be absolutely sure they rode up from the city. You'll also never see that many people walking in town at the same time, and certainly not in such ebullient attire. The most recent arrivals may be clinging to their Brooklyn Industries duds, but it only takes a year or two for their wardrobes to turn over and get supplanted by stuff from the upscale malls in the area.
Yes, these are suburbanites through and through, and my smug condescension towards them can only mean I'll be moving up there any day now.
Anyway, I'd just passed through the strip with the gluten-free bakery and the terminally uncool/borderline non-existent foot traffic when I encountered a double-parked SUV with the tailgate open as though someone had stopped to unload it. However, as I passed the SUV I realized it was moving. You know how it goes: you pass a stopped vehicle and the driver picks that exact moment to pull out into traffic, either because they didn't bother to check for bicycles, or because they did and they just don't care.
Naturally I turned to scowl at the driver, but as I donned my most withering expression I noticed there was no driver. A cursory visual inspection of the interior also revealed there were no passengers either. The car was just moving on its own, slowly, like it was trawling for a parking space.
I was of three minds at this point, as follows:
1) Not my problem and fuck this idiot, plus I'm going to be late to pick my kid up at school if I don't leave now so buh-bye;
2) Not my problem and fuck this idiot but it would be really entertaining to watch this play out so I should totally stick around and watch;
3) I should probably do something before another driver crashes into this thing or it pins one of these uncool non-existent pedestrians.
Now keep in mind my thoughts were not as well-ordered as they appear above. Rather, each option sort of cycled through my brain alternately, over and over, like cards in a game of three-card monte. Option #3 seemed particularly problematic to me since I had no idea why this car was driving itself, and I didn't want to mess with the thing for fear I'd hurt myself somehow, or else wind up behind the wheel when it lurched inexplicably and smashed through the plate-glass window of a gluten-free bakery. Still, I didn't want anyone else to get hurt either. So, figuring the driver couldn't be too far away, I began to yell:
"Hey, your car's rolling!," I cried, omitting the "you fucking idiot" out of sheer tact.
I repeated myself again and again, and my calls went similarly unheeded.
Having ticked that box, I moved onto Option #2. However, to justify my gawking, I figured I'd film it under the guise of public service and share it with the world. So I withdrew my phone and began to shoot. Unfortunately, the whole time I thought I was filming I actually wasn't, so when I hit the red button to stop filming I actually started. Here is the result:
Please allow me explain what you're seeing. I'm still calling out to the idiot driver, who I suspect must be in earshot, in the vain hope that they'll take care of their own goddamn mess. The car is now moving across the center line (miraculously there is no oncoming traffic at the moment) and is on a collision course with a parked Audi, possibly owned or leased by wealthy arrivistes from gentrified Brooklyn who have given up on being cool because they long for "good schools" and secretly hate bike lanes. Part of me would very much like to revel in the soft crunching sound of this idiot's SUV meeting this brand-new Audi's shiny interlocking rings. However, another part of me is moved to prevent this from happening. I'd like to say this is because I'm a good person, but I don't think that's the reason. I suspect the real reason is that all Americans are born with "consumerist original sin." As such we are genetically programmed to respect status symbols, even while we may consciously resent them. Indeed, I think the same misguided impulse that moved a bunch of poor white saps to vote for a billionaire douchebag is the same one that finally compelled me to put down my bike, run alongside the runaway SUV, open the door, depress the brake, and move the gear selector from "D" to "P."
(And yeah, I'm pretty sure it was actually in Drive and not just Neutral.)
Once I'd stopped the car--fully in the wrong lane now and mere feet from the parked Audi--I didn't have time to wonder what to do next because that's when the driver arrived, let out an exclamation in Spanish, and then went on about how sorry she was. Given her timely arrival it seemed impossible to me she hadn't heard me yelling all that time, and I felt fairly certain she had probably been watching in a state of impotence as her car rolled away--which, if you think about it, is the default condition of most motorists.
And with that I took a parting shot of the offending vehicle and continued on my way:
The moral of the story is that most people out on the roads should not be driving, but you already new that.
Speaking of the total collapse of society, there's this:
For parents looking to give toddlers guilt-free screen time, Fisher-Price has this high-tech exercise bike https://t.co/1WumXaJdx2 #CES2017 pic.twitter.com/Ow21qk6o4K— CNN (@CNN) January 5, 2017
The bike, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, lets kids interact with gaming apps while pedaling. The Smart Cycle ($150) comes with one free app and works with four others, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Shimmer and Shine apps ($4.99 each).
The included app features an age-appropriate curriculum based on math, science and social studies.
"They're learning and mastering content as they pedal, fast or slow, forwards or backwards," Amber Pietrobono, a spokeswoman with Fisher-Price, told CNNMoney. "It's also how they level up in the games."
Hey, here's a good way to learn stuff while pedaling: RIDE A FUCKING BIKE TO SCHOOL!
Oh, wait, sorry. I forgot we were talking about America for a second.
I'm sure everyone will be outraged that the little girl isn't wearing a helmet.