Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Tedious Wednesday Diatribe About How Stupid We Are

Most weekday mornings this summer my elder son and I get on our bikes and ride the one (1) mile to his day cap.  A fairly decent hill (especially if you're seven) notwithstanding, it's a mellow ride through a fairly quiet residential neighborhood--with one exception.

At about the halfway point of our ride is another day camp that is held on the lush campus of a private school.  (Annual tuition $42,805 not including an additional $7,000 for books, supplies, field trips, etc., in case you're wondering.)  By the time my son and I are passing through, the drop-off is in full swing, and a phalanx of traffic coordinators guide a seemingly endless procession of SUVs with license plates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (not to mention a whole bunch of yellow schoolbuses) through a series of orange cones and eventually to the entrance where, eventually, parents discharge their little campers.

And of course the entire process repeats itself in the afternoon during our return trip home.

To their credit, the staff clearly puts a great deal of effort into managing all this traffic, and they're always very considerate of us as we pass, but even so riding through this shitshow of an obstacle course is a real pain in the ass.

Americans--even New Yorkers--have gotten used to the idea that driving kids absolutely everywhere is normal behavior.  However, when you ride a bike the scales fall from your eyes (or, if you prefer, the pie plate falls from your hub) and you see that a school run with the complexity of an airport drop-off is fucking insane.  And sure, call me smug, but it seems doubly insane to drive all the way from Connecticut or New Jersey (or Manhattan for that matter) and then spend 15 minutes idling in a drop-off line so a kid can kick a soccer ball around on a field in the Bronx.

Oh, sure, I realize it's typical of a smug cyclist to pass judgment on others' choices.  After all, I'm sure plenty of these parents have perfectly logical reasons for sending their kids to day camps out of state.  For example, it's probably on the way to their Manhattan offices, and once they've completed the dropoff they they likely head downtown and curse the bike lanes as they sit in traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway.  Also, like all cyclists I'm a giant hypocrite, because even though I'd rather chew my own foot off than drive my kids to school or camp on a regular basis I still pile them into THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK for all sorts of other stuff when the mood strikes me.  (I've got a trunk full of beach chairs and I'm not afraid to use them.)

Still, when you ride a bike around the neighborhood it's hard--really hard--to watch other parents subject themselves to this sort of thing and not wonder to yourself, "What the fuck are they doing???"  It's also hard not to meditate on the moronic choices people make because of cars, whether it's commuting to another city go grocery shopping (guilty), or driving into the city during rush hour, complaining about the traffic, and then complaining about the bike lanes used by the people who actually live there:


I've certainly never considered myself an environmentalist, and my inclination to ride bikes a lot of the time is motivated mostly by joy and impatience, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore the implications of the stupid decisions we make because we're dumb and lazy.  And it's not just or addiction to cars either.  Consider air conditioning:
Sure, it's easy to laugh at flip flops, the footwear of choice for fans of Jimmy Buffett.  At the same time, let's consider the fact that we squander an insane amount of energy in order to air condition basically the entire city so people who work in offices can dress like it's winter all summer long.  Incredibly, many people on this planet actually dress appropriately for the climate in which they live, and that includes wearing some form of sandal (which is what flip flops are) even in formal situations.  After all, as far showing your feet at work, if sandals are good enough for heads of state then who the hell are you to complain?


("I dare you to say some shit about my sandals.")

Yes, all over the planet entire countries go more or less barefoot, but you push some papers around at a legal firm so you shouldn't have to see some toes.

And sure, feet can be pretty damn funky, but this person should maybe get some help:

Thomas Beatty, 63, who retired from a job in hotels in Manhattan, had a much more colorful reaction to flip-flops in a professional setting.

“Never!” he said. “Disgusting, filthy, revolting, repellent, repulsive, sickening, nauseating, stomach-churning, stomach-turning, off-putting, unpalatable, distasteful, foul, nasty, vomitous.”

We're justifiably outraged when the Saudis arrest a woman for wearing a miniskirt, but we're aghast at the notion of someone exposing their little piggies.

(By the way, Thomas Beatty is totally a closet foot fetishist, and he's afraid if he catches a glimpse of some bunions he'll want to start "toe-jammin'.")

And while thinking flip flops are ugly, gross and noisy may seem innocent enough, it's really just another symptom of the same uptight attitude that keeps people from riding bikes places because "Eew, I'll get all sweaty."  Perhaps if we came to terms with the fact that wearing less shit keeps you cooler, and that a little sweating is normal, and that the economy won't collapse if both these things happen at work, then chances are we'd be free to make more rational decisions about how to get around.  (Not to mention dialing back on the AC a bit.)

Plus, I know a guy who used to wear flip flops to the office, and his name was Jesus:


See?


And when he comes back you'd better believe he'll be wearing Tevas and riding a Citi Bike:


You have been warned.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

First post. First win.

Bryan Bracy said...

Podium 2 DAYS

Bryan Bracy said...

oops, Day Cap

dancesonpedals said...

Pick the kid up at Day Cap, return home for a Night Cap.

Matt said...

Thankfully my dogs don't do summer camp. Actually pretty much everyday IS summer camp for them. When I'm reincarnated I want to come back as one of my dogs...they've got it made!

Drock said...

Sweet pic

leroy said...

What about black socks and sandals?

Asking for a friend with ankles that get sunburned easily.

Anonymous said...

FLIP FLOP
BIKE RIDE

janinedm said...

Since we're sharing stories about modern madness, I nearly lose my mind when any person without an AARP card takes an elevator down from the 3rd floor or lower without also carrying something large or a child or something. I live in a pre-war building with slow elevators and as I contemplate people in their prime standing there waiting for an elevator rather than taking 36 stairs DOWN I can only sputter.

Steely Danzig said...

Furthermore, the weather is quite nice this time of year, but millions of people are driving to health clubs to walk on treadmills or ride stationary bikes, etc. Somebody told me about a gym in his town that has an escalator.

Steely Danzig said...

Oh yeah, I would guess that those day camp kids all have last names for first names and their mothers are dropping them off and then driving to the gym, yoga, shopping and Starbucks, texting and talking on the phone while driving and cursing the cyclist who slow them down (if they notice them).

BamaPhred said...

Can I get an "Amen?"

dnk said...

Jesus is going to kick all of our fucking asses the moment he arrives on a cloud of marmalade for the second coming.

die free said...

flat tire today, just missed the top ten

bad boy of the south said...

Is that tuition for the day camp or school year?holy flip flops if it's either.

Anonymous said...

What about the "not toe clips" and gloves?

bad boy of the south said...

Never mind.i saw the error of my question.holy flip flops, anyway.

N/A said...

#whatflipflopsyourunning


Surfer Jesus wears Reef flops with the bottle opener on the sole.

crosspalms said...

I have neighbors who drive the half-block to the Walgreens. Because they own cars.

Grump said...

Flip flops should only be worn in locations where it's possible to step on a pop top (Which is nowhere in the 21st century)...As for sandals, they should only be worn by people with "acceptable looking" toes....(No toenail fungus allowed).....PS. Does anyone under 40 remember what a pop top is?????

Dave L. said...

I remember when Tevas became popular, we nicknamed them the Air Jesus.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Found Teva's on the clearance rack for $9.99, still couldn't bring myself to buy them.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I was JUST going to comment exactly this!

leroy said...

And by the way, not a tedious diatribe.

dancesonpedals said...

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that our Iranian colleagues just don't get three stooges references?

JLRB said...

But what does your 7 year old think of the traffic debacle?

Bluezurich said...

Straps and gloves? You promised

Dooth said...

“Never!” he said. “Disgusting, filthy, revolting, repellent, repulsive, sickening, nauseating, stomach-churning, stomach-turning, off-putting, unpalatable, distasteful, foul, nasty, vomitous.”
Thomas Beatty loves, loves, loves big ugly feet. He spreads toe jam on everything he eats.

Anonymous said...

I am one who thinks flip flops are disgusting and shouldn't be worn to work. Mostly because I hate listening to the sound of them peeling off of the bottom of your foot as people walk around in them. And the flapping and squishing.

In olden time flip flops were called thongs (and we wore onions on our belts etc.). Which led to the boomer ceo of my employer telling us not to wear thongs when we meet with customers and then not understanding why all of the millenial employees started laughing.

babble on said...

It's not just kids and school, either. Most modern city folk can't imagine getting anywhere without their beloved motor vehicles. Life sans car is incomprehensible. #brainwashedsheeple

And toes schmoes. The brainwashed masses think nothing of explicit violence anytime, anyplace, but the human body?? Heaven forfuckingbid. Teach people how to Make Love?? No WAY!! Sure, you can expose my teenage child to 50.000 graphic murders before he graduates, but you most certainly may not teach him how to pleasure a woman. That's just sick.

Fuckit. I'm moving to Norway.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

dnk? Marmalade? Am I missing something? I always figured the second cumming was that sweet little quickie at three am that finds you calling out to God for more.
Who has time to make toast?

dancesonpedals said...

When the weather cools down we can play toe jam football.


nyuk,nyuk,nyuk

Wesley Bellairs said...

So he can go to MOMA every 5 years and Broadway every 10, silly.

janinedm said...

If the suburbs are famous for anything, it's their walkability.

Unknown said...

People from New York and New England are morons when it comes to flip flops. I think it's their general resentment and jealousy against people that live somewhere where the weather is nice more than a few months out of the year.

Chazu said...

Snob,
It is good to see you back in your "Cultural Anthropologist" mode.

Babble,
I was fortunate to have an art teach who immigrated from Sweden when I was about 8 years old. She expressed very similar sentiments about her children with respect to violence and sex in the U.S. I intend to make the same point to my children.

Anonymous said...

I find flip flops to be pretty uncomfortable. also my feet a hideous, so that works out well.

Anonymous said...

NYC is not for all. but some of us actually love it. You couldn't pay me to live in the burbs. Did that growing up and it was pretty boring.

Steely Danzig said...

My biggest concern wearing flip flops is what one may step in and who may step on my feet. A big city with lots of feet and greasy, scummy puddles would not seem ideal. Also, I wouldn't wear them too much where one would have to use public restrooms.

David Henri said...

Jeeze Snob, what happened? You sound like your old self again. Bravo!

Hee Haw the Barista said...

FLIP FLOP

Amitoolate?

The King of Park Slope said...

Teva Mush flip flops ... footwear of the gods.

wishiwasmerckx said...

That Citibike rider in the last illustration should be wearing a helmet.

McFly said...

I've been from Tn to Dallas to Pheonix to Las Vegas to San Diego to LA to Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Lake Tahoe to Salt Lake City To Wyoming and now Colorado springs and people ride bikes everywhere out here. Bike lanes galore. It's amazing. Oh and I broke my collar bone June 28th but the misses said suck it up butter cup this trip is happening.

Anonymous said...

Chamois butt'r

Anonymous said...

Taint nuthin like it on yo scranus

dnk said...

Babble, I think the Holy Book is very specific about the cloud of marmalade. I don't know if it has anything to say about making toast.

Crosspalms said...

McFly, sorry to hear about your collarbone, but hope the trip is good, That's at least 7 places I've never been but hope to see someday!

Fixed Ation said...

I thought flip flops were ok on an urban track bike.

McFly said...

CP,
Titanium and 800 mg ibuprofen are the way to go. Me and the fam are in Colorado now and renting hard tails in the morning for a couple of hours at the Palmer Park trail.

BetterCommentsRUs said...

Could we perhaps desist with the "podium", "and read it" etc meaningless comments on this blog. It took me months to figure out what the hell everyone was talking about (at first I thought it was like "this was a podium-winning blog entry today"). Now that i really get what you're on about it's just boring and furthermore wastes data allowance on my smartphone. Tedy K's nonsense was more worthwhile. Please make way for all the informed and relevant comments from other readers (like this one). We don't care if you were the first or second or tenth to post a comment. Use the extra time to go ride somewhere. Please.

BetterCommentsRUs said...

An astute and erudite comment if ever I saw one. Hear hear!

Nich said...

He is already here!
https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8060/8220271207_11dcae9a2c.jpg

Anonymous said...

BCRUs, consider yourself lucky. Back in the day, regs would actually congratulate each other for podium wins. Those were unbelievably dark days.

bad boy of the south said...

Mcfly,sorry to hear about your injury.glad to see you are mending nicely.enjoy the trip.

Anonymous said...

BetterCommentsRUs ass tooting those comments.

janinedm said...

BCRUs, communities create customs. It's what they do. I'm personally not into the podium thing, but I realize it pre-dates me. It's less embarrassing than taking months to understand what it means...or admitting that you're terrible at shopping for data plans.

N/A said...

Janine: haha.


Better Comments: want a suggestion on the best way to conserve your data allowance?

dancesonpedals said...

I guess we're more psyched for podium sprints because there ain't no more centuries. I could increase my meaningless* comments so we could have half, metric & full century sprints, but I would have better comments data charges on my conscience. (not to mention the ghost of Ted K).


*any other kind?

N/A said...

All of my comments are meaningless, but I can churn 'em out if we've got some sort of quota to fill. I mean, what the hell else am I going to do during the day? I'm sitting at this desk anyway.

BamaPhred said...

So which one is St Sheldon? They're all wearing sandals!

BetterCommentsRUs said...

Janine, N/A et al, points taken and well said. Sorry, I was in a mood. It was half serious, half baiting (I win), and the other half attempt at humor. And Anonymous, if "ass tooting" is a good thing .. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like straight from Mr. Money Mustache!

Paul Heckbert said...

Snob: you've got a bad URL on that "complaining about the bike lanes" link. Try https://www.transalt.org/bike-forecast/2017/02/may-3rd-2017-those-darned-bike-lanes

#whatpressurejesusrunning

Anonymous said...

I know that this is a few days late but can I see a Bikesnob / Mr Money Mustache crossover in the near future? MMM is always banging on about the car clowns.

BillG

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