Occasionally I encounter a situation about which I'd like to blog, but then I realize I've already done so. This is a reprint from my old blog:
When I was a kid I was raised for a couple of years in France. The US military was still stationed in France when I was nine years old. I attended a French school. (Murmurs of, 'that explains a lot.') Like most kids, I had a bike. Unlike most American kids I fetched warm baguettes from the boulangerie on my bike.
I rode all around my little town of Fouras on a narrow-seat, goose-neck handlebar ten-speed bike at a time when the only bike most Americans had ever seen was a chrome, steel, cast iron and chiseled granite Schwinn that weighed only slightly less than a Buick. I loved my bike. Rode it everywhere. And in the whole time I rode that I bike, I never once used it as an excuse to show by nutsack to strangers.
Things have changed when it comes to bikes. Used to be that kids rode bikes. There was no politics involved. No one was making a statement. And, amazing as it now seems, we managed to carry out our two-wheeling activity without donning a special costume that displayed our scrawny legs, padded our asses till we looked like refugees from the bustle era, and elevated, outlined, positioned and displayed our fucking genitals.
"Hi, I'm a cyclist, please enjoy two quail eggs and a Vienna sausage nestled in Spandex."
Had we seen anyone doing that when I was a kid, especially an adult, we would have beaten the shit out of him. Yes, nine year old kids, even French nine year old kids, would have known that an adult man peddling feverishly around on a children's toy while dressed in skin-tight shorts stuffed with neoprene butt-enhancements, and with his package laid out like a pair of fucking cream puffs and a party-sized eclair on display in the window of a goddamn patisserie, was someone who not only could have the merde beaten out of him by children, but deserved, indeed, demanded to have it done.
"Hello, I'm a cyclist, please enjoy the view of my comfort-padded ass as we creep along at a speed normally reserved for rolling through stop signs."
But ah, I guess those innocent days are gone now. Nowadays the kids don't ride bikes, the adults do. Why? Why do grown-ups ride bikes? For two reasons: one, because it's wonderfully healthy. Yes, there are few healthier activities than riding around atop an unstable fifteen pound toy at twenty miles an hour while sharing a two-lane road with a steady stream of four thousand pound cars doing sixty. What could be healthier than that?
The second compelling reason for adults -- many of whom do in fact own cars -- to ride a bike is to offer a reproach to those of us who, selfish bastards that we are, insist on raping the land, using up all our limited natural resources, polluting cough cough hack hack the air, and frankly stabbing Mother Earth straight in the fucking eyeball with a red hot crankshaft when we could, instead, pedal around dressed like fruits trailing a heady aroma of sanctimony and exhibitionism.
Yes, cycling has everything going for it. It's expensive, pointless, suicidal, ridiculous, undignified, and allows the rider to be a complete jackass and feel not only pretty darned good about it, but to actually hold in contempt the grown-ups who, understanding something of the laws of physics, conclude that in an environment where everyone else is driving a fucking tank maybe wobbling around with your padded ass in the air and a piece of styrofoam on your fucking head is pretty fucking stupid.
Unless, of course, you want to die. Which would be perfectly fine with me but for two problems: one, it is considered, for reasons that defy logic, illegal to run down some spindly little shit who is doing ten miles an hour up a fucking incline and swerving back and forth like a drunk so that you cannot pass. You are forced by Mr. fucking Petie Power Bar, to sit there, keeping pace, unable to do anything more than perhaps shift into neutral and gun the fucking engine so he thinks you're running him down and screams and panics and runs his lighting-bolt festooned plastic helmet into a speed limit sign. Anything more than that is actually considered illegal. (Except in Wyoming, where it's encouraged.)
The other reason you can't play the Ten-Points-Per-Cyclist game is that although cyclist and cycle taken together weigh less than your car's battery, the differential in speed is so great -- twelve mph vs. whatever the speed limit is plus 15 mph or so -- that the impact of fine German chrome on butt-flesh, carbon fiber, Spandex, sports drink, coffee-cup-helmet and a full load of righteousness, can do serious damage to your grill.
I can stand a lot, I don't have a particularly weak stomach, but I don't want to have to be hosing some guy's balls out of my three-pointed star.
Some time back, in a sincere effort to be constructive, I implored people to follow this simple guideline as they moved through life: Am I In Michael's Way? AIIMW? If you follow that simple rule, you may not be happy, you may not have a good life, but you won't have some red-faced bald guy screaming obscenities at you, and that, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.
Now, I must add a second rule for you to consider: IMAIMF? Is My Ass In Michael's Face? Because if you insist on riding a bike, going an eighth of the fucking speed limit and a tenth of my speed, and force me to look at your padded ass the whole time, you had better damned well be showing camel toe on the other side and not a pair of marbles and a goddamned button mushroom. You don't want to be in my fucking way and inducing homosexual panic simultaneously, that's all I'm saying.
I mean, Jesus, show some fucking consideration.