Monday, November 1, 2010

Heavy Sigh: Stupid Holes & Other Essays

I hope you all had a more pleasant Hallowe'en weekend than I did.  I spent the weekend recovering from Friday's toilet-induced head injury.  The ER staff were kind enough to co-wrap my injuries with advanced carbon-based fibre technology, and even complimented the manner in which my bulbous head acted as an effective mold to optimize the coverage of the wrapping.  Unfortunately, when I stepped out from the ER onto the street, children shrieked, grabbed their parents by the hand, and fled, crying "Have you no shame?!  Think of the adults!!" as they ran.

I gave thought to lurking in the shadows till dark and then fleeing home, but decided against this strategy ...mainly because the darkness makes me pee my pants.  It's scary.  So, I quietly shuffled home, hid in my hovel, and passed the weekend by carefully licking the dirt off my bike (I eschew poisonous, corporate bike cleaners in favour of more earth-friendly methods).

With the weekend over and my head wound healed, I kitted up this morning for the daily commute to my place of drudgery and set out.  Shortly after setting out, I felt uneasy and disconcerted about the coming ride and I soon found the cause of my anxiety: I'd set out a little later than usual and was riding into the white-capped crest of the wave of morning cycling commuters and I feared to witness the formation of another Stupid Hole, a blackhole-like sucking vortex generated by the convergence of multiple strands of stupidity, drawing them in closer to the point of collision, unless a rare moment of good sense deflects their trajectories.

My unease was justified shortly thereafter.  I'd heardtell of epic shoals but I'd ne'er heretofore seen one.  As I waited at a stop light like a dullard, a budget athlete swooped around from my left, mounted the sidewalk, and began orbiting a nucleus of compressed stupidity as he waited for the light to change.

Not once, nor twice, but thrice did he circle around on the sidewalk.
I watched this performance in gobsmacked awe, but regained mental clarity when my subconscious fault-finder bade me to survey what sort of sophisticated foot retention system drove this persecuted man to circle endlessly at intersections rather than succumb to the horrors of putting a foot down: plastic platform pedals and generic sneakers.  I sighed so heavily that Simon Cowell was moved to compassion by my expression of suffering.

When the light turned, the budget athlete took off at a mad cadence, furiously leveraging his downtube friction shifters to coax another meager few gear inches from his battered Suntour drive train.  I calmly followed behind and suckled his wheel out of mild curiosity, and watched with much mirth as he glared back at me with annoyance for drafting.  Pulling up to another red light, I stopped, unclipped and put a foot down on the curb, and settled down to watch the delicate ballet anew.

Self-conscious from my chuckling, he eventually stopped and put a foot down...

Unfortunately, the fool and I were soon parted, and I passed a few blocks playing a pleasant game of leap-frog with a gravel-laden dump truck, until an impatient imbecile on two wheels began salmoning toward me rather than wait for a gap in traffic like a normal person.  Hearing the dump truck coming up behind me, sensing the lack of space available to me, and glancing a head at the jackass still riding right at me, I paused and thought, "Thank you, Urban Repair Squad, for enabling this person to ride a bicycle.  Your innovative contra-flow infrastructure is truly increasing safety for all."

I watched with much amusement (and mild concern) as this wretched imbecile, rather than pulling over and stopping to allow me to go by, actually moved out into the path of the dump truck to go around me as though they were drawn to it by the suction of some swirling Stupid Hole underneath its wheels.  Hearing the sudden application of air brakes and watching the slow swerve of the dump truck over my shoulder, I reflected with dismay that Toronto cyclists had just lost another small skirmish in the overall push for progress with their jackass behaviour.

The phrase 'Epic Fail' ain't over till it's over ...and after this morning, it ain't over.

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