"How is it possible," you ask, "that this blogger can bitch and whine as much as he does about driving etiquette, rules for bicyclists and subway riders, and still jaywalk? Should he also be calling out himself, for breaking the rules of the road, for flagrantly ignoring the safety of himself and others? How can he possibly justify this critical judgement of others and still blatantly commute in a way that is frowned upon (and for good reason)??"
Because it's my blog. And the internet is a playground.
Yesterday, I was happily crossing Ditmars Blvd. mid-block. I didn't have headphones on, and I looked both ways multiple times before crossing. I recognize the hypocrisy of this, considering I am so judgemental of other people obeying the rules set out for them, and I break mine. I suppose one difference is that if a car or a bike doesn't stop at the red light designed for them, and they barrel into someone due to their own carelessness, someone could be seriously hurt. If *I* carelessly cross against the signal, and barrel into someone, the only repercussion *I* risk is embarrassing myself and mildly disappointing someone else. And that's pretty much the story of my life, so I think I'll manage.
But I digress...
So I was crossing Ditmars yesterday, and a car turned onto the Boulevard towards me. Once it righted itself from the turn, the guy gunned it, presumably to make it through the next light (or, perhaps to convey to me, "My car zooms fast!!"). I thought to myself, as I always do when this happens, "Jeez, where's the fire, Man?"
So I continued my saunter (I don't saunter. My version of sauntering is still faster than the normal walk.) down the Boulevard. A crosswalk or two later, I was halfway across the street when someone else turned onto the street I was crossing, apparently deciding there was enough room for their car to fit in between the parked car on the right and the random pedestrian in the middle of the street.
Whatever. She, just like the guy before, gunned the engine after righting herself from the turn, and hurried her little driving self towards 21st Ave.
And I thought to myself: How funny would it be if both drivers were in a rush to get to the same place? What if they were racing each other, or going to a concert with a very specific start time? My theory then became that they were going to an awesome party. Someone, somewhere, was throwing a party for all the drivers in Astoria. Clearly someone with a very long driveway or a parking lot. They invited all of the people who drive cars, and had free appetizers and an open bar until 7pm. As it turns out, I was walking at about 6:45, so, with this fantasy in mind, I could totally understand why someone would rush to take advantage of the last few free drinks before the bar starts charging.
As I strolled (I don't stroll. My version of strolling is still faster than the normal walk.), I took this even further. What if they, the two drivers who had each gone out of their way TO get too close to me, this man and this woman, were destined to meet? What if, by showing up at this party on time, near sunset, with alcohol and pigs-in-a-blanket a'plenty, these two were to look at each other from across the room and hold the gaze just long enough to smile slyly? What if, by the end of the evening, they ended up sitting in one or the other's car, talking about past loves, fate and the wealth of compassion? What if, after that night, they end up spending the rest of their lives together, having fallen so deeply in love, that life moves more slowly, more leisurely, and the need to press down hard on the gas pedal is eliminated?
The thought made me smile. But then it made me sad. I began to realize that I would never be invited to that kind of party. And I realized why: because I'm a snarky, hypocritical jaywalking blogger who would ultimately need to bum a ride off of somebody, anyway.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Children of all ages! This is the fight you've ALL been waiting for! Welcome to the BOUT OF THE CENTURY!
Our first contender, weighing in at 130 lbs without his skinny jeans and beard, bicycle advocate and sponsored by Gothamist, GRANOLA McHIPSTERSEN!!
And his opponent, weighing in at 165 lbs, and that's just his head, economist and Jaguar driver, sponsored by The New Yorker, JOHN CASSIDY!!
**DING! DING! DING!**
Holy cow, Ladies and Gentlemen! Cassidy has wasted NO time getting in a quick right hand jab to the face of McHipstersen. He seems to be saying something about bike lanes as he continues to circle and dodge. Cassidy is REALLY pumped for this fight! He's trash-talking McHipstersen so loudly, I wonder if we can't turn up the ring-mic to have a listen to what he's saying as he intimidates his opponent:
"...a constituency that pursues its agenda with about as much modesty and humor as the Jacobins pursued theirs, and which has found its heroine in transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, I say hats off to Iris Weinshall, the former transportation commissioner, who, together with some like-minded citizens, has filed a lawsuit..."Folks, this is an epic battle between two supremely good competitors. Cassidy looks like he might get in another couple of punches just before the bell-- And there they are! A quick one two in the final seconds of this round have left McHipstersen reeling in a daze as they retire to their respective corners!
**DING! DING! DING!**
Ladies and Gentlemen, we sure hope McHipstersen received some good guidance during that round break, because he really looked weakened out there in Round 1. Our fighters are meeting in the center of the ring, sizing each other up for what is sure to be a penalizing Round 2. McHipstersen is riled up, Folks! He's shouting in the face of Cassidy! Let's see if we can't get a listen:
"...let's take his allegation of humorlessness at face value and point out that if cyclists are sometimes overly serious, it's because the consequences of bicycling in NYC can be so deadly. You may be yucking it up in his bloody Jaguar listening to Larry the Cable Guy..."Wow! You just don't hear that kind of talk during such a high-profile fight! To think these two used to co-exist on the same planet! Now look at them! McHipstersen is really going at Cassidy with a series of rights and lefts to the ribcage.
From the sound of this crowd, McHipstersen has a lot of fans here in New York he does NOT want to let down! Many of these people are holding up signs, proving their solid allegiance to McHipstersen. We'll see if we can't get some closeups of some of these comments written by McHipstersen fans during the round break.
**DING! DING! DING!**
(End of Round 2)
Folks, we have just a minute here to show those of you in our television audience what some of McHipstersen's loyal fanbase has been saying:
"People in New York City don't need cars, jack ass."**DING! DING! DING!**
"I prefer 'Jagoff' Cassidy."
"The average American car size is directly related to average American ass width."
Folks, thanks for joining us for this historic, winner-take-all matchup between two of the country's loudest voices. Round 3 has begun, and we're sure it's going to be a doozy!
Cassidy and McHipstersen have advanced to the center of the ring, and both combatants look angry enough to eat their opponent for breakfast! This fight has become about so much more than just bikes vs. cars, my friends! It's about young vs. old, upstarts vs. the Establishment, e-media vs. print! As both men stare each other down and continue to try to psych each other out with their comments, it looks like this may come to a head very, very soon!
Wait a minute! What's that? Folks, someone, perhaps a fan, has just gotten past ringside security and has jumped INTO the ring! It looks like-- Is that-- Yes, folks, it appears he is carrying a baseball bat! This crazed fan appears to be wearing a t-shirt that says, "Walk/Don't Walk" on one the front, and an NYC subway map on the back. Wow! This "Walker" has just pummeled John Cassidy into a fetal position with his bat! He appears to be screaming about the Manhattan Elite and how Cassidy shouldn't be referring to cars as "contraptions" because this is no longer the 19th century.
Where is security? Why haven't they put an end to this bloodbath? Cassidy is lying motionless on the mat, Ladies and Gents, and "The Walker" seems to have turned his attention to Granola McHipstersen. McHipstersen looks up from rolling his own cigarette just in time to take a bat to the jaw! He's out cold!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't know when such a respectable sport such as boxing became so debased as to allow armed pedestrians into the ring in the middle of a fight, but this is insane! Why is no one stopping him? The crowd is stunned, Folks. All action has come to a complete stop as- wait- could it be? Yes! Folks, the referee has started counting! He's counting down on both Cassidy AND McHipstersen! The crowd has started counting along with him!
...FIVE! SIX! SEVEN! EIGHT! NINE! TEN!!!
**DING! DING! DING!**
Folks, the fight is over! What started as an epic battle of bikes vs. cars has become reminiscent of a professional wrestling match! The crowd is going wild! The sheer decibel level here in the arena is really difficult to describe. They have all started chanting in unison, "Wal-Ker! Wal-Ker! Wal-Ker!"
Folks, the ref has raised both hands of "The Walker" in triumph! He is strutting around the ring, sometimes even stepping ON Cassidy and McHipstersen. The referee seems to have taken OFF his striped shirt and put on an MTA jacket! In response, the crowd seems to be celebrating WITH the ref, chanting, "Sub-way! Sub-Way! Sub-Way!"
I don't think I've ever seen anything like this. It appears as though "The Walker" has something to say to his two impromptu opponents. Folks, he's reaching for the announcer's mic! Let's hear what he has to say:
"You're both assholes. Cassidy, you schmuck, use your turning signals and turn on your lights in the rain. McHipstersen, you want bikers to have the same rights as cars? Start obeying their rules; stop at red lights and stop signs, stay off the sidewalks, and signal when you're about to turn. You guys make me sick. What exactly were you fighting for tonight? Huh? Who's the biggest douche? Well I have an answer: it's a tie. And I own you both. Dipshits."
It didn't take me long to blow up something in the kitchen after my fiancé left for California for the weekend. Really. Like, 10 minutes? Maybe?
I woke up at 4:30am to see her off to the airport. After she left, I figured I'd make something in the oven and go to bed after it was cooked so it would be nice and cool upon waking.
The instructions were simple: 425° for 15 minutes, 325° for 45 minutes and then 10-minute increments if it's still not baked all the way through. So I used the timer on the microwave to cook the first 15 minutes, used the timer on the microwave to cook for the next 45, and then accidentally used the "Cook" feature of the microwave for an additional 10.
The microwave did not like this. Not one bit.
For awhile there, about 7 minutes, it was a real sport. It woefully cooked nothing but it's own insides, whirring along in such a manner so as not to arouse any suspicion from me in the other room. But then, I guess it had decided it had enough of this tomfoolery. "Screw this guy! I've been heating up delicious food for him day in and day out for a number of years, and THIS is how he decides to repay me? By nuking my own GUTS?! Well. Not one more second. I'm going on STRIKE!"
So when I realized I hadn't heard the beep for some time, I went in and noticed it had refused to work. No clock, no light, nothing. At first, I was thought I'd blown a fuse, but eveything else plugged into that power strip worked fine.
So that's the setting of my adventure:
Can you buy a microwave at RadioShack? No. CVS? No. Rite-Aid? Not even a little. While it's not something you often think about, there aren't THAT many places one CAN buy a new microwave. I learned this brutal truth at about 6:30am that morning.
Luckily, Google came through for me and reminded me that, if I took a short bus trip down Steinway, I could stop at P.C. Richards and get one. This is what I decided to do. I hadn't wanted to leave the house the entire weekend, but I had plans to make an entire crockpot full of 3-Meat Chili to last me through the fiancé-less weekend, and thawing two of the three meats rendered a microwave a necessity.
Not being too accustomed to the NYC bus system, I checked the schedule of the Q101 that runs down Steinway. The following is a minute-by-minute play-by-play of what happened after I put on some jeans and a shirt (and watched WALL-E to kill time before P.C. Richards opened):
Bus scheduled to come at approx. 10:07am. I leave the apartment at 10am sharp.
Bus arrives on the corner of Steinway and 23rd Ave right on time.
I exit in front of P.C. Richards at 10:17am.
I pick out a slightly different microwave than the one we've been using for years, and let the salesman talk to me about the problems with the media and how ATMs from different banks charge you a fee if you're not a member of that particular bank. I think he may have been mildly retarded.
Either the 10:18 was late, or the 10:48 early, because I walked out of the store with a 30-lb microwave in my hands and sprinted a half-block to catch the bus that was coming.
(On the bus ride back, there was an automated voice on the system that wasn't there on the earlier trip. It advised, "Please use the rear door to exit." There was a guy who got off earlier than me who had yelled, "Back door!" at his stop, so I assumed the rear door did not automatically open, but one had to request it. Maybe to save heat? I don't know. When I got to my stop, I heeded the advice of robot-lady on the loud speaker and stood by the back door. Which didn't open. So I did what the guy before me did. "Back door!" I yelled. The driver gor snarky and was like, "You have to push it!" To which I replied, "I have a big box! A little help, Bro?" He opened the door and was yelling something at me as I exited. I assume he thought when I yelled "Back Door" he thought I was claiming dibs on his own personal *ahem!* 'rear exit', and was less-than-enthusiastic about the possibility. I didn't mind, though, because...)
At 10:45 I was home and had a new microwave hooked up.
45 minutes for the entire trek. This is an EPIC win.
So while I don't yet have any pointers outlined for the MTA bus system, I would like to thank them for being accurate enough that I could make a delicious batch of 3-Meat Chili for the weekend and therefore my fiancé was able to focus her disgust on that as opposed to the daunting task of having to learn a slightly-different microwave.