I ride my bicycle around New York a lot. It is often faster than any other form of transportation and always more fun, plus it makes me feel a lot better about the fact that I don’t get any exercise, primarily because it’s, you know, exercise.
On Monday, I went to see Paprika, which was simultaneously excellent and bizarre beyond explanation. I rode my bike to the theater, which is stupid for several reasons: it was 85°F that day; I rode into Manhattan at midday; and I had to leave my bike chained up outside for a few hours. Nevertheless, I persevered. And my bike didn’t get stolen.
After the movie finished, which left me riding home in the middle of rush hour, I pedaled off down 2nd Avenue. When the city planners deign to put a bike lane on a one-way street (which they did in this case), that lane is on the left. I was riding on the right because I had a right turn upcoming, and not even a New York City cab driver would be crazy enough to take a right turn from the left lane. Wait, yes, he would.
This one, however, committed a far more egregious sin. Cabbies often cut me off to make turns or perform a passenger pickup or dropoff. This is normal behavior, but one could say that familiarity breeds contempt, because cab drivers are my enemies. However, this particular cabbie did more than just cut me off. He did it on purpose, for no greater reason. He cut me off for its own sake.
I pulled around him, yelling “Thanks!” (sarcastically, duh) at him as I rolled by. He pulled out, or tried to at any rate, but I was taking too much of the lane for him to get out until I passed. For vengeance, you know.
He finally got around me and yelled, “Why do you think they put the bike lanes on the left?” I have a sneaking suspicion that my response (“To protect us [cyclists] from cabbies, motherfucker!”) may have angered him, because he immediately cut me off again. I rolled past, again. He responded with, “My name’s not motherfucker. I’ll run you down!”
Now, the obvious response to that is to get away from the crazy man quickly. Which, thanks for a confluence of my self-preservation instincts and friendly traffic lights that made him stop while I kept going, I did. Still, I think it’s needless to say that within a few blocks I had come up with several to many witty comebacks to his defense/threat. The lesser of these involved either some form of violence against his car or insult to his manhood vis-à-vis threatening a cyclist with a car (obviously, the car would win. Thank you for your kind explanation, sir). However, the cleverer, and meaner, and more likely to result in my not getting hired by any potential employer that discovers this blog, were thus:
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t read your name card, Mr. Shithead.”
“Oh, right, I was the one fucking your mother.”
The moral of this story is that cab drivers have finally come out into the open with their previously barely-concealed desire to kill me. Which isn’t really a “moral” so much as maybe a “theme” or an “observation” or something. But I didn’t study literature at college, so I don’t really know. Anyway, the point is that they are more like Travis Bickle than I can be comfortable with.