… please stop asking me so many questions. Please stop asking me if I want the meal deal. Or a large drink to go along with that. Or a car wash with my gas fill up. Please stop asking me if I would like another transaction or my card back. Or a pastry to go along with my coffee. Or if I would like, for a limited time, to try your product out before you start charging my credit card a billion dollars a month … which reminds me, please stop asking me if I’d like a billion credit cards with a billion dollar spending limit. Don’t get me wrong, choice is great and I couldn’t be happier that an hour ago I was able to choose between more than 100 types of shampoos and conditioners and shampoo/conditioners at the drug store, but my dearest world, you’ve got to believe in me. You’ve got to believe that I can make my own choices without you always nudging me along. I realize I probably shoulda done the laundry a couple days ago, but really, I’m almost all grown up now and if I want a large drink instead of the medium sized one (when did we do away with small?), I will tell you so. Promise. Boy scouts honor.
In Friday’s CSM there was a piece by Debra Bruno on road rage. It was pretty great. She says:
So I developed – and, up until very recently, maintained – the habit of challenging these rule-breakers. If I were walking, I’d blithely step out in front of a car that was supposed to stop at a stop sign, even if the driver was gunning it along at 50 mph and seem to be poised for only a light tap on the breaks.
I’m so happy to find another Kamikaze pedestrian. Yesterday I was driving my sister and one of her friends around (like I always seem to be doing these days) when friend says, “bicyclists, like totally scare me. They like, aren’t afraid when they’re riding.”
I was too tired after yesterday’s race to be my sarcastic self, but what I normally woulda said is that even though we put on our face of we own the road, we’re really scared shitless because people no longer drive, but rather press down on the gas pedal while talking on their cell phone, doing their make up, shaving, eating burritos, and drinking lattes. And magically they arrive home and to work and to the grocery station while us bicyclists … the ones reducing traffic and pollution … are swerving back and forth in a sick game of survival which “drivers” don’t even notice.
Of course, in Mexico it’s worse. Not because of the burritos – they don’t have those down there, but because south of the border, driving is a demonstration of Darwinism and nothing more. The bigger your vehicle, the bigger your right of way. Like my new friend Debra, I would recklessly walk in front of cars at cross walks and stop lights. There is no such thing as the pedestrian right of way in Mexico, but – call me an imperialist – it’s one aspect of American culture I’d be happy to import. Laura hated it and, though the cars always stopped (mostly screeching their breaks, which is actually a pretty common thing), I’d end up with a bruise on my arm for scaring her and being stupid. ‘We’re not in San Diego,’ she’d always remind me like it was supposed to make me feel uncool. Anyway, I was thinking we could start a meetup group or a Flickr pool or whatever people do these days to encourage more people to walk in front of cars.
Oh! Let me tell you about another fun thing I like to do in Monterrey. You know how in the U.S. you use your blinker when you want to switch lanes? Well, in Mexico, you use it when you want the person behind you in the next lane over to speed up. It took me a while to understand this. The first month was a tumor-inducing nightmare of, A chinga, que haces hijo de puta!!!!!! (really, driving in Mexico is so much more fun) But then I realized my mistake. Blinkers are not to be used.
When I started feeling spunky on the roads … and this was pretty often … I’d check out my mirrors for someone with high blood pressure coming up in the lane next to me. Then, when they were still quite a ways behind me – like 150 feet – I’d turn my blinker on and watch them accelerate quickly as I’m sure they’re thinking, no way is this gringo sunuvabitch driving an Atos gonna get in my lane and then when they were only about 25 feet back, i’d slowly glide into their lane and make them hit the breaks. This was endless fun for me on my way to work.
So, I’ve got an idea for a documentary. You know how when you go to urban outfitters (what, me, I don’t go there), they have all those hipster documentaries about break dancing and grafitti and 80’s rap and rural midwestern backyard WWF? Well, I’ve got such a good idea for a new subculture documentary – the dudes who spin signs around on corners trying to get you to go to some business or some new housing development. Maybe this is a SoCal thing, but these kids are wild. There’s something going on here that I really need to understand. Today I was picking my sister up when we saw some kid jamming to his iPod and pulling some pretty amazing tricks with his “visit this gigantic developer’s new housing project which just drove 3 species to extinction” ad sign that I had never seen before. Between the legs, reverse spins, over the back left-to-right magic. He was no amature.
I mean, are there conferences they go to? Instructional videos? Secret societies? I want to document it all. You’re either with me or against me.