Sunday, September 14, 2008

I wrote a little thing last night...


If streets are pathways, then gridlock is futility, slowly crawling arteries grown thick and stupid in the excess of the 21st Century. Bikes are an anomaly, a vehicle of flight so fast when compared to the pace of life, yet pushed forward by nothing more than human might. In a car, a person can be faster, but artificially. Speed is augmented by capital: how much oil can you buy? How much horsepower can be constructed for you, by a million composite parts you have no understanding or appreciation of?

These bikes fly through the mire, past inhibited middleclassers drunk and rageous on the failures of their generation: the failure to find peace in the world, and contentment in their lives. They rush, to crowded concerts and football games, looking in vain for a feminine sense of community, but ultimately finding only a blood-fueled crowd looking for something to stick its dick into.

These are not our people, and they let us know. A thousand horns, swerves, curses, spit; all come in our direction. We suffer lightly, under an invisible shield of our speed and own knowledge: That we, mere mortals, are alive and ageless, in a time where life is plasticised from birth.

The car immediately behind me starts to wail. Its horn unceasing, a shrill cry of irritation. The veins of traffic sit still. I slow down to nothing, trackstanding. A soft bump: The hood has found my rear wheel. A boundary has been crossed.

What happened next is foolishness, what happens next is a petty reaction: I reach down, and bend that licence plate, pressured by the noise and the hordes of bikers around me. Nothing is changed. We fade away ahead, to briefly bear the pathetic assaults of a few more boxed in cages.

But were I to change that moment, with 40 cyclists around me, as fragile as children, as fragile as these coddled and frightened people in cars, I imagine the air would have stood still.

"Where are you going to go?"

I would say over the silence, to the antagonist behind glass.

My voice would be tender. I have no anger towards this threatened creature.

Bikers would turn, surrounding the car, and still the traffic would be blocked.

"This problem doesn't exist between you and me. Our anger doesn't belong to eachother. It belongs to everything that makes us smaller than we really are. You sit, behind thousands of pounds to metal, metal which you claim to own and control, but the sweat on your brow and the rising of your pulse assures me that you are but a little man caught up in a world faster and meaner and more careless than you care to reconcile. You're no more in control of that car, than I am of the hate and frustration that makes me lash out against my fellow man. It's bigger than us."

He wouldn't listen. I wouldn't have the faith in him to listen. The engine would rev, but still the lanes of traffic stand silent, in vigil to our petty rage.

"You aren't acting the man you are, you aren't acting as the human you could be. You're stuck, weak, and powerless. Powerless in your infinite potential to harm and wreck beyond you means. I held the trembling head of one of you drivers in my hands last night, slashed in glass, trembling in shock. She was 16. Her car rolled. I was first on the scene. Her blood is on my leg and gloves and in my culture's collective mind.

Who are we? What are we? Like you, we're faster than life, faster then time, but unlike you, we're still behind the wheel. We're Gods in a terrible time of mechanized fury, and together we grow, and shout, and revel, and grin, and aspire, and push forward against this insanity. And oh, we have might, but we are fragile. Strength, and and yet we are compassionate. We love everything, and are shocked by the rage that threatens us."

"Where are you going to go?" I'd say, gesturing to the cars in front of me.

"Where are you going to go?" gesturing to all the other bikers.

Where are you going to go?" we'd all say, Tony and Will and Casey and Sam and Win and a hundred others who know no justice and know no sense but who know to ride and to ride well and fast and with a pure and excited heart is one of the countless brave joys afforded to us as loving passionate youth and god dammit we're going to do it as long as we have the legs to spirit us forward.

The horn has been sounding this whole time, beneath the fervour of our collective thoughts. It's weakened, bleating argument finally dies away, and we are left with our own words:






k said...

beautiful davey.

~kitticus~ said...

When I started to leave this comment, I had a million thoughts swimming through my mind. As I began typing, those thoughts collided into a mass and left me feeling one thing. Elation. This unbridled joy that we as cyclists experience every single day is one that can never be tamed. I could not have said it more eloquently Davey. Very well done. I felt speechless, moved, powerful, enraged, and calm all at the same time. That is truly a sign of a powerful experience. I only wish I had been there to witness the experience spoken through your own passion...

psychenaut said...

My only response... he knew:


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