Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Colonizing the Last Banana

The weather has finally turned uncomfortably warm, and we don't have AC in our kitchen. I've gotten a bit careless about the zero-crumb policy of New York living: More than zero crumbs or sticky patches of evaporated juice on the counter will breed cockroaches and mice in your very own kitchen.

The last banana in the house was sitting on the shelf, and I was looking forward to making myself a fruit smoothie. When I went to claim it, I found that someone had already discovered the banana. There was a large chomp taken out of the side, complete with little mice teeth marks, and an army of drunken fruit flies hovering lazily around the fermenting exposed fruit. The fruit flies had also taken a liking to the mouse poo stuck to things all around the banana. And I dunno. That puddle of liquid under it? A by-product of fruit fly colonization...or mouse pee?

Back In The Saddle. The closest F train stop is a 12 minute walk from my apartment, when going at a brisk pace. Last night I strolled to the station, and then discovered that I had forgotten everything I needed to get on the train: my Metrocard and my money. I actually considered panhandling for the $2 train fare, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I haven't lived in New York long enough, I guess.

So I trekked for 12 minutes back to my house, my eyes, nose and mouth collapsed into a dark, disgruntled, cursing mass. I decided that I would not waste another 12 minutes on the stupidity of my current situation, so I got on my bike and rode back to the station. It took about 3 minutes, and my soul scoffed defiantly at Karma, who rolled her eyes and plotted her next infuriation with my name on it.

New York has taken steps like a caveman towards becoming a more bike-friendly city, but still the only way you can take your bike (or stroller, or wheelchair) onto a train is to go through the emergency gate, which sets off a piercing alarm that is gleefully amplified by the natural echo chambers of the New York subway system. At this particular stop, there aren't even any turnstiles that you can carry your bike through--which is illegal anyway. There are only those revolving bars that would never fly in Texas because everyone is too fat to go through. And a bike won't go through, either.

So what you have to do is:

1. Leave your bike by the emergency gate
2. Scan your Metrocard for the revolving bars
3. Enter through the revolving bars
4. Run to the emergency gate
5. Push the bar that sets off the alarm and opens the gate
6. Look around frantically for your bike, which may or may not have been stolen by now

There should be an accompanying diagram for this complex process.

Anyway, a kind man offered to hold my bike for me while I went through the revolving bars. All sorts of images came to mind while I let him hold my bike against my better judgment. I just know he's going to make off with the bike. I just know it. He's throwing his leg over the seat now. There he goes. Pedal pedal pedal.

He didn't steal my bike. He didn't even try. Isn't that nice?

It turned out to be one of those nights on the subway. You know: the Manhattan-bound F train was running on the A track after Jay Street. What? How is that even possible? They announce it at the Jay Street station and you have to make a split-second decision about whether to get off the F, which is now the A, and wait for a real F, or stay on the F, even though it's an A, because you don't know where else you'd find an F. Since I had my bike, I decided to stay on. I could ride my bike from wherever the F-ing A train dumped me.

Biking in Manhattan only reinforces all my sweeping assumptions about New Yorkers. No one could care less about anyone else. Life is all about yelling at people for how they've annoyed you. Somehow I arrived at my destination in one piece, insane, sweaty, and grinding my teeth into little nubs.

I think it would be so worth it to conquer the world just so I could pass a law saying that cars aren't allowed on this planet and everyone rides bikes.


Floyd B said...

"I just know he's going to make off with the bike. I just know it. He's throwing his leg over the seat now. There he goes. Pedal pedal pedal."

Ummmm, excuse me? I believe it is "beddle, beddle, beddle"? And apparently he decided to be "lazy" so he just had to "stay."

steph said...

ha! i know that puddle of liquid under the bananer. it's not mouse pee, thankfully. just ripe naner giz. i had a mouse infestation one spring, 2 years ago, totally randomly after having had none for the first 2 years living in this apt. they drove me nuts for 6 weeks until one day i came home and actually SAW one of the little f'ers scampering back under the fridge. at which point i went ape sh!t and got a whole bunch of mouse traps (the good old-fashioned slap n'snap kind), killed 1-2 a day, was immune to them by the end, just picking them up with my bare hands and flushing them, and bought a ton of that steel wire meshy stuff and plugged the scary and gimungo black hole i discovered beneath my kitchen sink.

as for biking, i biked like a maniac all over this city this summer, and man is that some scary stuff! talk about flirting with death! i became one of those agro bikers who yells "watch out you mother f'er!!!" at every driver and sometimes the clueless pedestrians too. bike lanes, man. i'm with ya.