Don’t stop me now

It’s good to be back in New York, although the sweltering heat and humid atmosphere means that I have as much desire to be outside as an agoraphobic slug who has been told that the only way for him to get back inside his garden shed is to slither through an industrial-size outdoor salt store.

The heat does nothing for people’s temper as they make their way around the city. Simple missions such as walking up the stairs from the subway to the exit are turned into Indiana Jones-style fights to the finish, as sweat-soaked crazies kick and punch their way to the top. And that’s just the women.

Earlier today, I saw a cyclist who had clearly determined that the worst possible thing that he could do in this weather would be to stand still. Of course, given the number of pedestrians and traffic lights in the city, that’s pretty much an impossible task. Not unless you take your life into your own hands.

Or in this case, take a whistle into your mouth.

Paying no particular heed for traffic lights, and a healthy disregard for the public, this cyclist simply put a small silver whistle between his lips, blasted out as shrill a note as he could possibly manage, and trusted in his ability to put the pedal to the metal to do the rest. I watched him for about a block and a half as he peeped and parped his way across the city at high speed to avoid slowing down, unsuspecting pedestrians scattering in his path as he frightened the living bejeesus out of anyone within a twenty yard radius.

And you wonder why some people accuse New Yorkers of impatience?

Unless I’m doing him a disservice. Perhaps he had a medical emergency, or he’d realised that he’d left the oven on? Or maybe he had Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in his panniers, and he was having to keep up a constant 50mph for fear of untold damage to his spokes and handlebars?

With New York, you just never know.

5 thoughts on “Don’t stop me now

  1. Sarah

    LOL at the madness of NYC, rather you than me Dylan! Mind you I wouldn’t say no the odd shopping day now and then – whistling cyclists et al 😉

  2. Br00klyn

    The streets of New York used to be a battlefield between pedestrians and motorists. Now it’s a three way fight including bicyclists. If the Segway ever satisfies its original hype, the battle will make the Roman Coliseum on game day look like a lawn bowling match.

  3. Expat Mum

    Oh yuck! I’ve been complaining about the monsoon-ness of Chicago, then I remembered that it’s usually much hotter and steamier. At least you’re not dealing with giant mosquitoes, or are you?

  4. Brooklyn

    BTW: I thought NYC was bad, am I’m old enough to have ridden non-airconditoned subways. But one August visit to DC taught me what heat and humidity was. I swear, leaving an air conditioned car or home was like breathing through a hot towel.

  5. LolaBloom

    My mom actually worked as a bicycle messenger in NYC in the late 60’s/early 70’s. From her stories, bicyclists were definitely on the defensive in those days and working their way around cars/pedestrians when able. It certainly appears they are moving toward a more brazen offensive manner of making their way through the crowded city streets!

    Here in the Seattle area, there’s been a massive increase in bicyclists everywhere, and drivers here aren’t at all used to them (and their unpredictable maneuvers – since they apparently make up their own rules on the road as if they automatically get the right of way) so I imagine shrill whistles could be in our future as well.

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