Thursday, April 13, 2006

Biker to Spidey: Stop Dead!

Times Square. Broadway. Rush hour.

Navigating my way south between cars, trucks, buses, horses, pedi-cabs, and pedi-people today, I was lit up on that cocktail of adrenalin and hyper-awareness Manhattan requires of all its cyclists. The bike lane was great, but it disappears where Broadway meets Seventh Ave., so I tried hewing to the right for clearer passage. The closer you get to the curb, however, the more pedestrians you find blocking the roadway. This poses a variety of hazards. I used to wear a steel whistle on a fat yellow shoelace, kind of a camp counselor approach to shuffler herding, but that was a long time ago. These days, I'm less inclined to freak people out just because I can. Such wanton, anti-social behavior tarnishes the good reputation cyclists have long enjoyed in this fair metropolis. That said, I don't surrender my right of way easily. So when I saw a bloc of people starting to move off the curb and into the street right in front of me, on the bright afterglow of my green light, I drew a lungful to announce myself.

And then I saw Spiderman. Or some little guy in a full Spiderman suit, head mask and all. He stood on the curb, shoulder to shoulder with the tourists and office-workers, undisturbed by his legions of fans. He was just as impassive and isolated as the next New Yorker, and he was about to step right in front of me. So I yelled at him.

"Hey, Spiderman! Look out!"

Everybody froze for just a second -- like in the movies! -- and that was all I needed to thread safely past. And then ... I started laughing. And laughing and laughing till my face felt funny, like a madman, for ten blocks or more, because I'd had My New York Moment of the Day.

And you know? The street was really clear that whole time.

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