Merry Holiday and Happy Christmas.

I think I might be the only person in the United States working today. (I mean, besides the MTA employees.) The subways are empty. The streets are as well. And I just saw a tumbleweed move by my desk. But it was wearing tinsel.

I have to say, now that the strike is over, I think I kind of miss it. I liked the have to of riding my bike and getting some exercise. I liked seeing people aware of their surroundings if only because their monotony had been mixed up a bit. I really liked seeing people smile at the end of their haul. Each time we came down off the bridge the Red Cross was there with their hot tea or coffee, Oreo cookies and water. There was something heartwarming about seeing so many people smile all at once just so.

My favorite part of the whole ordeal was a moment that took place on the bridge. It’s the smallest thing, too. There was a system that naturally fell into place during the strike. Sometimes, that system broke down. But for the most part, it worked. I didn’t see any injuries. (Although, my brother said that he did see one biker being hauled away on a stretcher.) There were no visible injuries that took place along my commute. Thank goodness.

The system worked like this: Slower pedestrians to the far right, faster pedestrians were to pass on their left (but not too far!) and bikers were further to the middle/left. Faster bikers were to pass on the left of the slower bikers. Now, this didn’t always work. You’re always going to have that one person (or a dozen in this case) who just have to zoom down on one’s right or left. Hell, some of those people would have passed right through the slower walkers and bikers had they been given the chance. These are probably the same people who drive down the shoulder during traffic jams. These people have a small room reserved in hell, a room without windows.

I like warning people as I pass them.

“On your left.”

You kind of have to hear me say it. I say it nicely – as nicely as possible. I just like to let them know I’m there. (This comes from years of working as a waitress and watching one too many trays of hot coffees and milkshakes hit the floor.)

If it was needed, I warned each and every walker, each and every time. But there was one interaction I really enjoyed. One faster walker was walking toward the middle passing her fellow pedestrians on their left. I was coming up on her kind of fast. And had she moved one or two inches to her left, I would have hit her especially considering there was a line of bikers behind me. I noticed a not so careful biker was coming up on my left. While he didn’t warn me with voice, his unknowing morning shadow clued me in. And so I spoke.

“On your left, baby!”

“Thank you!”

It must have been the tone of her voice, but I really wanted to hug her. And then I wanted to share some Oreo cookies and tea with her when we reached the bottom.

And just like that a close call ended up becoming one of my most cherished moments all because of a Thank You.

(As an aside, I shot video of my bike ride in yesterday. I strapped my camera to my neck and pushed the lens through the spaces between the buttons on my coat and shot video of the ride. Does anyone [if anyone is even out there today] know how I might optimize this? Does anyone have any splicing suggestions? I haven’t ever done anything like this before. Still images can be seen by clicking below.)

Anyway, Merry Holidays to everyone. Happy New Year, too. I’m feeling warm and fuzzy right now and if I could I’d hug each and every one of you.

I’m on your left. :]

12 Comments

  1. hugs to you (on your right) – have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. I’m feeling warmer and fuzzier now. Thanks, mihow. Merry Christmas to you and TJ, from south of you.

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  3. awww… merry holidays to you too!

    ::hug::

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  4. I thought I taught you the “On your left”
    as part of your skiing experience.

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  5. Maybe that’s where I picked it up! I dunno. Either way, it works wonders! Some folks are so mean out there. I heard one guy go “YO! COMING THROUGH!” like he was some sort of freaking celebrity. Red Carpet Treatment, my ass. Unless we’re talking a red carpet of smeared blood.

    now that’s the holiday spirit!

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  6. Aw, you have the best stories. Thanks for sharing them! I was in NYC last weekend right before the strike – I’m so glad this mess is all over for you guys (hopefully permanently).

    Happy and healthy Christmas and 2006 to you and your family!

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  7. Happy Holidays to you and Toby!

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  8. Merry Festivus to two of my favorite people.

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  9. Happy holidays, to you! Thanks for giving me so many things to think and smile about!

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  10. Happy Holidays! Thank you for so much!

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  11. Merry Christmas! Say hello to your family for me.

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  12. Re: On your left … here in central Indiana we have a “nature trail” http://www.indygreenways.org/monon/monon.htm that runs on an abandoned railroad line for 10 miles, it’s really neat an very popular.

    Along the trail there are signs posted with a few rules (no motorized vehicles, etc) and one of the rules is that when you pass someone you’re supposed to say “on your left”.

    As you pass people, or meet them coming in the other direction, you always pick up one or two sentences of conversation, and then they are quickly out of earshot.

    A couple I know walks the trail almost every day and has accumulated dozens of strange one-liners like: ”…Bob says it’s the dog spaghetti…”; ”…walking sideways doesn’t help…”; stuff like that.

    The couple actually self-published a booklet called “On your left”. She is a poet (working as a business writing copy editor) and he is a graphic designer. It’s a neat booklet.

    Why am I spending Christmas Eve writing this dumb stuff to people I don’t even know? Because my wife insists on watching “A Christmas Story” for the 87th time. I like ACS, but c’mon.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Mike-the-Mick

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