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!”
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. :]