Wednesday, June 30, 2010

when cabs attack

apparently, the parents of some new yorkers really dropped the ball.  the first few years of life are referred to as "formative" for a reason.  it is during those years that good parents set about the business of instilling a healthy dose of fear regarding behaviors that could endanger one's own or others' safety (not too much - just a healthy dose).  for example, when a car drives over your child's basketball, it will sound like a gun shot, and you may think this is frightening enough.  but you would be wrong. it is a parent's duty to scream and yell at the child who would have otherwise chased the ball into the street.  and when you parallel park, and your child is far from reality, busy entertaining herself in her own internal world, and develops a habit of just opening the car door without looking to see if other cars are coming, you need to reprimand her.  but as i said, some parents have really dropped the ball.

we were walking on bleecker street last night (on our, what must be weekly, trek for the best frozen yogurt in the world).  we got to the gelateria on the corner of bleecker and carmine street (where people are spending a fortune for about a tablespoon of gelato ... if only they had walked less than one block further, they would have discovered the frozen dessert bliss that is phileo - we are spending the same fortune, i'm sure, but we are having a whole meal of frozen yogurt).   just as we were crossing the street, we heard the screeching sound of some wheeled vehicle skidding into a very hard metal object.  as it turned out, it was a bicycle crashing into a suddenly opened cab door.  someone's mother neglected to fully impress upon them the necessity of looking before one opened a car door.

we joined the other new yorkers in staring and whispering for a moment before deciding that everyone looked like they were okay (although i did seriously make sure everyone was okay before continuing to walk - there is this wonderful little phenomenon called diffusion of responsibility: if you are in an accident or hurt in a crowded place, the more people that are around, the less likely any of them is going to be to help you ... no one is sure who should help ... or no one feels the need to help because the responsibility is shared with so many other people ... nonetheless, we saw that the girl in the cab and the cab driver both got out and were checking on the bicyclist, and there were people waiting with him (presumably for some sort of help or authority to arrive)).

not two minutes after leaving the site, another bicyclist rode by.  he was steering with one hand on the handlebars.  the other hand was holding a paper plate and a slice of pizza.  a half-eaten slice of pizza that was moving toward his mouth.  we would have yelled out to him to be careful because the streets are full of cabs.  but there were so many people around.  we weren't sure if it was our responsibility to warn him or not.  someone across the street kind of looked at him, so we thought maybe she was going to warn him.  the poor guy.  lulled into a false sense of security with the knowledge that cell phone use while driving is a big no-no in the city.  he was happily enjoying his pizza while he commuted, and he must have thought he was safe from all those inconsiderate fools who text while driving.  little did he know that cabs can still attack.

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