I’d just finished a tutoring session and was about to drive back to my apartment when I ran into a girl from my English class. We chatted about finals, winter break and our classes next semester. Small talk. I distractedly played with my car keys, tossing them from hand to hand. It’s a habit I picked up in high school, a sign that you had a license and car and the ability to go anywhere at any time (which was usually the Chipotle on Reisterstown Rd., around fourth period).
“You have a car?” she said. “In D.C.?”
“Yeah. I go to Baltimore a lot, so it’s convenient.”
“Wow, I would’ve pegged you for a cyclist.”
And then I froze.
“Well, I’ve gotta go,” she said. “But have a good break!”
“Cyclist,” I muttered to myself.
Cyclists are marginalized in society. They ride on thin metal skeletons, while we—us careless drivers, conspicuous polluters, bastions of consumerist, American culture—sit comfortably on thrones of leather, encased in two-ton vehicles of destruction. We have airbags, seat belts, autonomous braking. All they have to defend themselves with is an inflated sense of self-importance. Cyclists protect Mother Earth. They decongest our highways. They lower the nation’s obesity rate. How should we thank them? With a love tap from my station wagon.
Cyclists are the worst. They asked for equality, and we obliged. (Happily, I may add. I gladly give cyclists a full-car length of space when stopped at a red light. I am gracious.). But my kindness can be stretched only so thin. How can I not be angry when they run red lights, blow past stop signs, or change lanes without warning? You think Millennials are entitled? Try driving next to a bike lane. All you’ll hear is “You’re too close!” and “Give me space, bruh!” and “That new Sleater-Kinney song is dope!”
There are only three types of cyclists, and, fittingly, only three appropriate responses for that unfortunate occasion when one approaches you:
—No, I will not sign your Green Peace petition, and no, I’m not interested in your homemade granola.
—I don’t care if you go to the farmer’s market every Saturday, you’re still a yuppie. Where’s Patrick Bateman when you need him?
—I can tell from your spandex that you’re training for some sort of marathon. I don’t need to hear about it.
My opinion isn’t widely held. To all those cyclists who disagree, come at me: I’m a two-ton hunk of advanced machinery (as you so often remind me) and you’re a 24-year-old Oberlin graduate who can’t find a job with your philosophy degree. Go move to Portland.