Last Sunday, I made a glass pumpkin. Because I don’t have a 2500-degree blast furnace in my house, I had to go elsewhere to make my little gourd. Because newly minted glass gourds feel every bit like the 2500-degree furnace from whence they come, I had to leave my creation at the glass studio, to cool off under the care and supervision of licensed professionals. Today, I hopped onto my scooter and headed back to the studio to claim my breakable veggie.
The ride out was uneventful, other than the standard set of cars and trucks that didn’t think that traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone was acceptable, and, therefore, tried to run me down. These folks are always out and about; if they weren’t, I’d probably start to be concerned that there had been an outbreak of some sort of deadly avian flu or something.
The ride back was complicated by the fact that I was now playing transporter to a shatterable squash. I took the typical precautions that one would take when traveling with handmade glass produce. It was wrapped in paper, which was placed into a box, which was then wrapped with a large terrycloth towel, which was then placed in the cavity under the seat, which was then further packed with miscellaneous items to absorb any hint of shock.
Then I got onto the bike, and took to the roads — where there were other people. People who weren’t ferrying glass pumpkins across town. People with nothing to lose.
Typically, when driving in this town, the best defense is a good offense: Assume everyone is trying to kill you and act accordingly. Reckless, aggressive driving is more complicated when you’re trying not to break something (other than, you know, your neck).
Next time I do this, I will be sure to hang a large sign on the back of the scooter that says: “I’m carrying a glass pumpkin. Get the fuck off me.” (Live and learn.)
You can imagine how this trip went. I won’t bore you with details. I will, however, point out an interesting observation that I made. There are areas of the city — areas that (incidentally) are highly concentrated between the glass studio and my home — where the People In Charge of Painting Lines On the Street have abdicated their post.
I get it; I do. Lines can be so limiting and confining — very left-brained little things. Would that we could all cast off the oppressive tyranny of Lines and live carefree and happy in a lineless utopian paradise.
With that said, however, I very much want and need some oppressive tyranny when I’m trying to ride a glass pumpkin across town. Oh how I longed for the draconian despotism of the Painted Lines today. Something to command via executive fiat, “You, Reckless Driver Eager To Commit Vehicular Manslaughter, drive over HERE, and NOT over there. I, the Road Paint, have spoken.” The alternative (i.e., trusting drivers to responsibly navigate a system of total chaos) is a suboptimal plan. We accept the rule of Lines at the delicatessen, at the mall, and at movie theaters. Why abdicate the comforting guidance that they offer when speeding, half-ton motor vehicles are involved?? Such is not the time to thumb one’s nose at authority and luxuriate in open-minded, Bohemian freedom. Such is the time for the fascistic dictatorship of Lines.
But not in my town. Road paint costs money. Entropy is free.