A Gratifying Moment Biking with Folks

Miami Beach Police Keeps it Real

This is a happy story.

It may not seem to start that way:

Straight up- biking in Miami is a challenge.

We come to terms with this and try to ride like traffic- fearless and assertive. Some days are harder than others to keep the resolve. There are multiple ways in which the ride is challenging. Among them are chiefly aggressive traffic and, at times more disconcertingly, a feeling that we are not afforded protection by the authorities responsible for keeping all traffic safe. I’ve heard many a cyclist implore “Where was the police?”

I’ve been hit- and thank goodness its never been an issue. A bent fork here, a bumped shin there- I am thankful for being intact. But in each situation, the conflict was resolved with words between myself and my new acquaintances. No interventions.

Stories get told from all around the perspective on law enforcement and its knowledge or interest in bicycle issues and rider safety. Everyone I speak to seems to have an opinion- mostly critical.

So here’s our happy story, for a wonderful change of tone:

Last Saturday, @EmergeMiami and friends took our 3rd Annual Sweet Treats ride, and it was fantastic! We hit up Wynwood and the Beach, and brought tasty love to all of our 60 or so riders.¬† Thanks go out to Blissberry Yogurt, The Frieze Ice Cream, and Panther Coffee, for making our ride a memorable sampling of Miami’s finest snack shoppes!

But I digress, this is a happy story about seeing roadway protection at work.

Our ride took us up Meridian on the Beach, through a lovely shaded strip along Flamingo Park, which was both beautiful to observe and a welcome cool down from an otherwise tepid midday sun. Our riders kept a great pace, chatting and comparing notes on Miami stuff. We took up the lane, as group rides do, while working hard to maintain roadway decorum. We corralled our riders to their allocated road space and stopped at the lights, the signs, and so forth.

As we got to 16th, some malcontented motorist, ironically driving Smartcar, drove in a most unintelligent manner and figured there was no better time than the present to tear up to the left in the oncoming traffic lane and vivisect our group to make a circuitous right.

As one rider, Ahmad, puts it, the driver “decided to take a right turn into us from the wrong side of the street- right in the middle of the pack…she brushed my elbow and that’s when she stopped and I got right in front of her”.

Brushed elbows and disrupted rides- when does this get happy?

Enter the Miami Beach Police Department.

Ahmad continues: “The cop, he saw it, pulled it right over and said ‘I got this. I saw everything.’ I feel good about it- I’m glad the cop was there.”

We agree, Ahmad.

This was a gratifying moment in bicycle riding. The Police stepped in a supported, and thankfully the incident did not require emergencies or enduring agonies- except, perhaps, for the Smartcar who couldn’t wait a minute.

Here’s what I find most satisfying about this situation. We’ve got a reputation as a city that shuns it roadway responsibilities, Miami, and we are working hard to overcome it with advocacy, facilities, and initiatives. Still, each effort these days feels like a response to a tragedy. We’ve chocked up a growing collection of hit-and-runs, we’ve organized our share of memorial rides and ghost bike dedication for crash victims, and the question is asked again and again: “Where is our protection?”

So this wasn’t an extravagant encounter on Meridian, but it was a spectacular validation- there was protection. A Miami Beach Police Officer- I wish I knew his or her name- saw an incident and did something about it. I don’t know what the outcome was- word came to us at the front of the group that we were cool and were told to ride on. But I do know what those flashing blue and red lights I saw meant, and it was good for us.

We saw a response to a clear infraction: a bully in a car bending the rules in a clearly unbalanced risk between automobile and bicyclists.

We would have been on the losing end of this conflict, if not for protection from Beach Police.

I am thankful they represented.

An Open Letter to Tom Waits

I’ve had this sitting around for so long now, and have shamefully never worked up the unleaded momentum to do something official and send the sucker to the man himself. I guess I am a little afraid to do more than take the passive approach by reading it at open mics and, now, putting it on the Interwebs for everyone else in the world to see.

The gradually asserting coward inside me is hoping it finds its way around and back and through and down and over, and somehow is read by the gentleman.

He inspires me.

Here’s An Open Letter to Tom Waits

What is this story about?

So this is based on a true story. I recently confronted my mortality in the most pathetic way imaginable: in front of a captive and apathetic audience. I wrote this piece last night in a workshop hosted by the lovely ladies at the Lip Service Institute. The people in my class are awesome. The feedback is incredible. I think this is going to be a memorable experience.

Now, I was asked to write a quick story on a theme I’d love to refine- specifically, stories about the inherent awkwardness in my life.

This is what I accessed- help me figure out what it is going to be about!

Here we go:

WHAT IS THIS STORY ABOUT??

My student offered me a cupcake. I am not a breakfast person, so by third period I am usually famished. This cupcake and me- it was love incarnate.

I ate the hell out of that cupcake.

It was a froofy number, with red velvet batter and jellybeans on top.

I downed it so quickly, I overlooked the whole chewing thing and, in a gasp for air, I inhaled a jellybean, which lodged directly in my throat.

My students were taking a test at the time- this was one of those unpleasant assessments that everyone begrudges. The students hate me for the essay portions.

I hate grading them.

Great Gatsby, keeping up appearances blah blah blah

I began to choke right in front of my resentful pupils.

I choked ugly.

I stood up, tears running down my cheeks, grasping at air, my throat, pleading and waving at my class as they looked at me blankly.

Some were shocked.

Some looked concerned.

One or two started laughing.

My life did not slow down and reveal old truths and realizations.

I did, however, distinctly think that this is the worst death.

Worse than being torn apart by rampaging stallions.

Me. Choking to death in front of a classroom of resentful test-taking students. With a jellybean blocking the air from my lungs.

HELP ME WRAP THIS SUCKER UP!

You Want to Hear A Piece of Me?

Friends,

What a watershed week! First, I learn how to use some WordPress in order to set up some Webpage to promote some Collection I am Working on Publishing-

And now, the lovely ladies at Lip Service have invited me to participate in their June 9th event, Traffic Stories.

Is this a major coincidence?

Absolutely not.

This is shameless self-promotion. Straight up. I will not lie to you because I love you just enough to tell you things that are mostly true. I want to get my stuff out there. I’ve got pages and pages of it, and I’m only giving you a sample of it right now. Just wait, world! It’s on!

So, while I appreciate you joining me here on the Interwebs to get a look at what’s been going on, I would love to have you join me- among many way-awesomer local writers- for one night only, at the Miracle Theater in Coral Gables, Saturday the 9th. We will tell you stories of hobnobbing with traffic the likes of which you will probably relate to, being from the traffic capital of South Florida! Mine involves bikes! And the frustrations of public humiliation!

Please to join?

Of course you will.

I love you too much to have you miss this.

-Adam

Let’s Make This Magic Happen- Just You and Me. And Everyone Else, Too.

Thanks for linking over to my site!

 

I anticipate filling it with plenty of stuff!

 

So what is it, you ask?

 

Well, my name is Adam, and I do plenty of things. Many of them are purgative forms of catharsis. Now you can participate!

 

Take off your shoes, grab a drink from your fridge, and get ready to plunge headfirst into the irreverent and socially awkward facets of my brain.

 

Enjoy!