Friday, July 1, 2011

What’s the Rush?

When I last went bicycling in Central Park, my design was nothing more than to relish the rich odor of the warm summer air, hear the trees rustle in the evening breeze, see the stars and savor this small bit of wilderness in midtown Manhattan.
Central Park, however, had different plans.  The grand old space was dense with cyclists, dressed for combat in helmets and kneepads, speeding along at 100 MPH.  Keeping pace were benighted souls on rollerblades, earphones screwed tightly into their skulls, risking life and limb while deadening their senses with wretched music.
We were almost run off the road at one point by a heard of cyclists, moving so fast as to be a blur, breaking the sound barrier as they tore through the night.  A little later, stopping to look at the moonlight dapple the reservoir and appreciate a blossoming tree, a homicidal cyclist screamed a warning of YO! as he sped by.  I can only imagine YO! to be a codeword of some lesser language, a password created by the Hooked on Phonics crowd.  Or perhaps it was friendly advice … you now live under the tyrannical rule of the physically fit!
Heading home for (hopefully) safer climes if less starry skies, I pondered this vulgar obsession with speed.  Do people no longer enjoy their surroundings while exercising?  Are they oblivious to those blurry green patches on either side of the road?  Have they no taste for the moon, or communion with the velvety blue sky at night?  Have they forgotten that now the air smells better, that the ground is littered with flowers?
Getting wherever you're going is more than half the fun.  Enjoy life.  Slow down.  See what there is to see.  Otherwise, you are merely hurrying to the grave.

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