Monday, August 30, 2010

Big Apple Musing: Big Sign that it's a Terrible Day for a Bike Ride (TERRIBLE!)

NEW YORK, Aug. 29 — A scene (and yes, he was making a scene) in Riverside Park, West 91st Street and Riverside Drive, 3:40 p.m.

Young girl, maybe 10 years old, rides a bike south on the park-side sidewalk of Riverside Drive, 10 or 15 yards ahead of a mother and son, also with bikes. They’re walking, not riding. Girl is maybe the daughter/sister. Her eagerness for a ride—on her bike and out in front—plus a lack of any other supervision in sight, says yes, definitely. This is Eager Sister’s ride.

But her brother is protesting.

“This was a terrible idea! A TERRIBLE! IDEA!” he wails, bringing up the rear, just behind Mom. Mom ignores the rant as tears stream down his freckled face, red hair matted under a blue bike helmet.

“Do you want to ride now?” Mom asks, not even a whisp of frustration in her tone. Clearly, this behavior is nothing unusual from her baby boy, Angry the Red.

“NO!!!” Angry retorts, drawing out the “oh” sound so it’s crystal clear to Mom that riding would only make things worse. Why in the world, his tone asks, would an 8-year-old boy want to ride a bike when he could be inside playing Wii?

“It’s TOO”—sob—“HOT!”—sob—“for a bike ride! It was a terrible, TERRIBLE! idea to go for a bike ride TODAAAAYYYY!”

It must have been Eager Sister’s idea. No way Angry’s buying what she’s selling. Ninety degrees, breezy, cloudless sky of brilliant Columbia blue. End of summer perfection on the Upper West Side.

But without a doubt, a terrible, TERRIBLE! day for a bike ride.

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