Sunday, February 11, 2007

Adrenaline Part I or What is "urban-crawl" anyway?

Is it a funky new dance craze sweeping cities across the US? A new courting ritual for single urbanites? How about what happens when a bar ride goes horribly right and you can't balance on your bike anymore? Well, all three could be valid conjectures. But, let me expound on the title "urban-crawl."

urban-crawl (n): one part roving reporter as seen by the "eye in the sky." "urban-crawl" is suggestive, descriptive, symbolic. (Hell, some might say it's stupid. These people are flat, literal and Type-A. But that's okay.) Picture an image of bicyclists steadily pedaling the urban grid. Now, imagine that image from about 500 feet off the deck, looking straight down. Kinda cool, eh? Cyclists like little industrious ants, crawling all about the city, getting the real work (progress) accomplished while the ego-maximus of homo sapiens goes on figuring out ways to squash/poison more of them in punishment for a long and well-documented history of ruining picnics in the country. Think of the number of ants in the world, as , well, compared to the number of humans. Kinda scary, eh? There are always many, many more than we can see. Thank heavens for Tupperware.

Literal can be fun, yes. But think symbolically. "Humans crushing ants" = motorists crushing cyclists. Okay, not literally, again ... we're delving into the realm of Foucalt here. It's a symbolic battle of not so unlikely opponents. Not that ants want more power, per se; they just want you to step around them on the sidewalk. The struggle is on many levels a battle of ideologies. Modern American society is founded on the ideology of the automobile. Ants? Heck, they like to figure out ways to carry things 300 times their own body weight. Go figure. Burn dead dinosaurs? Or, harvest the power of organic exoskeletal hydraulics? Pretty cool. Is your team mascot a Lazy Sloth or a Self-reliant Spartan?

"urban-crawl" is cryptic, prophetic and, perhaps, apocalyptic. (Well, Jesus and Mary Chain what in hades is he talking about? I think somebody stayed up too late watching The End of Suburbia.) If the automobile ever had a "Golden Age" none of us would like the fashions we would have to have worn to enjoy it. It's over. Gone daddy gone. Cars are inefficient, unsafe relics of a totally consumer-driven, class-based (don't forget elitist) society. (Sound familiar? That's us!)(We'll get into that more in later posts, I'm sure. But, back to my thought ...) When the oil runs dry (or, more importantly when supplies run low enough that practically no one can afford to fuel a car anymore) then cars will start to die. (In the meantime, there'll be riots and other silliness at the pumps for sure.) Drivers will be forced to (figuratively, again) crawl, just like toddlers, before they learn to walk. Unlike the war, pestilence and famine of popular, fundamentalist New Testament fame, however, there's a shiny happy upside to this rather apocalyptic proclamation -- society will learn to walk again! Hurray! And, just maybe, some of the more adept will discover how practical that golldarned bicycle really is.

Of course, this will only happen when the messiah pedals back to Earth on a celestial two-wheeler with a peloton of archangel domestiques in tow. Holy shit! I think I just proved Lance Armstrong is the anti-christ.

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