Ok, not really. GHBABMW doesn’t take place until late spring, but I’m thinking the calendar might have changed or something (is 2010 a leap year?) because this week I’ve seen too many near-misses with renegade messengers.
Ten years ago I participated in Get Hit By a Bike Messenger Week. Unwillingly, of course. It was a warm spring night—a Thursday, if memory serves—and I had just left a couple of friends to walk home to my teeny tiny studio apartment. There was a fun little company get together after work and then a few of us went this gourmet French fry place in Chelsea to eat an obscene amount of fries. It was warm evening and almost the weekend—it was just one of those moments where you simply love living here.
I stopped at the corner of 23rd and Sixth Avenue, waited for the light to change, paused until I saw the little white illuminated walker flash on the crosswalk indicator, and then stepped off the curb to cross Sixth Avenue and continue east on my way home. I took two steps before BAM! I was plowed over by a bike messenger barreling south on Sixth Avenue. (For those of you who don’t live in New York, Sixth Ave is a one-way avenue that runs, you guessed it, north.) Actually, “plowed over” isn’t exactly right, because the impact of the bike threw me up into the air like a pale, skinny rag doll and smack down into the middle of 23rd Street.
Now, you’d think that anyone who had a) been riding his bike the wrong way down a one-way street, and b) continued through the intersection without slowing up even though he didn’t have the right of way, and c) oh yeah, ran somebody down, would be a little apologetic. A tiny bit remorseful. But this was a New York Bike Messenger and not only wasn’t he going to help me up, he was going to yell at me while I was splayed on the pavement. Because, that’s just what they do.
But this bike messenger didn’t realize the self-righteous wrath, the screaming fury of denouncement, the polysyllabic bitchiness that a pale, skinny rag doll girl can muster up. Even when she’s lying in the middle of 23rd Street. Suffice it to say, Bike Messenger’s demeanor quickly turned. He helped me up, apologized profusely and handed me his business card “in case I needed anything.”
So, the moral of the story is, always look both ways when crossing the street. Lest you too become an unwilling participant in Get Hit By a Bike Messenger Week.