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Friday, July 29, 2005

Such a Subtle Wrist 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI almost ran over one of those mysteriously unemployed upscale slackers who are ubiquitous in this city this morning on my bike. He was jaywalking right in front of truck stalled in traffic, in too much of a hurry to obey simple traffic laws and cross at the light, even though he obviously had no job to get to. The worst part about the situation is his female companion had safely darted out in front of me at the same place a few seconds before. Either in an act of passive aggression or inexcusable obliviousness she didn’t turn around to warn her friend but just kept going, even though I know she saw me and had to realize that her friend and I were on a collision course. The couple was making their way to Starbucks in a dazed but determined stupor, like the Eloi when the air sirens sound from the temple.

Fortunately, I am used to driving treacherous country roads in Virginia, a state which now has more deer than people, and have learned the hard way that deer usually travel never alone and when the first one leaps out in front of your car so you better be prepared for at one or two to follow that one. I like to go at a sedate pace anyway but I instinctively slowed down. Because I decelerated I didn’t hit him outright, but he saw me coming and froze right in front of me. He then acted just like a squirrel, starting and stopping in each direction, panicking but faking me out and making it impossible for me to predict where he was going to move. He stepped back just in the nick of time.

E gave me one of those freestanding cocktail table MsPacman video game machines for my birthday and each night I sit at it for hours like Tommy. I’ve noticed that I’m applying lessons and skills acquired from Ms Pacman to my bike ride, especially as far as exercising my peripheral vision goes. As I pedal along I’ll spot out of the corner of my eye some junkie way off into the distance shambling out toward the street, just like I've trained myself to be super observant and notice if one of the far off ghosts enters the warp tunnel at the top of the screen. I’ll know from my video game heightened sense of timing and powers of observation how to take notice of this hazard and to when to take evasive maneuvers.

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