Category Archives: Miscellaneous

[Don’t] Cry

Don-t-cry-animals-2967816-425-349It was, and at times still is, embarrassing for me to express something I’m passionate about without tears breaking into the corners of my eyes and my nose stuffing up. Usually the person I’m talking to shifts uncomfortably, awaiting the inevitable waterworks. When I feel this happening, I end my statements early and dispassionately to try and ebb the flow of tears as well as offer the other person an out to the conversation, cursing my proclivity to get teary-eyed when I feel a strong emotion. But that’s usually about the extent of it; I rarely actually end up crying.

In childhood, crying came pretty easily to me. If I felt angry, sad, or even incredibly happy, tears would brim in my eyes, and I’d eventually dissolve into a child-sized puddle. I cried in class frequently, especially when I felt like I was being attacked or made fun of. Classmates in elementary school knew when I was emotional because I’d put my head down on my desk.

“She’s crying again.”

Their whispers didn’t help me to stop crying, but they taught me to contain my tears to the privacy of my home. So I traded in my tears for curse words, laying into anyone who hurt my feelings with a slew of profanities that I didn’t even fully understand. I didn’t deal with the pains I felt or find a healthier way of handling my emotions, but I was able to at least get past the occasional bully. In my mind I looked tough, but to your everyday schoolyard bully, I was probably just wearing a tearstained bullseye.

Once middle school came, I decided to give myself an internal makeover. I’d shut my mouth and my tear-ducts and fade into the background to the best of my ability. When my seventh grade English teacher asked us to describe everyone in the class using three adjectives, I (internally) celebrated when almost all of mine were “smart, quiet, and shy.”

This worked for awhile. I didn’t cry in school for years. I had a new reputation that I was pleased with and plenty of new friends that didn’t know me as the blubbering child from my elementary school days. I felt strong and confident, which was only affirmed when I met my first boyfriend.

Someone was interested in me and had no idea of the crybaby I used to be. I come from a family where my parents and many of my aunts and uncles were high school sweethearts, so I thought this relationship was it for me. I assumed we’d get married, but when it didn’t work out, it destroyed me. I no longer saw myself as confident; instead I was made up of all the faults and flaws that made my boyfriend cheat on and eventually leave me.

I dragged my feet through the hallways each day, shoulders slumped and eyes glossed over with a perpetual sheen of tears. I became the version of myself that I abhorred, the one I worked so hard to destroy. And this time, the bullies were more clever than the boys who used to pretend to have crushes on me. They nicknamed me Sad Girl.

“Here comes Sad Girl.”

“Why so sad, Sad Girl?”

“I fucked Sad Girl.” (My ex-boyfriend was the best.)

Each whisper stung, lowering my shoulders until they were practically level with my knees. My friends didn’t know how to handle me in this state, so they left, at least until I could wipe my eyes and stand up without a sniffle. I lost what I believed to be my soulmate as well as my best friends.

When you feel desperately lonely, there’s little to do that can snap you out of that state. It begs to be indulged, feeding off your misery and growing like a black hole. And when it consumes you completely, turning back feels impossible and exhausting.

The best (and worst) part was that I rarely cried during my time as Sad Girl. Although I felt miserable about the breakup as well as my horrible friend situations, I didn’t want to make the same mistake that I had in elementary school—I didn’t want my reputation tainted by tears. There was no doubt that I was sad, but I at least waited until I was home to unleash the waterworks.

Eventually I was able to shake the weepies over the relationship. I changed my MySpace name to Sad Girl to show my ex I wasn’t affected by his pet name for me, and people eventually stopped calling me it. I took it as another lesson, though. My emotions once again became a point to laugh over and were something for me to be ashamed of. So I learned to bottle them up and plaster a smile on my face, even—and especially—when it hurt to do so.

That brings me to today’s Nicole. Not Sad Girl, not the little girl that easily bursts into tears, but the adult woman who finds it impossibly difficult to cry. The one who still deals with bouts of depression, but rather than seeking out an outlet for them, pushes them down until they come rushing out in the form of periodic breakdowns. The one who feels like a burden to the few people she chooses to confide in, and who instead opts to unload all her thoughts and feelings onto her boyfriend to save her friends the trouble. The one who hasn’t felt comfortable telling her parents about her secrets and fears since her mom asked her why she’d want to tell a stranger her thoughts in therapy and since her dad told her to just stop being sad.

Lately my eyes yearn for the release of tears, but my mind shuts the idea down almost immediately. I feel them build up behind my eyelids, tingling and threatening to cascade down my cheeks. Don’t cry, Sad Girl. Don’t you dare cry.

Sometimes crying can be so helpful. I remember crying until my throat was raw, screaming into pillows, and dissolving into cry-hiccups. And every time I had one of those moments, although intense, the weight lifted from my chest and shoulders. My mind felt clear. I was reinvigorated with hope and confidence. Sometimes you need to completely breakdown to be able to rebuild.

After being made fun of and insulted for expressing anything other than happiness and contentment, I struggle to connect to the long forgotten Sad Girl of my past. So what do you do when your mind won’t let you fully breakdown anymore? Do you pinch yourself until you burst into tears, or should you just think of all the negative things people have ever said to you until you feel inspired to cry?

What I know with utmost certainty is that crying would help alleviate a lot of the stress I feel lately. My job is horrible and only seems to get worse every week; my friends are either too busy to hang out or have decided to exclude me from things altogether; and my family likes to refer to the recent goings on in our collective lives as “the curse.” And yet, I don’t cry.

There’s certainly times where I shed a few tears, but my waterworks are dried up in comparison to how they used to be when they flowed freely. Maybe from crying too much in life, I’ve spent my life’s given amount of tears. Or maybe it’s time to finally start knocking down protective barriers that have been in place for so much of my life. And in doing so, I hope to finally have a healthier relationship with my emotions and whatever form they show themselves in.

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Resolved to Resolute

8af3463b6882ec19def84e604abcb759I always enjoy celebrating holidays, and I get really into the cheesy traditions that come with them. So it should come as no surprise that I’m having a fun time making resolutions for 2016. I saw on Twitter that a girl wrote out a list of her resolutions and taped it to her wall so that she would be inspired by it all the time. I loved that idea mostly for how organized it sounded and because nothing makes me happier than a nicely composed list. So here’s a lazy list post full of things that I might/maybe/hopefully will change about my life in the coming year.

  1. GET A NEW FULL-TIME JOB! You know, with a company that actually cares about its employees and the work they do where I’m equally happy to be there. I know it’s possible to wake up every day not hating my job, and I’d like to live that life now.
  2. Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Expand my freelancing career.
  4. Pitch (and hopefully end up contributing) to more reputable blogs and websites.
  5. Make more of an effort to do things I want to do while applying for jobs (start attending Spanish classes, go to bike mechanic workshops, etc.).
  6. Get clip-in pedals and shoes for my bike. From there I’ll try not to fall too often, but I don’t know how realistic that is.
  7. Stretch every day (this is ambitious for me, even though it sounds super easy).
  8. Make strides in actually dealing with my anxiety rather than just making excuses for its persistence.
  9. Pay off my ever-increasing credit card debt. UGHHH.
  10. Start writing fiction again, and eventually try submitting my pieces to literary journals—eek!
  11. Do a multi-day bike tour. Canada? Southern bike trip? NYC -> DC?
  12. Make more connections in the writing/blogging world.
  13. Ride another century. I’m looking at you, 2016 TransAlt NYC Century!
  14. Make more of an effort to enjoy New York’s many galleries and museums. Thanks to the NYC ID, this shouldn’t be too hard hopefully!
  15. Start thinking about the possibility of what life could be like if I were to write a novel one day.
  16. Last but not least, cuddle my perfect cat way more.
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Five Years of Cat

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So damn smug.

In July, my little baby kitty face, Ava, turned five years old. Five. Years. Old. I don’t want to alarm people, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for helping another living creature survive for five years. And in completely unrelated news, as of this blog post, I will now be available as a babysitter for all parents looking to continue the existence of their children.

I grew up with cats a child, but being a child, I did absolutely nothing for them aside from pet them until I/they got bored. At some point in my adolescence, I developed an allergy to cats, which has almost entirely disappeared somehow. I believe that I mostly willed my allergies out of existence, but maybe I just haven’t met the right/wrong cat to upset that balance again. And then I decided I needed a furry friend to cuddle with, and Craigslist brought me to Ava.

The world is pretty depressing and grim lately, getting to a point where I’ve almost disabled my Facebook account just to get away from it all for a bit. So here’s some lighthearted silliness: In honor of Ava’s birthday, these are five things I’ve encountered as a cat owner, some of which I was not expecting at all.

  1. Cat hair. Everywhere. This isn’t an exaggeration, and there’s a reason it’s number one on my list. Ava is a maine coon, meaning she’s extra adorable but also extra furry. And sooner or later that fur has got to go somewhere, almost always ending up in my mouth. Every single meal that I cook or eat has cat fur in it. All of my clothes, blankets, pillows, curtains, carpets, desk tops, and basically every other surface in my apartment has had cat fur on it at one point or another. Especially the ceiling fans—it is mildly disturbing how much of her fur latches onto my fans and then coats the walls whenever I turn them on.
  2. Cats are stalkers. I can’t turn around without almost stepping on Ava’s tail; she’s either super clingy (she is.), or she has a serious case of FOMO. If I go to the bathroom to wash my hands, she’s bounding down the hallway behind me with her big eyes lit up and yipping in excitement. If I dare to close the bathroom door behind me, then I fall victim to her gentle yet incessant scratching. I officially have a small cat-shaped shadow whenever I’m home.
  3. Sometimes cats purr so hard they drool. Haven’t you ever gotten so happy and been so content in life that you drooled all over yourself? In one sense, I’m thrilled that Ava is so happy that she purrs to the point of transforming her salivary glands into a flowing river. Yet on the other hand, she sits on chest and drools on my face a bit too often.
  4. Some cats revenge-vomit. This is a theory, but I have a lot of evidence to back it up. If I leave my apartment for more than a day, despite leaving enough food, toys, and a clean litter box behind,  I can be sure to find cat vomit all over my comforter or somewhere in the living room. It isn’t like she’s alone—my roommate often takes care of her if I’m not around. It’s as if Ava fears abandonment so much that it literally makes her sick, or she just wants me to learn a lesson and never leave her alone for more than nine-hour stretches.
  5. Cats can be allergic to fleas. I’m of the opinion that almost every cat will have fleas at least once in their life, but maybe this is because Ava—my strictly indoor cat—has had multiple already. Ava had a flea infestation when she was a kitten; the biggest kicker being that I gave her the fleas. It’s a disturbing moment when you’re holding your cat and see a bug crawl over her pink belly, burrowing itself into her fur as she purrs away without a clue that you almost just catapulted her across the room. It only got worse when I discovered that Ava is allergic to flea bites and flea saliva. Her entire back, tail, and neck were covered in hives for three months, and the only thing my vet could do to help her was reluctantly prescribe her steroids. Luckily it kicked the allergy back into submission, but I’m hyper aware of fleas now because I felt so bad for my itchy little baby cat.
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Not Forgetting

An edited post I wrote on 9/11 four years ago.

I Think I'm Funny

I’m not always the most supportive of America’s system of government, mostly because greed and corruption disgust me and that’s what our country is run by. And there are times when I get so frustrated that I want to pick up and move to Italy on a whim. But I don’t think any of that warrants fostering any negativity towards 9/11 and what it has come to stand for. It’s one of those dates that everyone will remember exactly where they were, what they were doing, and what they were thinking. (I was in 7th grade history with Mrs. Kane watching the planes hit the towers because we accidentally turned on TV. My class joked and made sarcastic noises, thinking it was a clip of a video game or something. Then our principal told us to turn off the TVs and computers and we were stuck in ignorance for the rest…

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Discrimination in the Form of Kim Davis

kimdavisEvery now and then a craze sweeps through current events and grabs my attention, leading me to become obsessed. I research everything surrounding the topic: what happened before, during, and what’s projected to happen after it passes over. My most recent news-related addiction was with Rachel Dolezal, but now I’ve become fixated on the bigoted Kentucky clerk that is refusing marriage licenses to gay (and straight) couples, Kim Davis.

When it comes down to it, it’s hard for me to process exactly what has Kim Davis so upset. She’s been married four times herself, cheated on her partners, and only became religious within the last four years. The hypocrisy is glaringly apparent to anyone who’s read more than a paragraph about her past, however, being “born again” has absolved her of any sins. Aside from that though, the way she acts is just disrespectful—there’s no rationale behind her actions that quite explains why she thinks gay marriage is so wrong. And I guess this is true for many highly religious folks, but it’s hard for me to grasp when I really try to think about it. Despite being raised Catholic, I never actually read the Bible in its entirety so I’m possibly missing something, but in all the religion classes I went to until I was confirmed, I don’t ever recall someone telling me that gay marriage or a gay lifestyle was wrong. The central point seemed to focus around “be nice to everyone and that makes you a good person,” but somehow that’s become so skewed in any religious societies and has turned into “be exactly like me and I’ll be nice to you and we’ll be good people together” instead.

From what I hear, there is never anything in the Bible that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, yet it’s constantly sited in vague references. How is it that our society has gotten to a place where we can blatantly discriminate against a certain lifestyle with thinly veiled excuses that aren’t ever properly explained? This is what blows my mind the most—we’re literally pitted against one another on the side of being kind and open to all or being closed off to anyone who is different. It’s always such a cyclical journey in this country with racism and homophobia, and as much as I want to believe that things are getting better as time goes on, Kim Davis and her supporters make me feel disheartened.

I was excited to hear that after Davis was put into jail to be held in contempt of court, her Kentucky office started issuing Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.16.55 PMmarriage licenses again. It’s confounding that a woman can be paid for so long to not do her job after being told time and time again that she must do this simple task. It’s not like anyone was asking her to officiate gay marriages. Due to the fact that she was an elected official, she could only resign or be impeached, which I don’t think is fair at all either. Elected official or not, if someone is being paid to disregard the law and the responsibilities of their job, then they should lose said job. Seems simple enough, especially since any other career is subject to this. The worst part about her being jailed is that now she’s going to be seen as some type of martyr for her actions, a christ-like figure persecuted for doing god’s work.

So much of our country is rooted in the belief of “separation of church and state,” yet extreme right wing politicians tote their religious beliefs and get more votes for it all the time. The political debate was riddled with references to Christianity and the Bible. But what if they were Jewish—or god forbid, Muslim—and had done the same in a political sphere? The media would jump on their back immediately and they’d be ostracized. It’s more like a separation of synagogue/mosque/any house of worship aside from churches…and state.

In the end, it shouldn’t matter if your religion tells you that it’s wrong to abort a fetus or that two people of the same sex shouldn’t marry. All that matters is that we’re nice to everyone and you’re a good person. Treat people how you expect to be treated: The Golden Rule that’s become buried under loads of self-righteousness.

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Nicole the Nuisance

My fourth grade field trip companion.

My fourth grade field trip companion.

A few weeks ago, I was telling my boyfriend about all the crap I did as a kid, and I realized two very important things. I was a horrible little ball of energized annoyance, and these stories are actually kind of hilarious.

So here’s one of my better tales involving an annoying child and a fire alarm. It’s short, but it’s also super cringeworthy and makes me hate myself a little bit. Enjoy…?

In fourth grade I came to the important realization that being annoying is adorable so therefore I should be the biggest pain in the ass because adults will love me and find me endearing. And what more could I really want at age nine? I forget where this came from, but I also think I concluded that being dirty and gross was really cute, too. Memories are burned in my mind of me standing in front of the bathroom mirror and messing up my bangs before returning to class only to be stared at like the grimy little gremlin I was. I didn’t mind that they stared—in fact, I reveled in it. I loved the attention and I loved getting it by being the dirty, weird kid. Being unpopular was my goal in elementary school, but that’s probably a different story for a different blog post/therapy session.

Fourth grade was the epitome of my “bad” days, to the point that I was under teacher supervision during every field trip. This came to be early on in the year after I drew a picture of a mean substitute and wrote “The Bitchy Witchy,” which of course the poor substitute found and delivered to my teacher. My 26 year old self aches for this sad old woman who was just trying to do her job, while nine year old Nicole sits in the corner maniacally laughing.

This story takes place at the planetarium, which is probably one of the coolest places for a nine year old to visit. We were standing in line to get into the theater and I was bored. Maybe I had ADD, or maybe I was nine and easily distracted. But whatever the reasoning, I walked over to the fire alarm and set off the alarm.

Now let me just clarify something. This wasn’t a situation where I schemed and planned to ruin everyone’s afternoon. I was never one of those kids that wanted to pull the fire alarm, and I frankly can’t pull a prank to save my life. I was bored and the idea of opening a little box that I saw everyday at school but never desired to touch suddenly became important. No, necessary. I had NO IDEA that just opening that clear plastic case would set the alarm off, though. I wasn’t even bad enough to purposely do this.

People shouted and started hurrying around, and I distinctly remember the panic in my teacher’s eyes. She looked around trying to pinpoint her student’s locations and not lose her job, only to see Nicole the nuisance standing next to the fire alarm looking guilty and terrified. She laughed. She. Laughed.

I still maintain that this teacher adored grubby little ol’ me and wanted me in her group because she liked me so much, and this situation is my biggest piece of evidence. Even when she was telling me that I was disgusting or annoying, she always did it with a smile. When I think about it now, it’s definitely a weird, negative relationship to have with a teacher, but it made for a fun school year at the very least and a slew of insecurities that I’m dealing with in my adulthood at the very most. BUT I DIGRESS…

From what I remember, no firefighters came to the location and I don’t think we even evacuated the planetarium. Soon after the chaos was resolved and someone closed the fire alarm case, we got to watch our starry show. As soon as the lights dimmed, I took out my Snoopy flashlight (the one I brought on all my field trips, along with all the other toys that I made sure to bring on any class outings). My teacher tsked, leaned in close to me, and whispered, “That’s cute, where’d you get that?”

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Love is Love

36778I’ve always wanted to experience an event that would undoubtedly be remembered as a piece of history, and today finally brought that. Today—June 26th, 2015—is the day that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

I can barely even find words to express how happy it all makes me, and my eyes have been welling up with tears all day. Tears for my friends who are finally allotted the same basic rights that I’ve always had; tears for the couples who have been through hell and back just to be treated as an equal; and tears for those who aren’t here to see this amazing moment in history, but fought their hardest to make this possible.

We’re all living a moment that’ll be in future history books, and that’s beyond amazing. I’m so happy to be alive to see this day finally come, and this is a moment when I can truly say that I’m proud as hell to be an American. And I can’t wait to see what Sunday’s Pride Parade is going to be like.

❤ ❤ LOVE IS LOVE ❤ ❤

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Race and Rachel

idiotI think I need acknowledge something that’s been happening because I’ve mostly tried to stay silent, but I’m sick of it. I want to talk about race.

As many of you know, I’m proud as hell to be half Puerto Rican. And those of you who know this also know that I do not look anything other than white white white. I’ve never experienced any of the many, MANY struggles that come with being dark skinned or a minority. And I’ve also felt that I don’t really have much of say in anything that’s been happening in the media lately as a middle class white girl from the suburbs. The recent surge of video evidence of excessive police brutality toward blacks is horrific, and it breaks my heart to think of how much must have gone by undetected before camera phones existed.

However, now this Rachel Dolezal shitstorm kicked up and I’m pissed off all over again. And this time I don’t really want to stay quiet.

There are so many things wrong with what Dolezal did, but the thing that’s most alarming to me is how many people are so quick to defend her actions. It’s truly commendable that she did great things for the Spokane NAACP branch. That’s great, and there’s good to be found in every negative situation. Because regardless of her accomplishments, everything she did could have been achieved as a white woman. There was never a need for her to start darkening her skin and wearing weaves, but she did it anyway so that she could play the role and use it to her advantage.

Her interview with the Today Show was confounding. Dolezal contradicts herself multiple times while skirting the questions and avoids giving any substantial answers. Here’s what I took away from it:

  • Dolezal doesn’t put on blackface for a performance. Since her reasons are practical and professional, then it’s acceptable for her to not “stay out of the sun.” Maybe she should trade in her bronzer for some sunscreen.
  • She also mentions that for people to believe that she’s Isaiah’s mother, she can’t look like a white woman. It just wouldn’t be “plausible.”
  • Albert Wilkerson is her dad. Not her father, her dad. Because people can be dads but not fathers. Even though the person she was speaking with meant her biological father and she knew that, but let’s just move on.
  • It was totally okay for her to sue her predominately black graduate school (Howard University) as a white woman because they hurt her feelings.
  • The color crayon you use to color in your skin as a child determines your race. So I personally learned from this interview that I must be related to Skeeter Valentine because I’m pretty sure I always drew myself with blue skin.

Am I insane, or is this interview absolute horseshit? So much of it makes NO sense. I was shocked that Matt Lauer didn’t persist or push his points, but I guess with such a hot topic they want to see how long they can drag it out and exploit it for more airtime.

Just a quick sidebar: I’m just going to say now that the term “transracial” is fucking aggravating to hear. Race and gender are ENTIRELY different, and there’s no way that the “struggle” Dolezal has gone through is in any way comparable to that of a transgender person. If I see one more person likening Dolezal to Caitlyn Jenner, I’m going to throw a chair.

Rachel Dolezal wanted to be a martyr, and rather than do so in her own skin, she changed herself and took on the physical appearances of a black woman. She made a mockery of an entire race and belittled the struggle that millions went through and continue to experience. She lied about being on the receiving end of hate crimes and even told her family to not “blow her cover.” This is probably the most extreme example of white privilege I’ve ever seen: A white woman that shifts her race when it’s most convenient and beneficial to her needs, and she somehow has people supporting her through it.

Now there’s even more coming out with the exclusive NBC interview where she finally just says that she’s black and can’t identify as white. She’s black because she raised black children and felt a connection to the culture and knows black people and has curled hair and tanned skin. Because apparently that’s all it takes to be black. Rachel Dolezal is just a self-centered woman who wants to be remembered at whatever cost it takes, changing her story as it conveniences her.

This New York Times piece is well articulated and points out exactly why this whole sham is so ridiculous as well. As for me, I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and let the country know that we just got severely Punk’D because there’s really no other acceptable end to this story.

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Hit & Run

8721bfb0156b93902261f7e663bfc952In the past three years, I’ve gotten really into cycling—I get such a rush from it and feel so liberated. Nothing wakes me up better than an hour long bike ride from Brooklyn into Manhattan in the morning, and nothing ends my work day on a more positive note than great music in my ears and the wind streaking through my helmet. Long tours are my favorite: Exploring new areas is a passion of mine, and getting to do so from my saddle only enhances the experience.

Yesterday I participated for the first time (and possibly the last) in the Tour de Staten Island with my riding buddy/shark pal, Angela. We were really bummed that we missed out on the ride last year and were so excited to start off the season with a 55-mile ride through a borough that we don’t really ever go to. Before this I’ve only briefly driven through Staten Island, but yesterday I had the opportunity to explore the developing Freshkills Park and the island’s many MANY hills. Yesterday I also got hit by a car for the first time.

Part of me knew this sort of thing was inevitable, but there was also a naive part of me that thought that it just wouldn’t happen to me. It makes sense, though. They never shut the roads down for these long tours because it’d be completely impractical, and drivers would probably riot through the streets and push us off our bikes anyway. Almost every cyclist I know in lower New York has been hit by a car, in either a minor or extreme way, or at least doored. I figured the culprit would either be some irresponsible cab or bus driver, but instead it was an older Eastern European woman.

I was riding along the road entering a park and heading to our 40-mile rest stop, the last one before we completed our final 15 miles. I felt great. I had just oiled up my gears and chain, my legs were feeling the familiar aches that I’ve come to love from riding a lot of miles in one day, and I was excited to rejuvenate with some fruit and Kind bars. It happened so suddenly, and I know everyone says that, but I didn’t understand just how quickly something could really happen. She was way too close to the line and if it wasn’t me, she would have hit someone else. There was no shoulder, just gravel, and I hit her car two or three times before crashing to the ground with my bike flipping over behind me. I braced myself for the fall, shielding my head/face, and dragged my bike with me to the side of the road in case the drivers behind us didn’t see the crash and kept going. The tears were immediate and I was surrounded by witnesses who were jogging or driving nearby. No one from the ride was close unfortunately except for another girl Angela and I were riding with, and I asked her to find a marshal and Angela at the rest stop. She said she didn’t really see what happened, another witness to just how quickly these sorts of things occur. People were trying to get me to calm my breathing, stop crying, and move my limbs to make sure I wasn’t seriously injured (Spoiler: I’m not, just a sprained wrist and lots of bruises). I was overwhelmed by the help while trying to contact my friend and find some familiarity for comfort. The woman who hit me got out of her car briefly then drove away. No one saw her license plate number or where she went. EMTs arrived shortly
after and I took my first ambulance ride to a nearby hospital.

Every time I tell someone what happened, they seem disappointed and dumbfounded when I tell them I didn’t get her plate number. That is one of the most annoying things that I’ve dealt with in the last 24 hours. When I’ve thought of possible scenarios where I could have gotten hit in the past, I always imagined that I’d chase the person down if necessary to make sure they stayed in the area. Now I’m just relieved that my instincts were to protect my face and head then drag myself to safety. Unfortunately there’s probably no chance that this woman will be found, but I hope she at least feels horrible for hitting someone and then leaving. I hope that guilt plagues her for the rest of her life.

I’m going to pick my bike up from the Transportation Alternatives office on Wednesday, pay the probably high price to get it fixed up, and continue to ride every day that I can. I’ll be more paranoid than I was before, but let’s face it—generally, I’m a pretty paranoid girl anyway. I won’t let this deter me and will continue to find my inspiration and happiness from the saddle of my Schwinn. I’ll just be hyper aware of my surroundings and risks that I’m taking while doing so now.

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Uncommon Courtesy

idiotSometimes you just need to rant about things. And lately I’ve been finding myself annoyed–and I mean really annoyed–by people on the subway who either have no concept of what personal space even begins to entail or just frankly don’t give a shit about people around them. This is due mostly to the fact that I rarely take the subway since I usually bike, but I’ve been sick for almost three months and didn’t want to prolong my illness(es) by jumping onto the saddle again too soon. So I’ve found myself commuting an hour to and from work among some of New York and Brooklyn’s finest specimens of egotists, and it’s turning me into a grumpy old woman.

I genuinely don’t think I’m being irrational or complaining too much when I list these things, mostly because I see other people who are annoyed along with me. Even though the majority of people are irritated that someone nearby is blasting Candy Crush or watching Rush Hour 2 at 8 a.m., no one wants to offend that person or risk telling off a crazy person. It’s completely understandable, too. Just last month a woman yelled at me and tried to instigate a fight with me on the subway because I tried to let people off the train rather than crowd the open door. It’s a silly story now, but in the moment it was both infuriating and terrifying.

To me, it seems like one of the rudest things in the world (I know–first world problems, blah blah blah. Get off my blog, you rotten kids!) is to have music or a movie playing without headphones on. This just makes no sense to me at all. What weird pleasure are you getting from subjecting everyone to your music? Even worse than those people are the ones who play insanely obnoxious cell phone games. You probably don’t have headphones in because you don’t want to exclusively listen to that crap, so I guess the logic is to bring others down with you at that point. It seems like a no-brainer to not burden others with what you’re doing. Hell, if I’m listening to music with headphones on I usually take them off to see if I can still hear the music then turn it down until I can’t just so I don’t annoy anyone. My friend Molly once asked a kid on the subway who was playing Candy Crush (or Farmville or one of the other games I have ten thousand pending requests for on Facebook) to turn his game down. He stared at her completely confounded that we even knew he was playing a game on his phone. He did not turn the volume off that day and probably never has since.

Another pain is people talking on cell phones in a quiet place where it’s usually assumed that a phone call would disrupt and annoy others. The other day I was on a Megabus with my boyfriend and we were both exhausted. We had slept like crap the whole weekend because the air mattress we used had it’s last round of life and deflated both nights, leaving us huddled on a hardwood floor. So we were passed out on the bus when the boy next to us decides that it’s prime time to call his parents and loudly update them on his life. For over an hour this kid chatted about his broken laptop and how his weekend in Philly went until we both finally looked at him and he quieted down, remembering that he wasn’t alone in his dorm room after all. Let me repeat: He got quieter. He never hung up the phone, though.

My last complaint is just a general people not understanding personal space and how they affect someone else. I can’t count how many times I’ve been sat on during my commute by people who see a very small amount of space left on a bench and somehow think they’re going to fit there. It blows my mind how desperate to sit down people can be that they’re willing to compromise their own comfort just to have half of their butt cheek on the corner of a subway seat. Half the time I end up getting out of my seat anyway because they’re either sitting on me or have made me immensely uncomfortable.

I couldn’t be more thrilled by the warming weather, and I hope that it lasts. Warm weather means riding my bike means rarely taking the subway anymore. And the less I’m on the subway, the happier and more content in life I am overall. For those poor perpetually commuting souls out there, you have my sincerest sympathy.

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