Speaking of the Germans (see Touch Me), Mercedes-Benz are manufactured in Germany. This is common knowledge. Furthermore, during WWII, many German manufacturers used slave labor from concentration camps in their production of goods. Since the closing of labor and concentration camps, most of these companies issued statements of apology for their use of slave labor (Mercedes included). Interestingly, BMW (another German company) is one of the only companies who did not issue a public statement of apology. Instead, they set up funds for their victims and decided to keep their mouths shut.
Those four sentences sum up some of what I took away from a visit to the Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich. I also use it as a “fun fact” for those of my friends and relatives that drive BMWs, and fodder for my own “decision” to drive a Honda Civic (which coincidentally gets 40 mpg and can have parts repaired by literally anyone who can speak the English language). History aside, Mercedes are manufactured in Germany, amongst other places, and thus the scene is set.
Although I do not consider myself a cyclist, I do own (or I did until it was stolen after I drunkenly locked only the front tire after a visit to the bar) a bike in the city. I am not an asshole when I bike, and I kindly obey traffic laws, ride with traffic, and stop at lights. I also wear a helmet (most of the time). My bike is an early 90s bare-bones mountain bike that I intercepted as my dad attempted to leave it with the trash on the street for someone “less fortunate”. Our succession of golden retrievers (see You’re a Homo) over the years had chewed off most of the pedals, and the black and (barely visible) neon served as an homage to the glory days of the nineties.
After three years of successful cycling in the city (success determined by the fact that I am still breathing and do not use a colostomy bag), I had still yet to develop the cycling sense to be able to weave between the M15 bus and motorcycles, or to “jump” my bike from the street over a curb. In general, my bike was able to get me from point A to point B, and it was free. One of my favorite cycling moves was to ride to the bar, have a drink, and attempt to ride back without running into trash bags on the side-walk. So far I’m 3-3.
Thus, my decision to ride my bike to a match date (our second and last meeting) in Chelsea was not any cause for alarm. In order to keep my hair from messing, I decided to leave my helmet at home. I didn’t need to broadcast to the bar that not only was I on a match.com date, but I was also unable to afford a cab.
The ride was uneventful. I managed to keep my white jeans (worn far in advance of Memorial Day) from getting dirty, and I strategically managed to keep from sweating (Do not underestimate the difficulty of this feat). As I turned onto 6th Avenue (in the bike lane of course), I glimpsed the bar and decided to give myself a two block bike buffer (this way it would be less obvious that I had biked to anyone standing around or by a window in the bar). At the same time, a gentleman ( I say this out of respectful ignorance) decided to emerge from his parked Mercedes at lightning speed without looking into the bike lane (this is NYC driving 101). Thus, without time to do anything other than say “fuck,” I careened full speed into his door, and ended up on my hands and knees after gracelessly falling over top of the driver side door.
Realizing that I was not seriously injured, I tried to get my simple ass out of the road without getting hit by oncoming traffic (this is also rather difficult, and cabbies on 6th were not happy with my apparent idiocy as they attempted to get uptown). Managing to get to my feet, I looked my assailant in the eye, and was shocked by his response.
Do you know this is a German car?
YES I KNEW. See my opening five sentences. Unfortunately for me, immediately after getting doored I was unable to put coherent thoughts together.
And by yes, what I should have said was “Do you know that I am a human being? Or perhaps that you are complete douchebag?” Either would have sufficed. Unsure of what to do, I apologized profusely for his ineptitude, scrambled to get my bike on the curb, and I believe even uttered the words “Thank you.”
What not to say after getting doored.
In a doored-induced fury, I locked my bike to the nearest street sign, reapplied my lipstick, and haphazardly tried to stop my hands from bleeding. All in all I was 5 minutes late for my date, which in New York standards is 20 minutes early. And despite my excitement of having overcome a minor NYC tragedy, my date was taken aback by my (apparently) disheveled and bloodied self. Still a bit shaky, I drank my standard quota with speed usually saved for the weekends, and found myself tipsy within the half-hour.
It could have been the blood that turned him off. It could have been that I told him what happened and he was appalled that I had biked to a bar (Although he was a hippie from Oregon so that would be a bit cliche). It also could have been my comments about the Germans.
I need to keep the Germans out of it.