The withering sky looms a gray, purple glaze.
It’s going to rain, I mumble. I turn around from the front door, back into my closet.
Proper precautions must be made. Shoes, no sandals. Jacket. Garbage bags, wrapped over messenger bag, yesterday’s newspaper, it goes under my butt–the sandy, oily street always gets kicked up from my bicycle wheels–I look like a fool, a dry fool, notwithstanding…Bike tires. They’re pumped, tight air, compacted. This is necessary…one small flinch of my toes on the pedals, I’m flying ten feet now, airborne, suspended in flight. Moment of inertia. Angular momentum. Fair dice. Semi-infinite intervals–I’ve always wondered about this moment, complete surrender…but then back down from the heavenly air, and into a defined, grimy ground, a sand-papery smash, chaffing my arms, my forehead trickles lukewarm blood–this is serious, someone call a doctor–or better yet, just leave me here, it’s over–no, I can make it; I’ll ride like this to class.
I’ll owe it to something, like a knife fight with a homeless man, or a dog chased me down, thinking I was the paperboy…yeah, the girls will go nuts. They’ll sit there all intently, with eyes fixed to my now crusty, cardinal red cuts. Perfect. I’ve got them right where I want them. All the other guys in class, so jealous. I’ve got these scars now, but hell, what fantastic fables got me here! So worth the subterfuge.
So I jet out into the road, outward into oblivion, a greyhound leaving its confines, I am a fucking freed man, who needs shelter, look at all this space!
No helmet. Ever. I’m so roguish. And such an idiot. There’s a myriad of recent cycling instances wherein I’ve narrowly escaped an accident, that, if they had indeed occured, may have been averted by a simple half dome of extraordinarily lightweight, jet white Styrofoam, held together by a spiderweb of nylon straps and balancing barely on such the pinhead of mine.
This axiom of being the only precaution necessary under the law–that and a set of red and white reflectors on op-ends of the cycle, dim little things, really going to matter, a hulk of an SUV comes roaring down 4th Ave in some fucking hurry, and are my baby lights going to somehow emit enough electrical currents to potentially blind the driver–in that split second where both of our universes, that otherwise would never have interlaced, respectfully–so that he makes a quick effort to swivel to the right or left of me, in a half infinite sign fashion, or maybe a concave swivel, or in some alternate universe may very well be able to actually leap over my half-terrified, half-accepting-death body, and I’d just go on my merry way, no harm done, have a nice day sir, we’re both at fault here, no need to worry, no need.
It’s the helmet hair though; I can’t bring myself to class looking like that. So much time in front of the mirror. A little globule of hair paste, it looks tangerine inside, the feel, it’s thick–what is it, not sure–I take a fingertip’s worth and it’s clear. Magic. Or, deceit. Maybe I bought it from a magic store, from an underscored mind, overshadowed by other more ubiquitous inventors, like Edison, or Franklin…what about…Nikola Tesla, yeah, that was it, I bought it from him, I remember he was amid electrical currents, time-space continuums and his notebooks, et al., as he painstakingly conjured up some sort of hair gel that changes color in the 0.3 seconds I will slip my finger in and out of the tube of gooey hair management and then out in the open air, where I am deceived; yet I pay homage to the great Tesla and his invention by slicking my hands through the backside of my cranium, so only the rear hairs stick up like I’ve been electrocuted, and the front into something more subtle and tame, parted over the sides, just like the master himself.
This look of mine, this reverence–I would not like to ruin it with a helmet.
So I leave the helmet to rust on the top of the back refrigerator, it’s consigned to posterity, or it will wither to dust and die, and one day maybe someone will come by the ruins of this old house and pick it up, examine it, maybe take it back to their labs and put on white lab coats and clear plastic lab goggles, for contamination purposes, of course, and maybe they won’t have white lab coats and clear, plastic goggles in the future…but we all want to perceive the future as something more familiar, yet our calculations so far have been sub par, like the matching Jetsons family garb, or Marty McFly’s hover board. Yes, I want all these things. But it looks like it won’t happen in my lifetime–such tragedy. And these future lab technicians, or future anthropologists, or maybe we’ll just have aluminum robot hands doing all of this work for us–surgeries, babysitting, film directing, etc., they’ll all be done by someone with a Nintendo remote controller from no less than 53 miles away, sitting on a recliner, one of those fold out kind, with the sparkly plastic linings, color options of course, and with a few toggles every once in a while they’ll manage to complete some crazy feat, like spinal surgery or successfully land a rover on Pluto (even though we don’t care about that planet anymore…moment of reflection…); and that God of Wonderful Feats–fondling a gray, plastic controller with multicolored buttons and joystick that gets stuck if you eat Doritos, or something akin to its sticky qualities–when you lick your fingertips to get all those salty, cheesy crumbs right off there–that’s when you really control this situation of yours, like it’s a boss level of a video game, all this practice, not for nothing!– they won’t care if they make a mistake because sure enough there will be space/time continuum options available, or maybe they’ll just call them “Re-dos”–for short, of course–because you may actually lose that tangible here/now time while fumbling with those three rather spacious words, and you’d just say “Re-do!” and be back in action like this mistake didn’t even happen.
…So the rain didn’t come. It never comes–things we prepare for, I guess, never come.
And when you don’t, you know, brace for some unfortunate set of quandaries that could, in all potentiality, send you flying into a wall of sheet metal, or a quarter-inch thick glass, or any and all possible items that whisk by us on our routine glide to class, there’s room for outliers. Transient malfunctions. Data transmission errors. Fraudulent behavior.
The sky turns on a dimmer guise now. Could be a staunch cold tonight.