A large man with a proportionately large afro shouted to me today that I was the most amazing thing he had seen in New York City.
Let me explain.
Some time ago, I spoke of my love of the Chicago Divvy bikeshare program in its infancy; the NYC version works just the same and upon arrival I became a key-carrying member. The bikeshare system has changed the way I relate to this city and I am most grateful for it.
In years past, I was a subway-taker, like everyone else in Manhattan who doesn’t have a driver. (This is most people, though in Manhattan, Those Who Are Chauffeured must be counted.) I had to admit to myself awhile back that even though the people-watching and the idea of the subway is cool to me, the actual subway makes me claustrophobic and neurotic. At least once per ride, I think of a skyscraper sighing down into the ground the moment I’m barreling underneath it and !squish! bye-bye Mary and everyone else who just wanted to go see a movie or whatever.
The other trouble with the subway in a city so intricate as New York is that I would descend into a hole and pop up out of another hole and miss the geography of the place. It’s hard for me to get the lay of the land that way; I need to knit together the streets, the blocks, the neighborhoods. As my main mode of transport is now the Citibike, this is solved. I am understanding this place in a way I never have before. And yes, I wear a helmet. You just have to wear one.
So back to Afro Man.
I like to wear heels. I’m the shortest in my family, so I took to wearing heels years ago and now it’s just a rule. I also like to be girly and fancy. I ride my bike in heels, too. Not all of my shoes are appropriate for this, but my knockin’ around town heels are. They even have little nubbly things for traction.
As I hopped onto a Citibike to go to the store for farmer’s cheese, I swung my leg up over the saddle of my horse-slash-bike, and my be-heeled feets began to push the pedals. I went about a half a block and slowed for a car to pass when the aforementioned large man with the aforementioned large afro called out to me from the sidewalk.
“High heels on a bike!” he whistled. “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen in New York City so far!” He laughed and shook his head.
I laughed, too. “You haven’t seen much yet,” I called after him, and rode away.