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maura @ 9:41 pm

I didn’t ride my scooter to work all last week, because the week before I took a spill. I know, I know, why didn’t I tell you, internets? Well, I was (understandably, I think) embarrassed: as I keep saying, the only thing dorkier than an old lady in an orange helmet riding a kick scooter is the same eating it on the broken pavement near the Atlantic Center. Duh. It wasn’t the end of the world — a couple of small scrapes and a bruised shoulder and a chunk out of one hand, and thankfully the worst of it is on my left side (I’m right handed).

With my (minor) injuries I’ve been walking to work the past week or so. It’s funny how sloooooow it seems to me now when I walk to work. It only takes 40-ish minutes, but it’s easily twice the time it takes me to scoot. (Though I’m pretty sure that walking is better exercise, even with the uphill scoot home.) I do listen to podcasts or music during the walk, which I can’t do when I scoot, but it still seems long and a little boring.

Until I get to the art, that is. Then things get more interesting. You may have seen this story in the Times last week about the rise of pop-up art galleries in vacant storefronts around the city. I know it’s not a good thing to have vacant storefronts, but I have to admit that I vastly prefer the art.

I actually walk by two of the galleries mentioned in the Times piece. The first is a long stretch of storefronts with a ton of space, and lots of interesting sculpture and paintings inside. Right next door is an Applebee’s* which just increases the artistic tension, as far as I’m concerned. The Kenny Scharf mural (photo in the Times) is there, and a weird industrial chunky sculpture that’s all wood and oil drums and pipes and water. There’s also the melting waffle from the plaza near my work! I was so glad to see it — it disappeared from the plaza a few weeks ago and I’ve missed it.

* I’ll never get used to this Applebee’s being there. It’s so incongruous.

The second set of gallery spaces is smaller but also pretty cool. There are a couple of pieces with an anti-consumerist bent, which I totally groove on. It’s also nice that the old store signs were left above each storefront; the 1 Hr Photo, Check Cashing and Taco Rico signs really add to the effect. One of my favorite pieces has a table with two chairs and a huge jello mold on it. It’s the spiritual sibling of the enormous melting waffle. Go weird big food art, go!

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bernice runs for her train

maura @ 10:38 pm

Wait, I was going to tell you about bicycles, wasn’t I?

I’ve wanted a bike for a while.* For green reasons, health reasons, fun reasons. But I haven’t been able to get myself to buy one. Partly it was a money thing: when we were on our eXtreme library school budget it didn’t seem properly thrifty to buy a bike. But there are other reasons too.

* I had a bike in college, but I didn’t use it for transportation as much as for health/fun rides along the lake between Hyde Park and the Loop. It’s a beautiful ride (and easy, too). But then the bike didn’t fit into the Uhaul when we moved east after college, so it lingered in the Midwest until Jonathan’s stepfather finally gave it to Goodwill (with my blessing!).

Reason #1: Can’t seem to find the time to go to a bike store. This is kind of lame, but bicycles are complicated and expensive, and it seems like it would take several time-intensive trips to a bike store to get one. I guess if I really wanted one I would make the time, right? Which leads me to…

Reason #2: See above re: complicated. I have a hard enough time doing maintenance work on the house and the car — it’s just not something that interests me. And I would feel bad about spending money on bike tune-ups when I could (theoretically) DIY.

Reason #3: What if the bike gets stolen? Would I have to get 3 million locks? What about the seat? I see some bikes with no seat — are they stolen or taken away by their owners for security reasons?

Reason #4 (possibly the most neurotic reason, certainly the most important): Brooklyn streets are full of cars driving recklessly. And, for that matter, they are also full of hardcore cyclists biking in a hardcore manner. I am not the world’s most graceful person. Reckless cars + hardcore cyclists + 1 klutzy cyclist who hasn’t really ridden a bike in nearly two decades cannot possibly = a good, safe commute.

But it’s getting too hot to walk every day. And it would be nice to have the commute be a little shorter, thus freeing me up to not take the subway home.

Enter: my new xootr! 0 learning curve. Can be ridden on the sidewalk. 100% fun. Also 100% dorky, esp. when I wear my orange helmet (yes, I know this is blue, but they don’t seem to have orange anymore). Jonathan said: “you look as cool as if you were riding a Segway.” And he’s right!

Just to really drive the dorkiness home, yesterday on my way to work I passed a little boy who exclaimed to his mom, “wow, cool!” Yes, even the first graders think I’m cool. AWESOME.

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