On Sunday I went to a club banquet with Sausage. I rode over to his place, changed into my clean t-shirt and jeans that were clean a couple of weeks ago, and climbed into the passenger seat of his Fahrvergnuegenwagen 12-cylinder hi-performance luxury SUV.
The seats were leather. The dash was leather. The radio was leather. And when he pushed down on the gas pedal the Fahrvergnuegenwagen jumped like a stallion straining at the reins. We went around corners smoothly, the leather suspension absorbing LA’s terrible potholes as if they were mere pockmarks.
I sank back into the leather commander’s chair and rubbed my feet against the leather floor mats. Such a difference from my Prius, with its 142,039 miles and in which everything is made not from leather but from bits and pieces of plastic. I imagined the glory of sporting around town in that Fahrvergnuegenwagen, gaily hopping out of the leather driver’s seat in my leather pants, handing a leathery $20 to the garkon, doffing my leather porkpie hat to the girls all clad in leather, and taking the elevator up to my office on the penthouse suite.
But reality jolted me back when we passed a sagging Prius as it huffed and puffed its way up a 2% grade. I looked in the window at the penny-pinched fellow in his mid-40’s, hunched over the wheel, racked and smacked by every crack in the road as he anxiously re-calculated how many hundreds of thousands of Prius miles he’d have to drive to save enough money for the first two months of his son’s first year in college.
Or maybe not. Maybe he was simply Priusing because he liked small and he liked being able to park on something smaller than the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and he didn’t even have any kids or want any and the money he saved on gas he used to buy full carbon wheels that were made of 100% carbon.
I smiled and waved at him as we passed, which was highly unnatural, and what was odder, he smiled and waved back.
“Who am I,” I thought, “to judge someone by the car he drives?”
Which brings us to Santa Barbara, where they have a big morning weekend ride filled with bicyclists who are not only important, but who are terribly impressed with their own importance. Or rather, Importance. Best, IMPORTANCE.
This will sound unbelievable when I write it, but they express their IMPORTANCE by heckling riders going the other direction who have dared to venture out on their bicycles without conforming to the Dress and Equipment Code. Happy bicyclists who pass these IMPORTANT riders are verbally abused for being fat, or for riding dorky bikes, or for wearing the wrong things.
They have vented their IMPORTANCE at ordinary riders and extraordinary ones, pack behavior and poor manners exhibited by fellows whose life necessities are paid for by mommy and daddy and whose career trajectories surely include podium steps at the Tour or at least Ontario.
The traffic suddenly snarled and the Prius was stuck in a stopped lane. Sausage eased off the gas and let the Prius in. They exchanged waves.
“Now how hard was that?” I thought.
For the Santa Barbarians, it’s apparently hard. Very, very hard.
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