Last week I got rear-ended by a car while biking south under the Hiawatha Avenue overpass on Cedar. I was chatting with a friend about a movie. I asked him a question, but before he could answer I was rolling back onto the hood of a silver Chevy Malibu. My head shattered the windshield from one side to the other, and as the driver braked I was ejected about a dozen feet onto the road ahead.
There was something so in keeping with the boorish nature of cars in how it happened: not only was I assaulted and thrown to the ground, I was rudely interrupted. It felt less civilized than a drunken bar fight, which at least has a spark of intent. The desultory violence of cars is more base than the shit-hurling of the dumbest ape.
It’s important to strip away the numb familiarity and see cars for the relentless tide of degradation that they bring. That’s what I did when I limped from my house to retrieve my bike from the scene the next day.
If you look carefully you can see a piece of my red tail-light, unlike the guy who ran into me.