Hit by the Book

As a daily bike communer in Boston, I’ve grow used to being vigilant when biking, always alert for the person opening there door in front of me, the SUV approaching tool closely from behind, or the pedestrian about to step in front of me without looking. And I’ve been trying to moderate my adversarial, extreme sport attitude toward biking in the city, trying instead to imagine myself as engaged in an elaborate dance or as gliding Zen-like amid the energy of urban flows.

But as of this morning, I apparently now have to watch out for flying books. On my way to Cafenation, I was suddenly struck on the shoulder and arm by a paperback book thrown from the window of a passing yellow school bus. I was more stunned than hurt. Everything about it was wrong–that the perpetrator was a child, that it was a book that hit me, that it was aimed at a biker.

I was in a funk the rest of my ride, plunged into dark reflections on the state of the world and the prospects for next generation. But then I thought of Bike’s Not Bombs, where I just bought a bike last week, and I wished that book-hurling child could do the Earn a Bike program or one of the other youth training projects at BNB. Maybe then he (it must be a he) would love bikes and wouldn’t need to turn books into projectiles (though he had pretty good aim, i have to say). It was a utopian fantasy, perhaps, but it made me feel more hopeful biking might still add a little bit of peace to the world.