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26 March 2008

The Sound of Cycling

Nowheresville is making me paranoid. No, not in the Salinger-esque sense of reverse paranoia, whereby I suspect that Nowheresville is plotting to make me happy; no, rather, I live in constant fear of been mown down by the town's Killer Cyclists. This is particularly true on my walk into work, where the path is ambiguous between pedestrian- and cyclist-governed. This is bad a) at night when I can't see (still no proper lighting) and b) in the morning when the well-heeled yummy mummies of the nearby primary school are each cycling in with a small gaggle of Bonpoint-dressed enfants terribles riding a variety of equally small and expensive vehicles.

There is, at least, some respite this week thanks to the Easter Bunny, it seems, but pretty much every day, I have to ensure that the volume of my iPod is low enough so I can hear the particularly aggressive bell-ringing of the Killer Cyclists who just can't believe that pedestrians might dare to walk along a footpath or (if they do) to not immediately throw themselves out of the way so that Killer Cyclist doesn't need to slow down in their efforts to shave a few seconds off her PB.

So afraid am I that I will be knocked over (or, worse, knocked into the mud) that I have even started imagining the song of bike bells. It started in Disintegration, which does have the very faint sound of a bell in the background towards the end of the song and the first few times I heard it, I had to turn round to check that I wasn't about to be mown down. Now, though, I find myself noticing the bell even when I am listening to the song indoors - I still turn around to check that there is no cyclist behind me. Sometimes this happens even if I'm not listening to the song.

My hallucinations are spreading. After I recently rewatched The Departed, I downloaded some of the songs from the soundtrack, one of which I liked because it had the same Irish, jig-style choon playing in the background of a Great Big Sea song I discovered on Radio Paradise. Anyway, at the start of the Dropkick Murphys song, there is a sort of drawn-out, drony, cello (?) sound for a few seconds, which is almost the exact same pitch as my car radio produces when I am playing my iPod through the speakers and my mobile phone starts to ring. Even if I am listening to the song when I'm not in my car, instinctively, I still check my phone to see if it's ringing.

I guess I could ask Nowheresville City Council to add "cycle path demarcation" to the to-do list for said parkland walk but given that the more pressing lighting situation still hasn't been resolved, I am not hopeful. I guess it's just too much to ask to want to be able to blast one's ears full of one's latest playlist for precisely 12 minutes each morning, even if said blasting really clears one's mind and prepares one for the day ahead. Ah well; at least I will have all my limbs properly attached...

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