Rides 11/11: Literary Allusion

Veterans Day. I'm so glad that as a country we have a national holiday to honor the men and women who take care of sick animals. USA!

The National Mall has been closed for the Concert for VALOR for about a week now and was closed this morning and again this evening (very much more closed, as tonight was when the concert for VALOR actually was) and so I rode along Pennsylvania Avenue, which wasn't really closed, but maybe a little impeded by road signs telling drivers that other roads were closed. Those mobile road signs, the kinds that hackers sometimes get to announce the presence of zombies, were placed in the bike lane and that wasn't maybe the best place for them, at least as far as my perspective as a bicyclist was concerned. Here's a digression that has nothing to do with the preceding sentence:

You can't really tell people to eat broccoli because broccoli is good for them and healthy and pretty tasty and then boil the crap out that broccoli under it's gray and disgusting and then wonder why barely anyone eats broccoli. Thus concludes this digression about broccoli.

On Pennsylvania, at 24th, I was in the middle of the right lane waiting at a red light, when a woman behind me, driving a BMW SUV, decided to pull around me into the middle lane and then make a right turn in front of me from the center lane and as she pulled in front of me she said aloud and I guess to me 'TURNING RIGHT!' as I looked up upon noticing that a driver was making a right turn in front of me from the center lane. I said "OK!" What's there to say? It's not really my dispensation to give.

Wisconsin Avenue becomes less fun for bicyclists when there's parking allowed in the right lane. You could say that the road narrows, but really the road stays the same exact size and what actually happens is that one third of the road is given over to car storage and that means less room for the actual movement of people. Roads rarely narrow.

I thought about avoiding the concert for VALOR and riding home on a route far from it, but at the last minute, I decided that I'd chance it and take the normal way home. Traffic was light, but not much lighter than usual, on Massachusetts and 21st and L. I mean, there were still places where people had to stop because much like many of us, red lights didn't get the day off. Unfair.

Pennsylvania Avenue wasn't terrible. It was half-closed, which is I think the worse than totally open, but also worse than totally closed. Half-closed is tricky. Half-closed invites liberties. Half-closed leads to bad decisions. Totally open, i.e. normalcy, tend to tamp those down. Totally closed precludes them entirely. Half-closed beckons mischief.

Some things I've learned about interacting with the state security apparatus on days when parts of the city are closed:

1. Asking ahead of time if you can go is better than assuming you can. So, ask.
2. Be polite. No one ever went broke from saying please.
3. Ask direct yes/no questions about whether something is open or not. (Really, they have more important things to worry about than untangling the syntax of an overly complicated question)
4. Don't ask 'why?' Why you can't go a certain way is totally beside the point. Assuming the officers know, which is beside the point entirely, the 'why' isn't going to matter. If it's closed it's closed. Just keep moving.

Pennsylvania Avenue was closed at 3rd . I rode up Constitution which was open and pretty empty which is pretty cool, since normally at rush hour it's kind of a bear for bicyclists as drivers speed and there's no space set aside for bicyclists. At the top of the hill, I turned on First and then East Capitol and home. Maybe the Mall will be open again tomorrow, but probably not.

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