Texting, talking, or tapping on your cellphone while you ride your bike proves that you're a solipsistic robot slave to your own self-importance, because only a robot slave would gamble their cold, mass-produced organs on an inbox refresh.
Second to money (The Almighty), New Yorkers make most of their decisions based on what will save them time and agony. Subway pre-walking is an evolutionary response to fetid commutes and inflated self-worth. No need to choose between doing your laundry and making the happy hour cutoff—bring your hamper to the bar.
Cellphone usage and cycling fit nicely into this line of reasoning. What's more efficient than conveying your thoughts and your body at the same time?
This isn't efficiency, it's madness.
Even if your life was an intricate, urgent melange of PDF attachments and dropped pins to Grandma (it's not) these are hardly reasons not to pull over and conduct your "business" away from the demanding realm of reality, where giant machines crush pavement and bone, where puddles prompt swerving and noses demand itching and where just about everything is overwhelmingly less predictable than the thing in your phone.
Whether it's the one-handed red light special, the "I'm responsibly yelling my problems into these nice white earbuds," or the Two Hands, Three Things (handlebars, like scalpels, tend to reflect poorly on the person holding them in the same hand as a smartphone), these malevolent modalities are a cry for help.
In a city this big there is an understandable desire to live in a constant state of readiness, to be a vibrating electron of productivity and strength, to act instead of react, to assert some measure of control over our pinball existence. To fucking doubletap that shit because you're a mercury-blooded God with the wind in your hair.
To be the guy in the photo above.
Drivers who use their cellphones behind the wheel are "Assholes" because they put petty convenience above the social fabric they're hurtling through, why should cyclists be any different?
Somehow in the eyes of the law, they are. While it's illegal to wear more than one headphone while riding a bicycle, the state DOT's website merely tells us to "never" do it. Not that we need another reason to be pulled over on a bike, but give me an Idaho Stop and take away my cellphone privileges.
Earlier this week as I biked over the Manhattan Bridge, I saw a woman on a Citi Bike swerve her way down the off-ramp, her handlebars fluttering gingerly like a baby deer's legs. When I pulled closer to her, I saw that she was trying to manipulate her smartphone's map with her right thumb and peer into the dimmed, sun-glared abyss while she made the tight turn.
"Can you tell me how to get to Greenpoint?"
My jaw unclenched and I explained the route; she popped her phone into her purse and rode with alacrity.