In fact, I might be lauded for Doing My Part to Help The Environment.
But I live in an itty-bitty conservative town, where the only reason for an adult to ride a bicycle is if it’s stationary and positioned in front of a TV.
To make matters worse, I work with teenagers, who are the ultimate arbiters of cool. When I roll into the high school parking lot, an oversized goofy guy sporting a boxy bicycle helmet and a Goodwill Industries wardrobe, I can tell by the looks on their faces that I do not qualify.
Today’s teenagers are so much cooler than previous generations. When I was a teenager, you had to spend a certain amount of money on designer clothing in order to be cool.
These days, you can be cool simply by wearing black for 112 consecutive days. Or by wearing your hat sideways and jeans that are 14 sizes too large. Or by wearing anything that says “Abercrombie and Fitch” or “Old Navy.”
(If anyone wants to make a zillion dollars, start the next craze with a spoof clothing line called “Geriatric Navy.” I get 20 percent of your profits.)
Plus, teens now have their own language. In the past, they had a few representative words – “groovy,” or “dude” -- but adults could still decipher their meaning. Now, thanks to chat rooms and text messaging, teenagers communicate in a tongue that is entirely foreign:
BBALR5907: wow, itz noon & I jst got ^.
MECUTIE11942: hA, U wnt 2 git 2geder l8r?
BBALR5907: ya, wot R U doin s@RdA?
MECUTIE11942: Haha, I jst saw McK on Hs losa bYk. LMAO!
BBALR5907: POTS. ttyl.
In case you’re curious, “POTS” means “Parents Over the Shoulder,” LMAO means, “laughing my --- off,” and “ttyl” means “Talk To You Later.”
There are dozens of other lingo acronyms, too, such as “OMG” (Oh My God) and “PMBDYHAGPDM?” (Pardon Me, But Do You Have Any Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard?)
So most teenagers now are way cool (“kewl”), or at least they think they are. And Coolness Rule Number One is nobody comes to school on a bicycle unless your school is a clown college.
I wouldn’t be in this predicament if my car had held out a little longer. That’s right, the legendary 1992 Nissan Stanza is now kaput.
Of course, a car named after a section of a poem didn’t exactly make me the coolest member of the faculty, either.
(In 1992 Nissan fired the English teacher who was naming their cars. Good thing, because they were about to introduce the all-new Nissan Subordinate Clause. Instead, the Stanza became the “Altima,” which means, “chintzier version of the same thing.”)
You may wonder why I don’t just get another car. I suppose to truly be “cool” I should actually upgrade my vehicle, taking on irrational amounts of debt in order to do so.
But I don’t mind being different from the mainstream. Most Americans believe the ideal commuting vehicle is a Brinks truck.
I live four miles from work, and I’m an able bodied young-ish man; there’s no reason I can’t slow down and enjoy the scenery and the dull ache in my southernmost joints and muscles.
So my car is for sale. I’ve listed it in Uncle Henry’s, if you’re interested. It’s a 5spd, min. rust, 143k, needs wk. $600 OBO.