Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bike Count!

This afternoon I sat outside the Casbah Café at the corner of Sunset and Hyperion for two and a half hours, sipping cold mint tea, twitching to the disco sound of ELO, and making little hash marks with a pen on some funny diagrams to indicate the passage of bicyclists and pedestrians through the intersection. That's right, I did a shift for LACBC's bike count, the first in this city!

Turns out I'm rare, at least in Silverlake, since I'm a helmet-wearing, bike-riding girl. Only about one lady cyclist went by for every five guys on bikes. And helmets? Ack, don't crush the hair! Or whatever reason people have, they're eschewing helmets like crazy.

I saw a lot of Chicano teenagers, all boys, on bikes, breaking out some bricolage with their gangbanger attire and monochrome fixies. Most didn't fuss with traffic laws. Oh to have the lust for danger that courses through a teenage boy! Scratch that, I'd probably get into waaay more verbal altercations with drivers.

As I listened to "Confusion" for about the tenth time, I thought about other things it would be fun to count:
- Number of people walking around with iced drinks in hand
- Number of people walking with friends or by themselves
- Who violates traffic laws more, cars or peds or bikes?
- Number of cars occupied by just one lonely person
- Number of pampered pooches using crosswalks

Many people passed through the intersection more than once. It was a pretty fun site to watch cause there's a lot of struttin' that happens along Sunset. I saw several bunches of teen girls holding their asses out at a juicy angle, the better to look uninterested behind their oversized shades. As a young person better schooled in Portland hipsterdom, I find LA hipsters too processed for my taste; where in Portland you'd find a soft fuzz, here there's a bunch of dead hair poking out of a suit that isn't quite old enough to be interesting. In Portland there are worn out sneakers, here there are stressed jean cutoffs. And butts come out a lot more here, that's for damn sure! Hot stuff.

After my shift was done, and I thought my eyes were going to bug out from all the concentrating, I went into Kelly Green down the street and bought some eco bourgie stuff. One of the people I'd seen walking a dog across the street like five times was in the shop, so we chatted, and I found out that the bike count was covered on NPR (nice work LACBC women!). She also sheepishly admitted that she was only out walking cause she'd lost her car keys. Ha! Well, she chose the right time to walk around her neighborhood, cause I got her down for like four solid crossings.