Tired of team sports and passing time in the BiblioCafé? Ready to put your spin class skills to good use? Here’s what you need to know to get started with the exhilarating campus pastime of people dodging.
Essentials: a bicycle (preferably one without brakes), swarms of pedestrians and a lapse in judgment. When to play: between classes while students and profs are milling about. Rules: pedal as fast as you can and weave through pedestrians like it’s going out of style.
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to get technical. Begin to cut your turns tighter, decrease your margin of error to centimetres and don’t forget to look back and give a big smile to the angry obstacles that you blast past. There is unlimited potential to get creative while showing people the ineffectiveness of walking.
No one has done any comprehensive research on the approximate life expectancy of a people dodger, but I expect it is not long. People dodgers are likely to incur serious injury, if not from the pavement, then from collisions with innocent bystanders.
Last winter, karma came full circle and I, a most seasoned people dodger, finally succumbed to the inevitable. Cruising to the Engineering / Computer Science Building, I approached three huddles of pedestrians. I swerved around the first two groups with ease. One of the female pedestrians gasped at my skill. I was just overtaking the third group while banking left when something went terribly wrong. My chain fell off while pedalling. Both feet slipped off of the pedals from the sudden drop in tension, and I shot over the handlebars like a kitten from a catapult. I landed hard on the pavement and then rolled into the bushes. My world went black.
I heard whispers, but kept my eyes closed. “I think he’s dead,” said the girl who had gasped at me. Eventually, I chose to use my sense of sight. I saw eight heads peering down at me — all the folks I had just obnoxiously overtaken. They asked if I needed help, and I was amazed that they were not kicking me while I was down. I figure they knew that I was already beaten.
I apologized and told them I was okay. And I lay there for a while. Everyone headed to class, and I was left in a crumpled mess. I was one with the bushes. The initial shock left, and a pain trickled up from my elbow — it was broken. It felt as though my arm was a stick that had been jammed in the spokes of a speeding bicycle.
I repressed the pain and went to my class.
Eventually, I got a ride to the hospital from a friend who couldn’t help but tell me, “You are so stupid.” I sat in the waiting room and began replaying the moments leading up to the crash: the ridiculous grin on my face, the goofy pink bike that I loved so much and the gasps from the mobs of walkers, which were music to my ears.
It is just like life to wipe away such happiness because of a simple technical difficulty.
Even weeks later, I had yet to get back on the saddle. Flashbacks haunted my dreams, and every time I saw bike racks, I shivered.
The moral of the story is simple. People dodge all you like — just don’t crash.