As some of you know, my workplace — currently a brisk, 2-mile walk from my home (or a 5-minute bus ride, if the weather is inclement) — is moving to
the Dark Side of the Moon sorry, some soulless industrial park in the @$$-crack of nowhere …F*ck it, here’s a screen shot:
Which means that my commute is going to increase by…oh, about an hour or so. Since the Flying Eggplant is probably not up to a daily 9-5*, my transit options are: take 2 buses — first the 10, whose passengers jeer at/threaten you if you pull the “stop requested” cord at any point before the bus reaches Durham Station, followed by the 12, about which nothing is known — and then cross a multi-lane highway before hiking up to the building itself, which has lots of trees and not so many street lights, signs, or pedestrian crossings.
Approximate time to destination: 53 minutes (not including wait times)
Or, I could bike the scenic American Tobacco Trail and get muggered — which is a combination of mugging, sexual assault, and murder.
Approximate time to destination: 45 minutes, or NEVER.
I’ll most likely be busing it, although I am considering the cycling option. However, my solution to the muggering problem — which only I seem to think is a brilliant one — is a sturdy used commuter bike and a wrist-mounted crossbow.
“Buy a real car,” said Just About Everyone I Know, to which I responded: “WITH WHAT MONEY?”
“I think maybe that’s not a great idea,” said My Therapist**, even AFTER I outlined the tech specs — for example, it’s got laser sighting, which will improve my aim. (Also, it’s seriously bad@$$.)
Finally, my coworker KBJ, applying her formidable intellect and diligence to the problem, suggested this contraption, which was just reviewed in the News & Observer with the (somewhat telling) title “Hobbit-sized, 3-wheeled Elf cycle ready to hit the road.” At first glance, it looks like the $4,000-dollar offspring of a tricycle and a Cozy Coupe. Except that it has an electric motor and runs on a combination of electricity and pedaling. Also, it costs four grand. It apparently has a rooftop solar panel, but not — it would seem — windows. And it costs four thousand bucks. But fear not, the article informs potential buyers that “future editions are expected to feature a range of options, such as anti-theft locks, tracking chips, internal heaters and deluxe seat styles.”
Which is to say, if you’re willing to fork over the extra cash, you can LOCK YOUR VEHICLE.
Ah, but how does it run? To answer these questions, here are some choice quotes from the article:
“The electric motor at first pulls like an excitable beagle tugging on a leash – until the driver develops the supple wrist necessary to control the throttle.”
Okaaaaayyyy…so, I guess they’re saying it would be like the pedicab version of walking the Boxhound? Gee, that sounds fun. I wonder if it will randomly start leaping in circles and then romp into oncoming traffic, the way ours does?
‘”It’s more like a sports car from the 1950s,” [adds] company co-founder Rob Cotter, 56. “A British sports car.”‘
Which is the kind of damning-with-faint-praise that would probably inspire the hosts of Top Gear to take at least a five minute break from their busy schedule of bloviating and gay panic-laced banter to piss themselves laughing.
But this shouldn’t deter anyone — because it’s stylish! At least, that’s what the article says as it describes the ELF: “With two LED headlamps peering out of an aerodynamic shell, the vehicle resembles one of those ultra-sleek streetcars that ply the streets of modern European capitals.”
Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that it resembles one of those rattletrap 3-wheelers with which Europeans have a decidedly love-hate relationship. Besides, if Mr. Bean can take out one of these suckers (and in a Mini, no less!), I don’t know if it stands a chance on the mean streets of Durham…or even the nice streets, which still aren’t, relatively speaking, that nice.