Wednesday, February 15, 2006

For Whom the Bell Does Not Toll

Some times I ride my bike to work. This puzzles my co-workers and generally solidifies my standing as a hippie curiosity who never does anything like normal people do. But more about that later.

My story today involves my perky little bike bell. A bicycle bell, like a car horn, is meant to warn people in your line of travel to move, get out of the way, draw attention to oneself, etc. I like my bell, it's loud, got a full-bodied chime, and reminds me of an ice-cream truck. Now if only my little ding-a-ling spoke Spanish. Yep you heard me, my bike bell is understandable only to English speakers. Every time I ride on the sidewalks (which I am want to do since Miami has no bike lanes and really what suicidal person would ride on the actual street in Miami, it's like a 3-D video game with flying hubcaps and other detritus) and I see a pedestrian and give my usual 20-yard ring and then as I slowly sidle up the person's behind I ring AGAIN and still the person does not turn around or move out the way until I come to a full stop or swerve onto the grass only to be met by a startled "Que fue eso?" or, the local favorite, "Putta di madre!" The fact that this does not happen with English speakers (who DO heed the bell, and move to the side) leads me to believe that my beloved bell is not ESL friendly. Or maybe all those people are deaf.

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