After a Fashion
What kind of peddler is Stephen going off on this week? Hint: This year's Halloween may not haunt our Style Avatar's future, but running over a bicyclist would.
A HALLOWED EVE Halloween night brought us to Cindy Morgan's fabulous home on West Lake's aptly named Ridgecrest Drive. Madame Morgan, of the swank but dearly departed women's emporium Morgan's, is a wonderful and ebullient hostess, as well as being an excellent graphic designer and artists' rep. Mme. Morgan was so garishly turned out, that I'm anxious to see what she really looks like. Dressed as an autumnal sprite, one of Morgan's artists, renowned portraitist Katy Nail, introduced herself to me, telling me how proud she and her daughter Carrie Rodriguez (and Carrie's musical partner Chip Taylor) had been upon reading my sister Margaret's recent review of Carrie and Chip's new album. She was a pleasure to meet. With a faaabulous view from the deck, I held court with the elegant Adam Berlin (formerly of 81/2 Souvenirs) and a host of others. Bon vivant Joel Mozersky and the charming new-in-town writer Mark Sullivan came as Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, respectively. Joel's paramour Ted Allen came as the conjoined Egyptian twins, with a baby doll attached to his head. Mark Ashby appeared as John McEnroe, Neil Diaz as a Goth football player, and Gail Chovan and Evan Voyles as Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (wearing a T-shirt that said, "Dude, where's my mom?"). Michael Miller and Karen Linder came as a waitress and a housekeeper, both bearing aprons and carafes of coffee, Kyra Quenan as a glamorous Jackie Onassis, and Suzy Spurlock as the newly blond Serena Williams. Kirk Haines (of the Service men's boutique) came as a hysterical Liza Minnelli, and boyfriend James Newman came as an aerobics instructor, replete with lots of blond hair. My outfit wasn't too much of a stretch -- I went as a Long Island divorcée, wearing a white fur coat, glittering blouse, waaay too much jewelry, and of course huge sunglasses. Sounds like something you'd see me wearing any night of the week.
THE ROAD TO RUIN The stunt of three Clear Channel Worldwide radio station deejays urging the public to throw rocks and bottles at bicyclists was a stupid routine that was meant to be funny -- and might have been if it were in the context of a private conversation, but instead brought accusations of inciting violence. In addition to opening the car door as the cyclist approaches, another recommendation was to slam on your brakes in front of them. Rightfully, cyclists and the businesses that support them were outraged, and advertisers pulled their ads from the stations and cyclists organized protests. While most riders are law-abiding citizens, it is an all-too-common case where a few make it bad for them all. Of course, according to the law, bicycles have the right of way, and personally, I give them lots of room when I see them on the road. They can be as unpredictable as drivers are, and also do stupid things like drivers do. Driving up South Lamar one night, traffic suddenly came to a crawl as one lane was forced to merge into the other. Was it construction that slowed the dozens of cars? No! It was a cyclist weaving down the center of the lane, peddling just as fast as he could. But even peddling that fast, the cyclist was waaay below the speed limit and presented a dangerous traffic hazard. But he had the right of way, and was determined to prove that to the drivers. Really stupid. Another case of bad judgment was illustrated by a woman on Barton Springs Road, peddling along the side, pulling one of those rolling attachments that carried her child and her dog. A charming picture, but she was so far from the curb and her little trailer was so wide that drivers in the right lane had to ease over into the left lane to avoid her. And she too was oblivious to the honking and yelling at her to ride more safely (even from one car that was sporting a "Give Bikes the Right" bumper sticker) -- but she had the right of way. On Riverside, one guy was peddling along at a fast clip -- wearing all black, in the dark, and with no illumination whatsoever. Hitting a large rock in the road, the bike flipped, depositing the rider on the sidewalk -- fortunately. If he'd been tossed in the other direction, the site would now be one of those roadside memorials with crosses and plastic flowers. As a driver, these kinds of incidents make me very cautious -- and angry. No driver wants to be made into a killer because some cyclist thinks the law will protect him or her from a much larger motorized vehicle bearing down on them. Drivers can behave just as stupidly, but as any drivers' manual will tell you, right of way is something that's given, not taken. And it is the invincible attitude of some riders that can easily take the sentiment of "Give Bikes the Right" and turn it into "Give Bikes the Finger."