Acting out

So I went to check out the World Carfree Day “action” last night up at the Bunkr in Parukarka. First off, “action” is a weird term. Unprepared to commit to a “party”, but wishing to differentiate between their event and a dull old “screening”, the Czechs prefer to label their themed events as “actions”. Reminiscent of either a porn shoot or the political demonstrations of yore, which nominally helped achieve emergence from the Dark Days ® much the same way anti-globalization protests have helped slow the unsustainable linear growth of consumer capitalism, “actions” are universally misnomers. They consist of a surly gathering of young hipsters in training using some sort of “cause” to justify getting loaded on a Tuesday.

This one was no different. To start with, the Carfree network and Greenpeace (whose tables of glossy literature tended to by strident young girls choked the submarine-esque passages of the club like a scene from a Zucker brothers take on “The Hunt for Red October”) chose to host the action in a subterranean nuclear shelter under the Parukarka hill. Those commie nuclear emergency planners didn’t include bicycle parking for some reason, leaving folk who rode their bikes to the biking “action” the unpalatable option of locking up in the dark, shit-stained corner of the above ground muster point, whips secure under the watchful eyes of the hordes of crank heads scouring the hill for cigarette butts and exposed places to urinate.

Honza will keep an eye on your bike while you enjoy the "action"

Honza will keep an eye on your bike while you enjoy the "action"

There’s something oddly idiosyncratic about choosing an underground bomb shelter to host a bike “action”. That idiosyncrasy is bolstered by the “regulars”, who appear to have been parked at the bar, smoking eternal Marlboro Reds for the last 25 years. It’s entirely possible that some of these folks have been sitting around longer than that, since the bunker was originally used by the Czech secret police to interrogate dissidents.

Interrogating dissidents

Secret Police interrogating dissidents

Attending an "Action"

Attending an "Action"

Now, I’m a smoker – an avid smoker, even (boo, hiss), but even I can see the downside of 100 people smoking in an unventilated room 70 meters underground. Doesn’t take a genius. I was off before the crowds arrived, having sprinkled the place with fliers advertising for my friend Leo’s stolen bike.

I hopped back on and rode back homeward, only to be “surprised” by a delivery van that chose to hover about half a meter from my rear wheel all the way through Vinohrady, despite the fact that I gave him ample space to pass. Was it Half a Man in a Yellow Van? Could I get lucky twice in a one-week period? Anticipating some discussion, I took the time to “hawk up some loogy goodness” for him. I finally pulled off the road after an agonizing 7 blocks of the motor revving treatment, only to see a smiling Vietnamese guy behind the wheel. He waved and passed me by, intent on catching up to say hi to the old lady coaxing her dachshund through the crosswalk 50 meters on.  At times like those, the inevitable Carfree future is not so hard to imagine. I guess the action worked after all.

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~ by themicah on September 23, 2009.

One Response to “Acting out”

  1. […] BFF was dilettantish entertaining, but one of those actions that makes me think, “hey, this is a great action, but why am I not outside riding my bike […]

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