Cycle of Abuse

PhilipD's picture
Submitted by PhilipD on Thu, 2018-03-08 07:05

“I’ve got the power,” bellows a squat, sour-faced woman from her bicycle. Four boys, dead-eyed and sullen, follow behind in fluro-vests and safety-helmets.

“I’ve got the power,” she yells again as she thrusts out an arm to signal a left turn. The boys signal too, and then, on her command, they pull silently to the side of a quiet street in suburban Christchurch.

There the woman, as ugly as a bagful of busted boils, issues instructions. It’s hard to know what the boys, 10 or 11 years old, are thinking; they stare impassively ahead as they listen to the moustachioed todger dodger before them. Their silence makes me uneasy; boys, outside, on bikes, with friends, quiet?

The young 'uns are taking part in the Christchurch City Council’s ‘Cycle Safe programme.’ It all happens during school hours. “An average time span for delivery would be six or seven 90 minute modules,” reads the council’s website.

But these boys all know how to ride a bicycle-they’ve been doing it for years, you know they have. Taught, as they should be, by their parents. But that’s not good enough for the cabbage-headed kooks in government. A programme is needed, one that gives government approval.

For the next 20 minutes the boys practice signalling and stopping on the same quiet stretch of road. It’s a joyless exercise and they are strangely unconfident and robotic under an official eye. And when they do speak it’s in a whisper, rather than in a boy’s roar. "Let rip with a fart," I want to tell them, “Give some lip, throw a wheelie, ride with no hands,” I should say.

But I don't and they do exactly as they are told. Has government already captured them? Perhaps they think that the ‘personalised(Christchurch City Council) certificate highlighting their achievements,’ is worth more than the fart in a jar it really is?

I haven’t worked out what she with a-face-like-a-stopped-clock, ‘I’ve got the power,’ chant was all about. Was it some sort of team building mumbo-jumbo. Or, was she trumpeting what she knows to be fact: she and her employer call the tune and there is fuck all that these four white males will ever do about it. They have been chewed up, now it’s only a matter of spitting them out.


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