You know, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not all piss and vinegar when it comes to our crummy streets here in BensonWORST. I mean, I’m not just sitting here complaining about things and not coming up with intelligent ways to solve the problem, just like my hero, Diego Vega — Zorro to you nincompoops who don’t know the story — would do in this situation. I’ve offered up space-aged hovercrafts as a way to smoothly ride over our pot-hole-laden streets and sidewalks that remind me of the hills and dales of Scottland. Jeez. If I had one of those hovercrafts, I’d be in my glory — cruising up and down 86th Street under the el, drinking my space-aged Tang instant breakfast drink while waving to the cops walking the beat without even spilling a drop! What a life!
Alas, hovercrafts aren’t available for a reasonable price, and I’m stuck riding my scooter from one place to the next — or, should I say, TRYING to ride my scooter.
That’s because during some of the last few times I went out, my 300-pound-frame has been treated like a crash-test-dummy on the streets of Brooklyn. Yup, you guessed it. Twice, I’ve been victimized by horrible curb cuts that tipped over my scooter and dumped yours truly in lakes of water that should be reserved for Prospect Park.
If you don’t recall, let me fill you in (but pay attention this time!): It was freezing cold out and raining out and I was making my way up a curb cut to get back on the sidewalk on Stillwell Avenue. Before I knew what happened, I was flat on my side, mostly underwater, hoping the sharks wouldn’t start circling.
Semi submerged, trapped on my scooter, the first thing I did was remove my red, Zorro-esque scarf from my neck, absorbed some dirty water with it like a sponge, and threw it on the sidewalk. Then, I reached for my cellphone to call 911 — because I don’t have one of those button’s you press when you’ve fallen and can’t get up. But God knows I wish I did. You think I’d know better by now!
It was so cold and dark that night, and the street was so desolate. I figured there was no way in Hell (or, in this case, BensonWORST), was anyone going to help me. And I certainly wasn’t getting help from the city that put me into this situation!
“Are you hurt, do you require an ambulance?” asked the 911 operator.
Here I am, a 300-pound handicapped senior whose scooter knocked me into a filthy puddle of water, and I can’t get up. And they want to know if I’m OK.
“I don’t know,” I screeched into the phone. “I can’t feel anything in this cold. I need an ambulance or Police with a derrick — STAT!”
But before the city could get there to help me, Brooklyn did.
Fortunately for me, a young Mexican couple came from the Bay 50 St. Station walking home, they looked at me, stopped, and asked me. “Mister, do you need help, are you OK, Can I pick you up?”
Well, my answers, in order of their questions, were simple:
“Yes, I need help.”; “I’m NOT OK.”; and “No, you could never pick me up by yourself.”
His girlfriend told him to go to the newspaper store on the opposite corner and see if he could get more help.
Now, everybody tells me that newspapers are dead. So dead, in fact, that there’s a better chance that you’re reading this on the InterWeb in your living room than in print on your toilet. But, by the grace of God, that young man found four of his Spanish-speaking friends, and they came out and saved my life.
They renewed my faith in mankind. For the second time this year, they came to my rescue, picked me up, and gathered my belongings.
I scooted the three blocks to my apartment, calling my wife beforehand again to tell her to greet me with towels and hot soup.
Look, I don’t want to make a long story endless, but I’m in the market for a four-wheel scooter, which the egghead engineers who design these things say are much more stabile.
Plus, beginning today, I am starting a campaign to make sure our streets are passable without the help of Good Samaratans.
We’ve got to fill in the craters and get our streets back.
Wanna help me out? Great! If you see streets, sidewalks and highways that are dangerous or in dire need of repair, contact Assemblyman William Colton’s Office at 155 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223 or call (718) 236-1598, whose staff will forward your complaint to the city for fixing.
Or, if your not reading this on the toilet, simply click here. That link will take you where you gotta go.
Screech at you next week!