There are parallels between behavior in the book (or film), "On The Beach" and the pedicabbing business in New York City right now.
Today is Thursday, 11/19/09. This Saturday, the pedicab regulations will go into effect, and every pedicab will be insured and with a licensed driver. Until then, it's the Wild West.
Broadway Greenway Wrong-way
"On The Beach" is a Cold War book about the end of the world. The USA and the USSR released all their nukes, destroying each other, yes, but also poisoning all the air in the world. The last known American nuclear sub steams into a port in Australia for some R&R before they all die. All the Australians know they'll be dead in two weeks, too. There's a lot of suicidal behavior, because people would rather die quickly and in their own chosen way, than suffer two weeks of radiation sickness. Everyone knew that everyone was going to die.
This week, pedicab drivers are doing all the things they won't be able to, come Saturday. They're swerving on two wheels, taking passengers the wrong way on crowded Midtown streets, cutting off other pedicab drivers, running lights...you name it. They have only this week in which to make money before heading back to central Asia or wherever. Without a driver's license and a Social Security number, this week's driver is next week's unemployed. They're doing all they can to make all the money they can while they still can.
Yesterday I crossed the Broadway Greenway, stepping aside for a pedicab driver hauling two passengers up the hill the wrong way.
Hereafter, all licensed pedicab drivers can get traffic or criminal court tickets for their actions. And the companies they drive for will be held responsible for the actions of their drivers, so the companies have to hire responsible people.
But that's for the future. For now, feel free to run over pedestrian toes, zip in front of a city bus, and drive the wrong way on Broadway. It's typical behavior this week. Let's hope it doesn't continue into next.