Video Digest: September 21, 2007

Many people going very, very fast: Meave Gallagher on lunatic children, water-skiiers without shoes, a bicycling Rocketeer, modern downhill racers, dancers with spring in their step, Slovenian bad-asses, speed recitation, and a child who is glad he or she wore a helmet.

Coming home from work the other day, I saw a couple on a bicycle, speeding down 24th Street. Not the steepest of hills, but 24th heading out of Noe Valley towards the Mission is a street pedestrians try to avoid. These two looked fearless. The teenage girl was sitting on the bicycle properly, and the boy seemed to be positioned in front of her, standing on the pedals. The grins on their faces were enormous, pushed wider by the wind that blew through their hair, free of any helmet-like constraints. They scared the shit out of me. In honor of those two lunatics and their frightening joy (Ängstlichefreude), I present you with: People Going Fast.

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Little-girl me loved to throw my arms out, tilt my head back, and spin in circles, moving faster and faster until I collapsed. Look what toddlers of today can do with modern technology.

Water-skiing is for only the hardest-core of us. Barefoot water-skiers are practically higher beings.

If The Rocketeer had had a bicycle, maybe he wouldn’t have had to rely so heavily on gum.

Skiing is a fast sport. Ski racing is zooming downhill on two thin blades, swooshing around obstacles (gates, rocks, other skiers), trying to get to the end as quickly and gracefully as possible. I hate skiing more than any other sport I’ve been talked into trying. It is the scariest, wettest, most dangerous and pointless thing I have ever done and by god I will never do it again. I still love watching it on TV, though.

No, speed isn’t all careening around and flashy moves and fancy outfits and helmets. Sometimes the gracefulness of doing something complicated very very fast doesn’t involve helmets at all. Fancy outfits, though, definitely.

Slovenians: surprisingly talented extreme downhill bikers, amateur filmmakers, and music video producers.

Wouldn’t it be great if this is what you got when you opened the door to some religious proselytizer?

Finally, if you must go fast, especially down a hill, please wear a helmet.

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