“Why are they publishing this Crier rubbish?” you may be asking. We certainly are. The rest of this edition of Mountain Xpress can’t help but show the tough times WNC is facing. Here’s one little spot in the paper where we offer a bit of levity, to possibly brighten someone’s day, poking a bit of fun at the outrageousness of it all.
Safety first (…or at least third)
Itching to get back outside so badly that you’ve developed a rash? Looking to shed the “COVID-19” that’s accumulated around your midsection since quarantine began? As public spaces slowly reopen, area Parks and Recreation departments are working together to develop safe exercise practices to keep residents fit and functioning during these unprecedented times:
- The increase in bicycle activity on Asheville’s roads has led to the passage of a long-tabled law. Under the Edsel Act, cyclists must swear a magical blood oath to follow the rules of the road — just as any car would do — on streets with no bike lanes. Should they weave in and out of stopped traffic on their way to the front of the line, use sidewalks at will, disregard traffic lights or otherwise act the fool, the pedalling perpetrator will be transformed into the failed vehicle of their choosing for the remainder of existence. At press time, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was the most popular option.
- Pick-up basketball games are now allowed with a maximum of three people on each team. Players sanitize and step into an adjustable harness, which has three clip-in loops for carabiners attached to climbing ropes inside thin, 6-foot long plastic tubes — connecting each player to his/her three opponents while ensuring proper social distancing is practiced. The teams then move up and down the court in what Parks & Rec officials have dubbed “a molecular fashion,” otherwise adhering to normal game rules, though players are invited to call a range of new NBA-approved fouls, including “tube bumping” and “whiplash.” Kevin Garnett-level trash-talking is also encouraged.
- Once confined to the nursery set, the “walking rope” is now catching on among groups of friends. With each member of the party holding onto a socially-distanced handle, gaggles of gal pals or bunches of bros can stroll together while easily maintaining a consistent and noninfectious spacing. Just remember: no arguing over who gets to be the line leader!
- If you encounter another hiker on WNC’s plentiful trails, treat him or her as you would a black bear: raise your arms, stand your ground and project loud noises. The first hiker to behave in this manner may continue on the path, while the slower responder must emit their best confused ursine bellow and retreat to the woods. Once the winning hiker is out of sight, the trek may resume.
- As packs of pedestrians claim dominion over largely empty neighborhood streets, drivers of the Toyota Prius (“the official car of Asheville”) are unintentionally startling zoned-out walkers and joggers, who don’t hear the vehicles’ nearly noiseless approach. So that walkers may receive proper warning and get the hell out of the way, city law now requires Prius drivers to have whistle tips welded inside their vehicles’ muffler at any of the numerous Bubb Rubb and Lil’ Sis’ auto parts shops, We Do It For Decorations. The whistles go “woooo!” — and not only in the morning, like an alarm clock, when you’re supposed to be up cooking breakfast or something.
- Golf: played the normal way. Apparently it’s safe at any time, if the continued operation of local courses throughout the crisis is any indicator.