One of my favorite sections from Rachel Kushner’s #TheFlamethrowers

P9781439142011“I went down, strapped the duffel to the rear rack of the bike, and rode it over to the Bowery, to the Kastles’. It was my first ride through the streets of New York City, but on a bike I already knew. I had to watch out for potholes, and cabs that came to sudden stops, but crossing Broadway, zooming up Spring Street, passing trucks, hanging a left onto the Bowery, the broadness of the street, the tall buildings in the north distance, the sense of being in, but not of, the city, moving through it with real velocity, wind in my face, were magical. I was separate, gliding, untouchable. A group of winos in front of the Bowery hotel gave me the thumbs-up. At a stoplight, a man in the backseat of a cab, a cigarette hanging from his lips, rolled down his window and complimented the bike. He wasn’t coming on to me. He was envious. He wanted what I had like a man might want something another man has.

There was a performance in riding the Moto Valera through the streets of New York that felt pure. It made the city a stage, my stage, while I was simply getting from one place to the next. Ronnie said that certain women were best viewed from the window of a speeding car, the exaggeration of their makeup and their tight clothes. But maybe women were meant to speed past, just a blur. Like China girls. Flash, and then gone. It was only a motorcycle but it felt like a mode of being.”

–Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers

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