On July 20, the electric scooter company Bird blanketed the streets of Cambridge and Somerville with over 100 dockless chaos machines. The corporation did not ask the City Council’s permission, of course, because in a world where civic responsibility is subsumed under a mindless economic engine there is nothing for Big Scooter to do but disrupt and destroy, chewing a fragmented society over and over like a mother Bird masticating worms for her mewling young.
Riding a Bird scooter is as easy as 1-2-3! One: swallow all of your pride like a pelican gulping down a floppy squid and stare with your beady, soulless eyes at the Bird you wish to mount. Two: unlock the Bird with the app, you mindless automaton, you soulless robot, you husk of flesh which requires transportation.
Like a Canada goose driven by a genetic urge to migrate, forces outside of your control are driving you to ride this patwhetic electric scooter down the bike lane like a coward. Three: just leave the Bird scooter wherever you want, because there is no reason to be responsible! Like a long-tailed tit using its beak to crack open a nut and eat the succulent nutmeat, the Bird corporation is cracking the shell of American culture and eating all the juicy tidbits that have not yet decayed. Everything is meaningless, actions are completely divorced from consequences, and a contract laborer is there to clean up after you.
What is it like to ride a Bird? You enter a state of total resignation, much like how Abraham must have felt when he was about to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the altar. The brakes will work, or they won’t. The oncoming traffic will stay in its lane, or it won’t. And here you stand, unprotected in the vast sea of chance, looking for an impossible guarantee of safety like a penguin looking for ice in a warming sea. Penguins, like the human spirit, are occasionally consumed by orcas. Think about that.
But even for those brave few who resist our new scooter overlords, the world is forever changed when the Bird comes home to roost. Pedestrians must dodge the speeding electric harbingers of death in both the physical world and the ideological one, resisting the decadence and depravity the Bird invites while also protecting their very lives. But the strongest spears are forged in the hottest flames, and Big Bird better remember that.
Shortly after the July 20 scooter invasion, the normally weak and degenerate city council bucked up to Big Scooter and filed a cease-and-desist order, forcing out the foul faux-fowl. But do not mistake such a move for bravery. The folly of the scooter cultists was not their descent upon our streets with whining value-destroying death machines, but their failure to file the proper paperwork. The Bird corporation will not be deterred by such petty distractions. The Birds will be back with a vengeance soon. They are circling above, like vultures eying a soon-to-be carcass. The populace must remain vigilant, else the breadcrumbs of peace will be devoured by the Birds.
—Magazine writer Drew C. Pendergrass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @pendergrassdrew.