Common Courtesy and Common Sense
(most people possess neither)
Everyday I interact with a wide variety of people, both at work and just in my travels on the city streets. When entering and exiting a shop or restaurant I tend to be cognizant of people around me.....holding the door open when appropriate and yielding to others when the situation merits such. While driving I try to drive sensibly with respect to others safety and basic well being. And when on my bike....I move through the city like a ghost. Sure I may run red lights or split lanes (on the bike)...but for the most part I am not asking anyone to slow or speed up for me. Yes, there are time when I take the full lane, like when climbing on a narrow two lane road or when on a tight winding stretch of road. In these cases I feel it is my obligation to protect myself and to think for the car driver behind me. The drivers tend to think that they can pass within the lane inches from my side, so I make it such that the "pass" is more conscious, so that the car driver knows they have to go around me (wide) and that they need to take into account oncoming traffic. In these cases I am being both protective of my own well being and considerate of the lack forethought in some of the car driver's minds. At times people pass wide and dangerous, yes, I appreciate them giving me space, but I would hope that they are anticipating all oncoming obstacles (including oncoming cyclists.)
There are laws that were created to dictate our behavior. Each and everyone of us has taken it upon ourselves to re-evaluate the laws and modify them to suit our needs. The speed limit may say 25 MPH, yet everyone is moving along at 40. The sign may say STOP, but people "slow and go" without a glance. There may be a "no hands on cell phone use while driving," yet everyone is sending in an AUDIO-BLOG for their digital memoirs while driving down the road. I too modify these laws.....I tried to go the speed limit, but it was insighting ROAD RAGE to the drivers behind me. So instead I try to exist under the notion of being Courteous with Common Sense. Aware of my surroundings and knowing that going absurdly above the speed limit is more likely to cause an accident and will not get me their any quicker (as a cyclist I tend to travel a 7 mile radius around the city faster than most cars, even on the low geared single speed) Then when I dip into the woods for short stretches as I move across town on my bike I know that the sign says, "no bikes" (thanks for reminding me) but what I see as being more important is that I am riding safely and courteously. I slow and yield for all other trail users, always exchanging a pleasant hello. To me the law is one level, but the more important level is to be Courteous and exhibit common sense. Now, don't try and say that the courteous mugger with his pleasant hellos and his business like approach to taking your wallet is a good metaphor for my actions; cause it is not! ((more on this later))
Everyday I cross the street in front of my house several times, most every time with dogs or children, and sometimes both. The speed limit is 25MPH, yet people go 50. The center line is double solid yellow, yet people choose to slow to 35 MPH and swing wide around me. Exhibiting neither Kind, Courteous, or using Common Sense in their actions. When my life is put in danger I get angry, when my family's life is threatened I get ENRAGED. This morning as I walked Dean to the Rosemount Center just several blocks away. Dean and I waited patiently for the lights to change and for the cross walk to give him the WHITE HAND SIGNAL/Right of Way. As Dean peddled across the street in the crosswalk I moved along side of him with the dogs as a moving pick. As I looked 20 yards up the hill I could see a cab approaching the intersection ignoring the Red Turn Arrow and rolling straight for us. I stopped blocking the road and pointed at him. Obstructing the road with my 6'4" body point at him and making eye contact. Dean continued across the road, up onto the sidewalk then u-turned back towards me as I shared words with another ignorant cabbie. My words were censored and cut short as I was more concerned with getting Dean across the street and to art class than trying to educate another ignorant taxi cab driver who fails to understand the driving laws and regulations of this country. Taking some third world sensibilities and applying them here. It is hard enough to change my own behavior, how can I expect to change his. But I did fantasies....A swift kick to the balls and a few punches to the face, and maybe a few more kicks as he fell to the ground. A short simple fantasy that got my coffee ingested system operating at a higher level. Then the fantasy gets shut off......I am a father in front of his house. Such actions are for Cane in the old Kung Fu movies or maybe Billy Jack as he fights to protect the rights of the hippies and the Indians, not for me......I would go to jail or get my ass kicked or worse yet both. No lessons would be learned. And Dean would see his daddy at his worst and maybe on weekend visits.
I am not a tough guy. Have never been a tough guy. Never in my life have I thought that violence was a solution to any problem, in most cases it just acts to add more problems. Yet, when my family is put in danger I get these Incredible Hulk fantasies, "don't make me angry, you would not like me when I am angry -Bruce Banner."
So I walked on....
The cabbie stopped in his tracks...
He hung out his car door and I gave him hard stares..
Dean questioned what the exchange was about. And I tried to explain....there was no explaining
that is life in the city
the more people you encounter
the more idiots and assholes you will meet
people are selfish and stupid
with that said
I am on the late shift today
my time would be better spent spinning my single speed in the woods
and showering at work
rather than BLOGGING away and ranting on a topic that may only act to enrage me more
time to lose the morning on the bike