7.26.2005

locked and loaded chip on my shoulder
yesterday in the premature August heat and humidity on a July afternoon I went for a post work spin on the bike
with flat tires on both Karate Monkeys I went out on the Jamis Nova cross bike again
with Tour Fever still burning strong I wanted to ride fast and far so the cross bike was my best option
but of course
I do not have the time to ride far
and
I lack the ability to ride fast
so I went for a post work spin instead

out from work through Georgetown traffic down M Street
the predictable behavior is just that... predictable, but dangerous just the same
it boggles the mind that these drivers test the performance of their cars and their luck each and every day like this
woth little concern for the possible results of such aggressive actions
some cars show the scars of battles lost in the past
these cars are given greater distance

as I weave through the bumper to bumper traffic on M Street I am trying to balance my concentration between the congestion of cars on the street and the collection of shoppers on the sidewalk
ah.... window shoppers
cars running lights, passangers getting in and out of cars stuck in traffic, pedestrians crossing where they choose...
finally safely onto the bike path as I cross Key Bridge into Virginia and onto the Mount Vernon trail
in the afternoon heat the trail seemed vacant
the water alongside the path did nothing to minimize the heat
the temperature was brutual
only made worse by the thick haze in the air created by that nasty DC humidity

out past the airport then a random turn around point
not distance
not duration
just time to get back to the other side of the bridge
need to swing by the house to grab some stuff before I meet Lisa and the boys at grandpa's backyard pool
it is starting to get late
worked a few minutes late and added a ride... best to get where I need to go

into the city back onto the aggressive streets
everyone is on their worst behavior
the heat brings out the worst in everyone
it is hard to be pleasant on such a day
up 16th Street on into Mount Pleasant I dash into the house

down some water and grab what I need and get back onto the hot city streets

the rush hour drivers have little tolerance for the bicycle commuter
there is some sort ignorant notion in this society of my SUV can crush your SUV where the bicycle is a toy that has no right on the road
odd?
one would think that a car that seats 7 comfortably would be banned from the road if it traveled with just the driver and no passangers

onto Beach Drive and into Rock Creek and I am already being tailgated not just seconds into my turn
then the fast aggressive pass into oncoming traffic by the car traveling behind me
it is only a matter of time before there is a head on collision
this I do not wish upon anyone
especially me

a left turn onto Broad Branch where the turns and curves are blind to what is around the bend
cars follow close looking for a chance to pass
the ignorant aggressive pass of one driver initiates the action of the following drivers
the cars pass in a pack like a herd of buffalo following the pack blindly off a cliff
not one knowing if safety or danger exist ahead... just following the pack
the last driver nearly nicks an on coming car

in packs the cars repeat the same obnoxious passing behavior
I am not a person to them... I am an obstacle
they pass too fast and too close
the speed limit is 25 MPH yet they pass me ranging from 25-35 where the curve allows such acceleration
some pass closer than others
some pass further away granting me more space... but creating a greater opportunity for danger for themselves and traffic coming from the opposite direction

where are they rushing off to so fast?
how much time do they actually save with their dangerous driving styles?

as I the road moves towards the residential Chevy Chase DC the road straightens
cars pass at an annoyingly fast pace
estimating 45MPH on each pass
I grit my teeth as I feel the wind of their pass pulls me around on my bicycle
each car rolls speedily through the stop sign ahead
no one makes a complete stop
nor do I.... but at least I have made an good assessment of the other cars

there is a traffic light ahead
most of this last pack of cars make this light
but get caught at the second
I dip through the Red Light when it is clear
and pass the line of cars that just passed me
I refrain from gestures and/or comments

the light turns green I go
these cars then get one more aggressive pass
one car in line with all the rest passes fast and close
they all roll through a Stop Sign
then this one car with personalized tags pulls to the side to parallel park
I can not contain myself
I launch a wad of spit onto the driver's side window as I roll pass
why?
I am not sure.... sometimes I just do these things
as always
I regret this immediately

in my youth this was usually a fun game with the Metro bus driver
the bus would pass and cut me off
run me off the road and into the curb
pick up its fair on Conn Ave and I would race the climbs to catch them
as I passed I would spit through the window and into the face of the driver
then letting the race begin
up the hills
down the hills
racing to the end of their route at Chevy Chase circle

on this day I regret my actions immediately
I alter my pace
battling the exhaustion induced by the heat and the humidity I go faster
taking an occassional glance back to see if I have enraged the parking driver
a mile down the road I figure that there has been no initiation of a cat and mouse game
I am relieved
I again question my own behavior

eventually arriving late to meet up with lisa and the boys
feeling shame for my action
regret or an altercation that could have been
fear for retailiation that never happened
after dinner and a swim I scribble down a note to be dropped on this parked car's window

it was a simple apology for my inexcusable behavior
brief mention of my frustration of the fast and aggressive pass by the multitude of drivers
then a repeat of my apology
signed by A CYCLIST AND A FATHER OF TWO

I find the car on my pedal home
fearing that I may have a face to face with the car owner I act quickly
as I pull away from the parked car after putting this note under his windshield wiper I see a bike rack and a volleyball in his hatchback
a bike rack?
this guy like so many just got caught up in the momentum
when he could have been a pace vehicle and lead a pack of positive drivers
instead he joined the masses and drove wrecklessly past me on his own street
I check for a child seat.... no such thing
the soccer mom is always the greatest irony of aggressive drivers

ah....
to be a fly on the wall
I hope that my actions of the note have repaired my actions of the spit
when will I learn that I can not change people
and that altercations just lead to greater altercations and not revealations
when will I grow up?

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