S.O.A.: Man in Blue

okay.... everything is not on the Internet
yes, there are lyrics for some SOA songs... but not all of them
looking for MAN IN BLUE
maybe I do not know the title of the song
brb... one more google

back... came up empty
empty on the lyrics saw the list of songs
it has been a good number of years.. maybe it was not SOA
here it is

see a cop coming
better move quick
he is gonna hit ya with a stick

it does not matter what you have done
you are going to suffer for his fun

man in blue comes for you
sirens red... gonna be dead

-henry garfield
SOA circa 1981

the message is different
but the disregard may be there
okay... maybe I just wanted to quote Henry Garfield and SOA
as I am really feeling those lyrics right now
I am going to hook up my turntable

an off duty police officer hit and killed a cyclist in the early am the other day

tonight I did not ride
well... I rode home
but did not extend my ride more than a few minutes
by a few minutes I mean a few hundred seconds

ran into an old friend, Clark, who I do not see very often these days
we each moved from the block where we both once lived
and well
I am old, married, and have kids
so, when I saw Clark on his Van Diesel I looped around and rode towards his place before going home

on our way we caught up
his leisure pace suited me
we talked about fixed gears
we talked about what has been going on in our lives
it was a nice mellow ride

we split at 14th and Park Road
Clark continued to his house in Columbia Heights
I took the Green Turn arrow and headed to Mount Pleasant
I thought more about how this corner had changed
but I had to stop my day dream
as a DC Police officer with the Red Light headed my way did not stop and kept on rolling

the momentum of the cruiser was not fast and fluid
but sort of slow and jerky
I tried to get an idea of the car's intention
but could not see the driver's face
as I had to focus on moving forward and getting out of the path of intersection

I understand
I am slight
my HID light is not so bright
the street lights only do so much
and there are other things to focus on other than what is on the street in front of you

so I accelerated and put myself into a safe spot

the road is wide at this section of Park Road
the traffic is wide, but one way
the activity is very urban
third world urban
more like Lima Peru or Hanoi Viet Nam than Washington DC

the cruiser rode along side of me
very close... obnoxiously close
I stayed to the right
with no intention of flashing my light on the officer I tried to catch a glimpse of the driver
not sure if I ever saw the age, sex, or race of the driver
as the car altered its behavior as my light entered its window
a little faster
than a little pinch in front of me
then straight again
then faster forward leaving me behind

the light was Red ahead
it is sort of a non-sense light
a light vital in some ways
but not so vital right now
I ran light after I slowed knowing I would have to stop at the next light 20 yards later
yes, 20 yards later
but, I wanted my behavior to be normal
it would be suspicious for me to stop at that light
I am normal and not suspicious

with the road moving to traffic parked on both sides I moved to the center of the road
waited for the light to turn Green
did not go when it was Red
partially because it was not clear
partially because that would be the stupid thing to do

the light behind me got the Green first
I felt the thrust of a fast accelerating car behind me closing the distance behind me
20 yards, 18 yards, 12 yards, 4 yards
feeling rushed I am not sure I waited for the light to turn Green
I was ready but I felt like I had to move

across 16th Street I rode just out of the door zone
perhaps obstructing the cruiser from a fast pass
I continued out of the door zone down the block
the sensation of the car's front right quarter panel made me awkward
partially due to the driver being a police officer
so I pinched over a hair
still trying to stay safe and out of the door zone
not looking to kiss an side view mirror or worse yet an opening driver's side door

a honk two cars back pushed a small car past
then the sensation of a fast approaching truck threatened me
the spidey senses were tingling
I nudged over even more
glancing over at the Chevy Suburban
the driver was looking right at me
looking smug and just for forcing me over
I know that man... a little attitude is part of his character
he lives a block away from me
he is cordial enough... but he has a little bit of an attitude

I passed the Suburban as I made a right towards my house
then finished my last few blocks home

people just do not feel that the cyclist has a right to be there
it is that simple

even the police officer who at first had nearly hit me in error
then treated me as if I had to clear the path
in some ways I do need to share the road and clear the path
but... I should not need to duck and dive out of the way
again... clearing the road like making payments on a hunk of steel makes someone the king of siam
the bigger the steal the greater the royal attitude

the officer made a mistake and was not paying good enough attention
and failed to yeild me the right of way
presuambly by accident... I was alert enough to get out of the way

but... the behavior that followed that was somewhat a matter of disregard
or at least a misunderstand of my rights to the road, my rights to space, and my need to ride where I feel safe

okay... maybe I am being a little sensative
actually the during the whole interaction I was a tad sensitive
sensitive that a police officer would drive so carelessly around a cyclist after what happened in Fairfax
what made me so sensative was realizing that there more than like was no mention of this to the officers after this happened
this was no real news to anyone but the cycling culture

no... there was no Hill Street Blues-like morning with all the offers meeting at the station in a classroom-like setting where the Seargent gives everyone a little pep talk...
there was no pep talk about being safe
or should I say there was no pep talk about being extra safe around bicycles
sure the officer was off duty
but he was a police officer
officers are not above the law
officers should set the example of the law
an officer is an officer on and off the clock

that said
officers are to follow the laws while on the clock as well as off
the speed limit and the stop sign are as much a law for a police officer as for a standard citizen

so drive by example
drive at a safe rate of speed within reasonable limits of the law
make complete stops for stop signs at the stop line
and be alert
be extra alert for cycling traffic on the road

okay officers take it to the street
lets go make dc a better place

no this little pep talk never happened
sure their may have been a morning meeting
but I doubt that the topic of the death of a cyclist by the actions of another police officer ever came to surface
nor do I think that there was any remider of an officer's need to obey traffic laws just like everyone else
I know that is not the case
as when I head down a two lane neighborhood street line with park cars and a dc cruiser comes my way
that cruiser plays chicken forcing me over and never budging just like every other asshole on the street

the Public Service Announcement need to be made
but not just for the public but for the professionals at work
the agency of law enforcement would be a good place to start
if they are going to enforce the law
they should know the law
they should obey the law

(by no means am saying that enforcing the law and obeying the law means driving 25 MPH and arresting everyone who spits on the sidewalk... but a little less chaos)


gewilli said...

sometimes i get intimidated by the words
by the long string
that fills many screens
and many page down clicks

occasionally i skim past
blinders to the wisdom
oblivious to the commonality
the experience

i try to force it
force the slowdown to read the length

when i slow down
it works
i read it

i feel the emotions
i picture the scene
knowing all too well the feeling of a quarterpanel creaping up

happy to ride gloveless
my wedding band makes one helluva noise on the back window of an SUV
i hope
in their head
that they aren't the only ones
on the road

sometimes they look
sometimes they speak
although i cannot hear
sometimes they freeze
and ignore never glancing
for fear
of what i might do with eye contact

may need to be
posted whole with link to here

when confronted with gwadzilla's poetic dialog
i must slow down

grab a bowl of pasta




perfect for the second lunch

thank you joel

thank you gwadzilla

gwadzilla said...

it saddens me to think that my words may scare people away
as I am certain there are some who come here just for the pictures

but I fear that people did not scroll past all that gobble-dee-gook to see the images below
as I would be certain that the HONKING ONLY MAKES ME GO SLOWER would attract a comment or two

that is such a great line
also a notion I live by
it also does not always get me to move over in the direction that the person with the horn had intended