2.15.2009

what's up doc?

it is interesting
our society has all sorts of unwritten rules about personal space

personal space
we all want our personal space

in an elevator the passengers tend to stand in balance
an overhead view of the passengers would normally resemble something like the six sides of the dice
just as their are rules of personal space on the elevator
there are rules of ediqutte
one rule... two people may talk... whether strangers or friends
when three people are in the elevator and they did not enter together... even if two of the three are together... there is to be silence
normally the appropriate behavior is to stare up at the numbers until your door opens
checking your Blackberry is another option... a funny one since most cellular devices do not get reception in the elevator

on the beach or in the park we love our personal space
there is an unwritten equation about space on the beach or in the park
once the towel and blanket are in place that space and a perimeter around that space is owned by the owner of that blanket or towel
the proximity to that blanket is dictated by the concentration of people on the beach or at the park at that point in time
again.... there is a balance of appropriate space
not intruding on the other person's right to privacy and personal space

this same sort of thing happens when moving about town
whether on foot or in a car there are understood rules of personal space
again... there should be notions of safety
as well as notions of respect
we should all respect other people's right to safety and privacy

today after a morning and afternoon that involved hosting a birthday party for my five year old son Grant I got on the bike
well... actually... I took a short nap and then took a short ride
there was the debate to take a longer nap or go for a longer ride
which ended in a compromise to go for a short ride after a short nap

with that afternoon sun dropping fast I jumped into some gear
guessing at the temperature
guessing at the remaining daylight I jumped out of bed groggy wishing to nap longer and got on my bike
slammed a Coca Cola as I walked out the door

Beach Drive was not quite vacant but it was pretty quiet
clearly the busy hours of the day had passed
when I got to the stretch of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park by Candy Cane City I decided that I did not feel like being passed too fast and too close any more
so after crossing East West Highway I decided to take the Capital Crescent Trail

I was pushing the big ring
which is not so big because I was on a cyclocross bike with a half step rather than a road bike with an actual big ring
my legs were feeling the rotation of the pedals and the soreness from an afternoon run the day prior
although things were feeling pretty sore I was feeling pretty good
my pace was strong
I was the fastest in my pack
but since I was riding alone I was also the slowest in my pack

as I passed the Chevy Chase City Bikes shop I glanced over to see if I saw any familiar faces or familiar forms
I went to the intersection and waited for a the light to change or for there to be a gap in traffic to cross
there was a clearing so I cross against the light
as I crossed I saw down stream a rider trying to cross mid block
the opening for me at the intersection was not available for him to cross
Conn Ave at this point is pretty much highway speed

it appeared as if the rider had me in his sights
being unable to read his mind or guess at his intentions I took advantage of advantage and started to push the pedals

I was moving at a good clip
the legs felt good
but it was not long before I forgot about the cyclist crossing the Conn Ave at the same time to me
my mind wandered
my mind tends to wander... it is tough to let your mind wander and maintain pace
I tried to tell my legs to keep going
trying to push circles instead of stepping up stairs

through the tunnel and across Bethesda Avenue
the congestion was not as bad as it can be on this stretch of path
the colder temperature after a warm day along with the dimming light had the volume of human traffic at a minimum

then it happened
I got passed
I hate getting passed
I was moving at a pretty good pace
it was that same guy
his pace was only slightly greater than mine at this minute
he looked strong... good chance he was back from many miles while I was just out for a couple

his fast close pass without a warning spooked me
he passed just inches to my side when it could have been and should have been feet
the mixture of the emotion of hating being passed and the agitation that I had been buzzed irked me
I accessed this man's body and machine as I kept pace behind him
not drafting... but following pretty close

it looked like a Fisher 29er with skinny tires
the human form was fit but unshaven
dark skin and hairy body
no helmet... hat and head phones

I rolled up to his side and asked a few questions
he ignored me
he told me he could not hear me
he made no effort to try and hear me
he brushed me off
never was there the consideration to turn off the head phones and grant me the basic respect of a greeting

this irked me
my curiosity about his bike and his focus grew into something different
I grew curious of who he was and why he was like this...

at Little Falls Parkway I cross through barely breaking pace for the car traffic
wondering how he would handle the obstacles
it was obvious that the cars to the left were stopped
I was confident that I could make it past the cars from the left without them having to stop
I was not sure if a bike distance behind me had the same clearance

cars stopped
everyone made it through
us on bikes and others on foot

I let him get along side of me
more questions...
still no answers and no desire to answer
there was the statement about the headphones and the gesture
there was mention that he could not hear me
I asked more questions

I wondered... is this guy from Texas or from France
just as he had annoyed me with his fast and close pass
my effort to make small talk with him was annoying him
just as he failed to respect my personal space
I was starting to disrespect his

when I made mention that headphones were illegal he said he did not care
this gave reason to think that he had heard my previous questions
which irked me more... he was getting agitated
he pulled ahead
I spend a few seconds in his wind slip
then I tried to get some more answers to more questions
it was no longer about the answers
the bugs bunny in me was coming out
I was being obnoxious

this rider on what appeared to be a Fisher 29er threw a bit of a fit
there were words
perhaps deserved
but really... he was such an asshole with his high speed and his failure to give people their space
I did not really care about his right to privacy or space

during the time when I was riding behind him I gave audible warnings to the walkers and joggers that we passed
that ON YOUR LEFT
just as he passed by inches
really too fast
but worse than being fast
he passed really too close

after his fit I kept going and he dropped pace
there were no answers to my questions
just some profanity
after an hour at that pace I let things settled
thinking that was enough and that legs for the mountain bike tomorrow would be more important than more pushing today

my mind wandered as I looked over the Potomac as I passed Fletcher's boat house
a road cyclist with a Route One Velo jersey passed
I made conversation as I picked up the speed to keep pace with him
there was mention of the person on the mountain bike
apparently he shouted at this roadie when the pass was made
perhaps being passed effects his mood too

in talking with this road cyclist there were a few button hooking joggers who made their u-turn in the path in front of us
both of us anticipating this
neither of us getting tangled in this

the road cyclist spoke how he does not even offer the audible because of this behavior
his resentment resembled the words of the car driver to the cyclist
his fast pass/close pass mentality towards the runners and walkers sounded just like the thoughts of the car drivers who pass the cyclist too fast and too close

I tried to share this logic with him before I let his faster pace take him on into the distance
as I rolled into Georgetown I gave a wave to the rider I had encountered earlier
then finished my ride home and reflected upon my encounters of the day
well...
actually I just day dreamed and pedaled home


when we

I am not finding the energy to finish this thought
you get what you get
no money back guarantee on gwadzilla

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