4.30.2009

hustle and flow... more like bumble and blow...

my effort in traffic in my cross town commute and my cross town rides is to ride through like a ghost
not expecting anyone to alter their trajectory due to my movements...

well... that is not entirely true... the cars behind me may not always be granted the passage that they desire
as I am forced to make the decisions for them
as they have shown that they have no care or concern for my well being
as they have shown that their actions lack strategy... they move without logic or meaning
their actions are devoid of common sense and lack common courtesy

this morning my timing was off
perhaps I was focused on too many things at once
left out the back alley at the same time as one of my neighbors
his office is around the corner from mine
he travels on his small 50cc motor scooter while I travel by bicycle
on this day he issued the challenge of John Henry.... MAN VERSUS MACHINE
although I did not fully accept the joking challenge I could not refuse the seeing who would win with a natural effort not a race filled approach
I altered my trajectory and I altered my pace
but only slightly... thinking the more direct route would get me their more quickly

the scooter left out fast but I caught up with him without trying to take things to race pace
our route was the very similar... I saw him a half a block ahead at each turn through the streets of Mount Pleasant as I took the alleys
after a short hill in Adams Morgan I caught him at a red light
the light turned green before I had a chance to make a pass

I rode with my camera around my neck and was still looking for potential subjects for the page
after passing him at a red light I slowed my pace to get a moving shot of a woman with a nice basket on her bike as I went down 18th Street

then I passed him at the base of the hill where he stopped for a series of red lights
a collection of red lights and stop signs sent me forward at a rate he could not match

I was riding neither fast nor furious
my actions were not as fluid or smooth as I usually aim to have them be
it was like I was trying to force a square peg into a square hole
yet I managed to fit through just the same

cars were slowing and stopping
and I was pausing and going in ways that caused more concern for the other than expected
the classic rarity of a car driver seeing me and slowing for me when I planned to dip behind them unseen happened more than once
it is an awkward exchange... how can you say... I did not want you to stop for me? when we always want the car driver to slow and stop rather than run us down...
yet... I wanted these cars to maintain their trajectory
as my path was through the space that they had previously occupied
but no... they slowed and stopped... thus keeping the space that I wanted to pass through
forcing me to awkwardly alter my pace and roll in front of them
when I really wanted to pass behind them
making me neither smooth nor considerate

making me look like both the idiot and the asshole

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