12.14.2009

it happens... it happens nearly everyday

it happens... it happens nearly everyday
some bozo behind the wheel decides to tell me that what I am doing is wrong, dangerous, or inappropriate
no matter where I am on the bicycle... it is in someone's way

if I am riding to the right...
passing cars on the right between their passenger side door and the curb
well... there will be someone shocked at my pass
sometimes they make faces
sometimes they hit the horn
sometimes they roll down the window and give me a piece of their mind
usually... they do not even see me

if I take the full lane... protecting myself from being passed too fast and too close
I get tailgated and told to "get off the road"
which would put me on the sidewalk... which of course has the pedestrians on the sidewalk angered by my presence

it does not matter
even if I am within the limits of the law... it is as if I am in the wrong
cars can U-Turn in front of me
they can right turn nearly on top of me
they will certainly tailgate me and buzz me
never am I given my right to safe space

so I take it
nothing is given to me
it is all taken

last night I was rolling home late from work
it was dark and I had a shortage of lights
my ride was downtown so I had the lights of the city
things were bright enough that I could tell you the color of a pedestrian's eyes twenty feet away
on 18th Street in Adams Morgan I was going up the hill on my fixed gear at a casual rate of speed
there are two lanes of uphill traffic and then the diagonal back in only parking to the right

I was watching for danger from all directions
looking out for cars trying to find that vacant space
being cautious of cars pulling out without notice of me
taking notice of any pedestrians about to step out in front of me
then from Belmont Street a car took a left turn onto 18th
there was no concern
it was clear that they did not see me... but I was not so concerned
there were two lanes.... I was in the right and they were in the left

then without notice of me... little old invisible me... at 6'4" tall with my bright blue gortex jacket with its reflective strips
this driver faded into the right hand lane
at this time this car with its whiskey dents was moving slower than myself so I maintained pace and passed on the right in between the Volvo with Virginia plates and the parked cars
then after I passed an opening to a parking garage the Volvo made a turn down that driveway and stopped

then it happened... not sure what flipped his switch
but it happened
not sure how he started... but he started with cussing and screaming
volume at ELEVEN
no escalation.... things started at an aggressive volatile level
I had to turn back to actually hear what this man had to say

he wanted me dead... he wished me dead...
or so he said

I was bewildered
what had I done to enter into this madman's world

somehow something I had done had flipped of his psycho switch
he had gone ballistic
there was no talking to him... so I listened
I listened and I made sure that I was not in a space where he could quickly strike me with his car
as I have come to know that the car is the better weapon in the bike versus car battle

I had no rebuttal for his insanity

where I was on the bike... my absence of lights... my being in his way... my passing on the right

I had told him that I thought that he should have seen me when he took his left
of course... it seemed obvious to me that he had to looked to see what traffic was on 18th when he turned onto the street
LEFT? he shouted... I TOOK A RIGHT...
I tried to explain to him that he took a left before taking a right and that I should have been visible to him before that
there was no listening
I tried to explain that he should have seen me when he faded from the left hand lane to the right hand lane... the lane that I was occupying at the time
but again.... he could not hear it
he was too busy cussing at me and wishing me dead

my heart rate did not change
I did not want to enter his world
I had no idea what was up his ass... but I did not want to find out

the discussion was going no where... I did not have my camera... so I turned my attention back to my short ride home

No comments: