I will control my anger... if you can control your car...

I have a chip on my shoulder
your driving style is offensive to me

so... as inappropriate my RE-actions may be
my RE-actions would not be present
if it were not for the leading inappropriate action

as mentioned previously...
I flip off a good number of drivers...
but... it is not without reason
and... it the said car drivers... the recipients of "the bird" want to hear my perspective
they may... no... I do not want to fight them
but I do want to know WHY?


this morning... a morning like so many mornings
a little stressed... did not sleep too well
got up crazy early... barked at the boys to go back to bed because they got up crazy early
got up and picked up poop from a dog who should already be house trained, but is not
then with coffee and the dog on the leash I left out so Didg can handle his business

I do not step blindly into the road... I wait... I wait for it to be moderately clear
I watch up the hill... when the visible light is Red Circle and Red Arrow I know that there is not going to be traffic turning right down the hill... this is a good time to cross
I often wait for the right turning traffic to get the red before I cross
then I wait for the two or three cars that did not make the green to run the red... they do not irk me as much as the two or three cars that follow them
they did not almost make the light
they are not bending the law
they are breaking the law

We really should have a red light camera at that intersection
good revenue generating opportunity

so... a morning like so many
lunches made... boys dressed... backpacks packed
hope there is nothing special on this day
because we are not bringing anything special

we leave out the house and our neighbor is loading up her two kids before us
I know we are late if we are leaving out before them
car loaded up and seatbelts on I make a U-Turn to get in the long line of cars waiting for the light to turn green
we are about six cars behind our neighbor's car
they turn right and we stay straight to cut through the National Zoo
this is a great opportunity to make a comparison between the two routes

we make the drive with no great issue
conversations vary
the usual stuff

in our usual fashion we park a few blocks away
Grant joyfully walks the dog
I walk with my boys towards the corner
as we approach the corner I watch the cars as they hit the intersection

car one rolls past the stop line and proceeds forward with a little less than a toe touch to the brake
they move fast and fluid forward
we are a few steps from the corner... it is not yet our turn
but we go unseen
never are we factored into the equation

car two... runs a similar routine
when car three gets to the intersection we are standing at the corner
not being an assertive asshole I wait for them to go so it will then clearly be our turn
they roll through stopping for traffic then rolling forward when it is clear
again... never taking notice of the 6'4" man in the bright red sweatshirt accompanied by two young boys and a dog

the next car makes its stop at the stop line... it is our turn to go
we arrived at the corner before they arrived at the stop line
I look at the driver... she is heavily focused on the passing traffic
she looks left but does not look right
we start across the street

still looking left... I am almost past the driver's side corner of the hood
my boys are in front of the grill with the dog
driver still focused looking left
never looking right... never noticing the family in the crosswalk in front of her

then it happens...
she accelerates forward

this is not an everyday occurrence... but it has happened before
only once... that was about 6 years ago
but today it happened again
impulse reaction I hurl my coffee on her windshield

she stops...
her windshield wipers must be moisture sensitive because they are cleaning the coffee off the windshield as soon as it slaps on the surface
my heart rate is skyrocketing

I do not cuss... I do not scream... I do not talk to her
she gives a wave as if to apologize
she does not seem angry... or at least I do not notice
all I really cared about was her stopping her car

all I really cared about was her not running me and my family down

it was wrong... I was wrong... I should not have done that
that was beyond wrong
that was beyond inappropriate
on top of that... I wanted that coffee

that intersection is problematic every day
well... I guess most intersections are problematic every day

action and over reaction.
not sure if I would recognize this driver again... as I did not really have that much time to concern myself with anything more than not being hit

I appreciated that she was not irate about my actions
I also appreciated that it appeared that she realized that she was in the wrong with her never looking right or even forward


Unknown said...

last week on mcarthur a guy in his car drove me into the barrier on the traffic circle in glen echo. luckily i didn't fall and roll under his car. as i got myself together and rolled up to him in traffic, i smacked his car and yelled at him to pay attention. he proceeded to run me off the road twice with his car while yelling at me. i then smashed his rear view mirror with my fist and the glass flew out and broke on the ground. he then accelerated away and then stopped on the side of the road for some reason. i rode up to him and lost mind, yanking on his door handle, which was locked, and banging like a crazy man on his window. he just said he was on the phone and calling the police. after not being able to break any other pieces of his car i drove off. i'm sure if the police came i would be the one in trouble since i damaged his car.

AutoNatic said...

Hey man. I'm the guy you photographed on M Street this afternoon, and you commented that my chain needed oiling. Which is right.

I've been cruising through your posts and have discovered someone who has the same level of frustration, anger, incomprehension, and repressed impulse to violence that I do toward oblivious drivers. Feelings I have whether riding or driving.

I-phones and other devices have made this situation so much worse. I've been riding, and commuting to work, on a bicycle in the District since around 1985. Once upon a time, drivers were clueless about bicyclists, but at least their driving was reasonably predictable. That's all I want; if I know what you're going to do, I can work around it, no matter how potentially dangerous your behavior is.

E-mailing, phoning, texting, GPS, and anything else you can do on a handheld device has taken this game to a whole other level. Now, nobody uses turn signals (can't hold the phone and flip the indicator at the same time), don't respond to green lights right away, pull out of side streets without making sure nobody's coming, and the rest.

What's interesting, though, is the response by those in the law enforcement community, including transportation affairs writers like Dr. Gridlock, who insist that bicyclists obey all the laws established for motor vehicles, without the slightest understanding that my survival chances in traffic GO UP if I violate rules designed for cars. Basically, this boils down to the fact that I'm safest when I'm traveling at about the same speed the cars are. If that's going to happen, I have to get the jump at a red light before it turns green, blow through stop signs, and create lanes between columns of stopped traffic at lights. I'd welcome your opinion on this point of view, as you strike me as a law-abiding guy.