I made it almost to work in a mostly pleasant commute. The sun, though behind the clouds, was rising. The temperature was in the high 20s. My route was almost entirely ridable. The pedestrian signal at Lake Otis and O'Malley was working again.
The most nerve-wracking part of my ride was upon me. The short stretch on Huffman Road between Gregory and Huffman Park Drive, then the shop. I had a clear shot with a green light, keeping just left of the soft snow off to my right. I was in the traffic lane, because I am traffic.
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A car passed me just before the underpass, getting very close. We got to the next light at the same time, me in the right lane, him in the left. That's when he powered down his window and yelled at me, asking why I hadn't moved over. He answered his question by calling me a f*ing idiot. Then he kept yelling until the light turned green and he sped off. I pulled off my mitten with my teeth and flashed him a peace sign. I tried to find him after he pulled into the business park. No luck but my adrenaline was going.
I was working on what to say, and kept thinking about it as I let myself into the store. Now, every one of us has those days when we say something that we wish we could take back or rephrase. And I've even yelled at people on my commute, usually to let them know I'm at an intersection they just rolled through... But on my commutes I've never experienced quite this level of verbal assault. Someone asked if it made me mad, but that's not the word for how I feel. Confounded. Shocked, saddened.
Just because this guy couldn't wait two seconds to get past me and had to try to tear me down with words, I've let him control many of my thoughts for the day. But it's reminded me that I should try to remember that every person I encounter has other things on their mind; other things going on in their life and I should try to be patient with them. Because I don't want to be that guy.
What if I'd found him? All I had wanted was a chance to say "peace on earth; goodwill to all."