Thursday, December 4, 2008

goodwill to all

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."


MELI. said...

ride on!
good post

we;shcyclist said...

Yeah right !!!

Tapia said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!
This is the answer...the peace sign is my favorite comeback to people in foul, angry moods (that and super-dramatically laughing when they rev their engines so they might just realize later how ridiculous it is to be aggressive toward bicycles when you're in an enormous suv or truck).

Diana said...

Just another thought on what happened to you. Could it be that this person didn't see you until the last minute and was also reacting with the same adrenaline rush? I'm not condoning this ignorant reaction to your right to be on the same road, but, I now of people who've been just as shaken up when they've un-expectantly came up quickly on a bicyclist.

This city/state needs to work harder on educating drivers that bicyclists are on the roads all year long!

Keep safe,


bikegirl said...

I had one of those moments the other day when I was driving and a cyclist was changing lanes. It was dark and they had no lights, so I hoped they made it to their destination.

I was wearing a green jacket & had my yellow handlebar poagies on. Also had new batteries in my flashing tail light. I stand out pretty vividly against our black & white December landscape. I don't think I surprised him; I think he was just in a hurry.

As for the driver education, it hasn't been a big priority. Pair that with the spotty plowing on some streets and paths and it makes for some sketchy routes this time of year.

I'll keep being safe. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by & for commenting.