Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cobwebs form

A little quite around here the past week. There is a reason that will account for this.

First, after my close call on the fixie, I had a second encounter with a nasty grumpy driver. Apparently he didn't like that I was trying to use some of the same roadway as he was, and rubbed me out. An evasive move turned into a short cut, only to find myself in front of diggleberry, in a left had turning lane. Now, when you've got to make a left had turn, and there is a designated LH turning lane, there's not much you can do but be in said lane to make the turn. Even while on a bike.

After he was done playing chicken with me, and for some reason I wasn't scared, I turned around and motioned to the guy, "what are you doing?" Later on I met up with him at the next set of lights, where of course he was waiting. He rolled down the window and said he was going to call the police. As soon as those words came out of his mouth, his face changed, as he recognized me. I'd hired his company to do ninety thousand dollars worth of excavation work when the company I work for was building a new manufacturing facility. That was my project, and I personally signed his contract.

I told him that most certainly him calling the police was a great thing to do and that it would save me the hassle, and when they contact me, I'll let them know what actually happened. I thanked him for saving me the time, and called him by his name as I mentioned that he just picked up a stick that he will wish he had just left on the ground.

After a long morning of trying to get a hold of him (I continually got hotter and hotter as the day went on) I was unable to reach him. Finally I called his office and left a message that if I didn't here from him by the end of the day, I would go directly to the police, rather than listening to his side of the story first.

He called at about 5 am the next morning. He left a message as I was in the shower.

Now, I was in a much better head space at this time, and not mad in the least. I reflected on my situation and realized that indeed, I was alive and well. Sure he was pretending he was going to run me over, and in a sense messing with my very life, But, right now, I've got a day full of potential ahead of me, and he's still an asshole.

I opted out of taking further action, and resided my anger to replace it with something a little more productive. The fact of the matter is that the world is full of idiots. They're everywhere. What's more, you can't change that. No matter what. All you can do is decide how you will let these idiots affect your day. You are responsible for your actions, and dare I even say, your attitudes. Yes my friends, it's true. It's a terrible thing to let someone dictate that you are going to have a bad day.

Now, with that long winded account out of the way, the story to the title of this post is still to come. I haven't blogged here much lately, because I haven't been myself lately. I haven't been myself lately because I haven't ridden my bike lately. I haven't ridden my bike lately because of what you have just read.

Yes, I didn't think it would be true, but I do think that I am a little afraid. Two close calls in less than two weeks? Sad to say it, but I actually had to fill up my truck on the way to work this morning. We all succumb to actions and ideals created out of fear, and I just needed a little time away from the bike. That time is almost up.

Now, I miss it terribly, and it's nagging at me every time I put on my light, style-over-function jacket, instead of my not so trendy but warm northface. I look at my winter hat and gloves when I leave in the morning, and I wish I were putting them on. But I don't. I just head to work in my pickup.

Tomorrow we are heading to Great Falls MT for our annual shopping/pseudo-family reunion trip. I'm stoked to be getting away and we always love this trip.

I'm also looking forward to getting home, and riding my bike to work again.



Pat S said...

Killer post, Jerome. You've eloquently captured, I think, what all us cyclists deal with after close calls and confrontations. It's not easy or pleasant to deal with this stuff, but somehow we manage to balance it with our love of riding. Hope you are able to enjoy the time away and don't feel any particular need to rush back into things. It needs to stay fun and I think some space and perspective is necessary sometimes.

If it's any consolation, I'll bet the guy that harrassed you has spent some sleepless nights!

Peter said...

Well said.

I've never had anyone call, and I've never needed to call, the police, but those feelings after a close call linger much longer than I like.

The next ride I go on I'll be looking out for someone else doing the same stupid things as the idiotic driver from the day before. And I'll start thinking that everyone is driving badly, like they're out to get me or something.

And my ride just turns sour. Then I need to tune out.

I've never had an encounter with a fuming driver like that, but that impersonal driver rage that makes even the nicest people into loons, is suddenly turned on its head when they know you. Just imagine his shock.

I hope he realized what he had done. So he doesn't do it again.

Even if we don't know everyone on the road, they deserve the same respect we'd give to someone we do know.

Hughie said...

Great post.

It is quite a dilemma though if the person does not know you in this case. They eventually drive off with the thoughts that it is okay to basically threaten a cyclists life, and it is the cyclists fault. I feel these people do need a wake up call. I haven't had this happen to me yet, couple of close calls, but no exchanges with angry drivers yet. But if that was the case, I would really feel the need to call the police as I would not want that person to do that to someone else who might get hurt. But there is always the chance the cyclists will be ignored by the police. It's kind of a lose/lose.

In the case of where you knew him, I would have just sent him the section of the highway traffic act involving cyclists and been done with it. At least then he'll know better.

Good luck getting back on the road, may all the drivers give you a wide berth!

2wheeler said...

You're right not to let a bad experience ruin more than one day. As another option besides calling the police would be to call his employer. If he was driving a company truck or while being paid then that could have a better impact than the police. The employer probably cares if he drives like an A-hole and they might even try to do something about it, while all the police can do is issue a ticket.

Anyway just another idea.

Jeff Moser said...

Great story!

What did his message at 5AM say though?

I bet his stomach sunk when he recognized you. I think drivers forget that we are people sometimes...neighbors, parents, teachers, co-workers, doctors, etc...this guy probably has a better understanding of this now.

Bujiatang said...

I have friends who put car horns on their bikes, I've thought of doing the same, all it takes is a small battery...

Around St Paul, I think I have called the police after a dozen people now in two years. I do it without hesitation or regret.

helluva post.