She had the fever, garage sale fever.
The absolute need to purview the wreckage, the flotsam, of someone else’s life.
And she would not look in my direction.
As I approached her Town & Country mini-van.
On my mountain bike.
Here’s what accident investigators would have determined: The garage sale was on the left, with traffic headed west. The Town & Country was stopped at a T intersection; the garage sale was directly across from the T. The cyclist was headed west.
I watcher her. She kept looking to her left, for traffic. And I realized she was going to make the turn – without looking in my direction.
So before I ended up a mass of blood and piss and shit and mangled bicycle parts, I yelled, “Whoa, lady!”
And she started into the intersection anyway.
I yelled again, “Whoa, LADY!”
She slammed on the brakes – at this point I’m even with her car door and stopped – and she flipped me off.
And continued through the intersection and parked in front of the driveway of the house.
I started down the street, shaking my head, and I couldn’t resist. I turned around.
“Ma’am, can I ask why you flipped me off?”
She ignored me.
“Ma’am, can you please tell me why you flipped me off, when I had the right-of-way?” and she picked up a napkin holder from the table of junk.
And she looked.
And I flipped her off.
Certain reef fish off of Australia will starve themselves to avoid conflict within the school. Spider monkeys use well-timed hugs to head off conflict in the tree canopy.
Most humans, I think, just shut down.
I don’t go out and look for conflict. I don’t shrink from it either. I let a lot of stuff go, especially poor driving, but there just are things you can’t let go of.
Nearly getting hit on you bike is one of them.
Really, I don’t go looking for conflict.
I continued the ride, stopping to feed a friend’s dog, then I rode to the river trail. In the park, I watched four scrotes (the lowest part of the scrotum, the bottom of the nutsack, hence “scrotes” ) meander toward me.
Across the entire trail. Four abreast.
One tried to reign in a dog, which was tethered to him with a bit of yellow nylon rope.
I slowed, and watched the dog (since if you’re going to get dumped, that’s where the problem will be) and the guys would not clear the path.
I approached slowly, and they finally split – three to their left and one to the right. And as I’m to the guy with the dog – he had a scruffy beard, dirty T-shirt and flip-flops – I watched his mouth form the words, “Watch it, motherfucker.”
The Pixies sang "Alec Eiffel" as I ripped out the earbuds and stopped.
“What did you say?”
He stared at me.
“You realize that this path is just like a road, you stay to the left?” I asked. “Or is there going to be a problem?”
“No problem, man.”
“Hey, I’m just trying to get a ride in, not be a dick.”
Yeah, I probably set back cyclist/motorist/pedestrian relations back a bit on Sunday.
But then again, I really wasn’t looking to spend the rest of the day in the emergency room.
And I certainly don’t like being called a motherfucker.
Well, for no good reason, anyway.
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