One of my best traits has always been my ability to be indifferent about damn near everything. It's easy to be this way when you assume everyone around you is a lot dumber than you. In America, that's unsurprisingly pretty effing easy. But when I get on the bike, all or a sudden I have an uncontrollable low tolerance for human error; I have bike rage.
If a driver cuts me off, as one did again this morning, I will make every effort, regardless of how it may affect my own safety, to catch up with this errant idiot and make sure he or she knows how angry I am. Most people are understandably shocked at my gall, but even more so, I think many wonder how the hell I managed to keep up with them after they narrowly swerved around me going 60 m.p.h.-plus on a city street. Answer: I'm magic.
But I'm also angry. Angry at ridiculous, inconsiderate drivers who don't understand the concept of a blind spot. I wonder how many people they've hit unknowingly...
And that's where I step in, er, pedal in, as it were. I catch up, knock on a window and let them in on the not-so-secret concept of "mirror, signal, blind spot." It's not our failed "illiquid asset," unlimited credit (and debt) based conundrum of an economy; it's basic driver's ed. Children can understand it, which is why when so many grown-ups fail to, it really ruffles my spoke nipples (that link is surprisingly SFW). It gets my derailleurs in a bunch, if you will. And so I do what needs to be done. I ready my arsenal of expletives, mix them with such phrases as "kind sir" and "ma'am" and let 'er rip.
While usually it's some jagbag on his BlackBerry in a Toyota Corolla whose
"Excuse me, sir!" I shouted as I rode up between him and the truck. Luckily his window was already open, which I found out when he exhaled a mouthful of menthol Pall Mall into my face.
"Wow. That's the second most awesome thing you've done today. The first was nearly hitting me back there."
At this point he looked at me, his furrowed eyebrows indicating that perhaps he didn't understand, a point I would soon realize.
I looked at the crosswalk light, which had a good 30 seconds left on it, then looked back. "Seriously, you need to watch where you're going. Check your mirrors or something before pulling out. You almost killed me."
He smiled briefly and replied, "No, I don't know!"
I looked back at the crosswalk signal -- 20 seconds. This language barrier was dire. How would I get my point across? I don't know any Asian languages! Then it dawned on me -- I do know how to mime.
I started mime-driving, then mime-cycling; I clapped to signal a collision then dragged my pointer finger across my throat before tilting my head left and making my face, mouth and tongue go limp to signal my death. Finally, as the light was ticking down to change, it all became clear. I knew what I had to do to teach this lesson!
Lo and behold, I thought my Dave Coulier-inspired motions might have worked! He nodded at me and waved as if he understood everything I had just
So it didn't work. Besides the fact that my wild gesticulating probably made me look like a Happy Hands Club reject, the only cause I can attribute to this epic failure of intercultural communication was this morning's pants selection. I'm wearing trouser jeans and in order to avoid the deadly cuff-in-spoke debacle, a situation I fearfully remember from my past, I returned to the decade in which I grew up and executed quite a doozy of a tight-roll to each respective pant leg. In other words, I looked like a crazy person not to be taken seriously; a certain Scientologist; a no-holds-barred Grade A asshole.
While admittedly, my cycling pegged-pants look is ridiculous, this underlines a constant qualm of mine in DC -- the notion that people will not take you seriously if you're not dressed like a douche. Granted I'm dressed a bit like a fifth grader circa 1989, but my argument about basic driver's ed skills was cohesive and factual correct. It should've been taken seriously. And sure, perhaps in this one instance language issues (i.e., something more substantial than clothing) got in the way. And OK, my Joey Gladstone impression was a little hard to follow...but...um...where was I going with this? Something about how I'm smarter than 95 percent of the population and yadda, yadda, yadda probably. Eh.
Outfit details: Top and pants -- Theory; Shoes -- K-Mart, bought for me by my grandma, who owns the same exact pair.
And P.S., actually, I'll tell you what -- I'm looking at the bottom half of that horrid photo above and, you know, I don't think I mind the tight-roll. Fashion is cyclical, after all. Wow! I think I done just lost my mind! *Shrug.*