4.27.2009

it is not a pleasant exchange...

the other day I ran into Jason Berry of Gripped Films
Jason altered his trajectory more for the entertainment value than the workout
it seems that Jason wanted to see the train wreck that surrounds me when I am out on the bike
the shit that happens around me an my bike

nothing... not one beer can tossed at my head
not one blue haired grandmother tossing her flaming cigarette butt in my face
no... not even a priest or a nun spitting on me
no confrontations to speak of

today I ran a similar short loop after work
only I did not run into Jason Berry

the ride was without any excitement
my pace was mellow
not trying to put any excess of strain on my healing ribs
yet I was moving along pretty okay just the same
thinking more about snapping some photographs than getting my heart rate up

I worked the Rush Hour Traffic with rhythm and flow
the genius to see further than my front tire dictates the efficiency of my pace

no need to run a sprint to a red light or into a busy intersection that I can not cross
no desire to stay in a lane that is going to vanish into a line of parked cars

I anticipate the cab pulling over to pick up a fare and I expect that pedestrian to step off the curb without a glance
my correction is made well in advance
my movements are always up for modification
opportunities vanish as quickly as they appear

on Mass Ave up from Union Station I was about to pass the NPR building before having to make the right turn towards the convention center
there was a line of blocked cars... maybe paused to take a right hand turn... maybe stalled and blocked for no rational reason...
so I floated into the left hand lane and coasted past the stopped cars and then rolled through the intersection
before I felt a need to move into the right hand lane I felt the muscular thrust of a car behind me
it was approaching fast... it was getting close... I could feel that this car was about to enter the space that I occupied
so I drifted out of that space just in time
the space that I had just occupied was filled by an American machine that appeared to possess a fair amount of acceleration
as well as the standard airbags and crumple resistant side panels

the driver had a position and a stance with a little attitude
an approach that I am not entirely unfamiliar with
the face locked forward
trying to issue a message like... I DO NOT EVEN SEE YOU... YOU ARE NOT EVEN THERE

with the passenger's window down I made the foolish mistake of initiating conversation
IF YOU WERE REALLY SO COOL... YOU WOULD BE COOL TO ME
without consideration of my words there was an aggressive response back
the words were harsh and strong... although I am not sure what was said I did get the basic tone

traffic was such that this large man with muscles, tattoos, dread locks, and no shortage attitude got blocked up by left turning traffic as I progressed forward

this is where things get sketchy
I knew an man who was tough in his youth and he used to say... CAR IS BEST WEAPON
so... I paid attention to the aggressive man with attitude and a four wheeled weapon as I slowed my pace and waited for him to catch up
as he passed I leaned forward with my arms wide open pedaling along side at the same pace... the words left my mouth... RESPECT.... ALL I AM ASKING FOR IS THE SAME THING YOU ARE ASKING FOR.... RESPECT

again my words went unheard...
again aggressive angry words were directed towards me as I tried to make peace
his words left his mouth without any concern for the words that left mine
again... his words were tough to decipher... as I was trying to finish my sentence while making sure that I was not going to get run down

I was pleased that his aggression was not expressed in any way that caused harm to me
not by body, car, or by gun

I was also pleased that we had deviated from the same path
once I hit Mass Avenue past the convention center I was confident that he would be stuck behind me that it would be unlikely for us to cross paths again

there was not too much more thought about this person
my heart rate was not raised
there was no real altercation
there was some barking... but not enough to really make me think that there was conflict

wouldn't it be fucked up if this guy went home and thought about things for a second
that somehow he would hear my words and see me as a human being
a human being just like him
a person who is an equal and a person who has equal rights to to both space and safety

no greater or lesser entitlement because I chose to travel by bicycle rather than car
not that I was causing traffic... but that I am traffic
wouldn't that be cool
it is unlikely... but it is cool to think

I would be just fine with him not holding a grudge and not wanting to finish the debate at a later date
so... if he keeps his opinions
I would not want him to continue this conversation or deliver a rebuttal with his bumper or his hood
well... I guess it would be best if I do not encounter this driver again
sadly... it is likely that I will never encounter this driver again
but depressingly so... I will more than likely encounter a driver much like him very soon

old people can be arrogant behind the wheel as well...
blind, arrogant, with a slow reaction time is a tough way to roll!


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