4.23.2012

self righteous behavior...

driving a car gives me insight into the relationship of CAR VERSUS BIKE


in so many cases the misbehavior of a car driver is not entirely anti-bike
the action of the car driver is just self centered and without thought
just as the CAR ON CAR altercations are based of selfishness and lack of understanding for the law


there is an intersection that I pass through on my way home from school drop off with the boys
it is pretty simple...
there are two lanes
there is a left turn only lane and the right lane goes straight



although the left turn arrow is well worn and hard to be noticed
that is still the law
and well...
when the arrow was fresh and new... that law went unseen just as much then as it does now


there is a pretty standard routine
I approach this intersection coming downhill on Porter Street at the junction of Connecticut Avenue 
it does not take a genius to memorize the light cycle
I know that before I get a Green Light the traffic in front of me has a pattern of Green Turn arrow from the left
then just Green in both directions until it is Red in both directions
after that... oncoming traffic gets the GREEN with GREEN TURN ARROW as we maintain a red


then finally...
it is our turn
we get the Green Light and the pedestrians to the left get the Walk Sign
almost always... one or two more cars sneak in front of oncoming traffic buzzing pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk
then on the other side of Connecticut Avenue there will be a Green Light waiting to allow us to progress down the hill into the park


well...
it is very similar nearly each and every day
Porter Street becomes two lanes before this intersection 
most of the cars queue up to the left
if it is open on the right... I will line up there


today was no different
five cars lined up on the left and open on the right
so... I take the right
granting me poll position


lined up waiting for the light I glance at the car to my left to get an idea of their intention


then it happens...
cross traffic gets the Red Light
oncoming traffic gets the Green Light with Green Turn arrow
then finally... we get the Green


sure enough...
I start moving forward 
the light is green
I progress forward with the Right Of Way
while cars to my left should respect that they are in a Left Turn Only Lane


well...
that is not how this woman sees it
crossing the main intersection I can see in my side view mirror that she is nipping at the side of my car
I maintain forward
holding my space maintaining my trajectory


her car is now very near to the rear quarter panels
she is honking
a glance in the mirror and I can see that she has issued the bird
vigorously waving her middle finger in me making a grimace with her already less than attractive face
well... I continue forward never breaking the law never bending the rules
in the right on the right


she is still honking and flipping me off
she is clearly heavily caffeinated and perhaps a few minutes late
I grab my iPhone and stop the car... I want a picture of this
but more than that...
I want to hear her rational for her irrational behavior and set her straight


so... car stopped
car door open
seat belt off and about to get out of the car
she aggressively tries to cross the double line and go around me


but alas no
oncoming traffic blocks that... oh... a head on collision with no injuries would amuse me
I am back in the car and rolling forward
again I slow... then stop... then make as if I am going to get out of the car
instead I move forward... there is a line of cars behind her
I must avoid shifting things... I want her to be the asshole... not me


she drops back
some distance grows between us
this is fine... I really do not need to start my day like this
but...
if she goes straight up the hill... I will make contact then... she is bound to be stuck at a light if she continues up the hill
but no... she takes a left onto a ramp that feeds into Beach Drive into Rock Creek Park


she is gone... 
out of sight
but more than likely still making that nasty grimace
more than likely still waving that nasty middle finger at me


ah...
if only I could be a fly on the wall at the water cooler in her office
somewhere as I type my side of the story
this self righteous asshole is telling her side of the story
a story that has no rhyme and no reason
even her slant can not put her in the right


what will she say about the guy in the right hand lane obeying the law?
how he stopped at the stop line... waited for the Green Light then proceeded forward... then.. MY GOD! with a left turn arrow to the left and a right lane that only goes straight... HE MAINTAINED HIS TRAJECTORY AND FOLLOWED THE LAW... HE WENT STRAIGHT!


not sure how she would tell it
in fact... not sure how she can explain her honking and flipping me off
it is all that classic case of ACTION and REACTION
her action was out of line... and my reaction may have been an over reaction


sure...
I could not respond... but that is not how I play things
she invited me into a conversation... I wanted to give her a rebuttal
but she wanted a one way conversation... a conversation with her being right
no rebuttal


if I flip someone off... it is because I am angry and want to share a piece of mind with them
I flip them off because I feel that they have wronged me and I would like to express to them how I feel they wronged me


if I crossing the street and a speeding car does not alter its over the speed limit pace
if that car does not yield in any way
if they just speed through like they are in a car commercial being filmed in Napa Valley
yeah... one of the ones where they take the curve fast and the leaves chase the car in its wake
well... 
all I want to do is tell them that I want them to respect my right to safety and my right to space
and that their behavior is out of line and needs to be altered


last night at the DCMTB team meeting one of my team mates told me that I flipped off one of his friends
I said... oh? where? why? what did they do to deserve this?
I admitted that I do flip people off a good deal... but never without reason
(but I am trying to flip people off less)


sure enough...
I flipped this person off in front of my house
a residential street with a speed limit of 25MPH
my street... this person's commuter route


well... the SPEED LIMIT is the SPEED MAXIMUM
that is the speed to which cars should be driving around other cars
when approaching a bicyclist or a pedestrian... that driver should be going less than the speed maximum
but to blaze through without slowing and taking the people outside of their cars into account
well... that is reason enough for me to flip you off


then...
I also have a Red Turn Arrow at the top of the hill that feeds into my street
if I am crossing the street and a car takes that turn without stopping and waiting for the Green Turn arrow
well... that is reason enough for me to flip you off


enough on that coffee induce diatribe 


in short...
most of the modern driving behavior is not anti-bike or anti-pedestrian
it is a selfish ME ME ME style of driving
that woman felt she had greater right to the space


when really... she was not positioned in the logical space
cars in the left hand lane can take a left at Conn ave then one block ahead at Quebec
which has it more logical to be in the right hand lane
so that the car driver does not need to make a lane shift before getting to the Only Lane







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