23 July 2010

[excrement] makes me angry

So here's a true story for you people - The Story Behind The Story, if you will.

Some of y'all may have noticed my Facebook status yesterday. I know at least TB, JK, NC, MB, and BL did, because y'all commented on it. Others of y'all don't have Facebook or aren't friends with me on there, because, hey, you might not know me in that giant scary thing called Real Life. And that's cool... this is an open-to-the-public blog, and intentionally so.

Anyways, here's the status I posted:

[Mike] offers a note to the station wagon driver who trailed me up 15th today: honking, flipping me off, tailgating, and yelling at me that I'm an intercourse-having piece of excrement who would be well advised to exit your intercourse-having road posthaste is only going to make me pull my bike in front of you, slow down, block you when you try to pass, and generally make your life a living hell for the duration of our time together. Unless this is your desire, I suggest that you CALM THE F DOWN and share the road. Also, you're fat.

...and, for your enjoyment and edification, here's the full story.

I was biking back from the gym mid-afternoon (about 4:30 PM), heading up 15th avenue in the U-District. It's a fairly busy street (two lanes on either side, plus a turn lane in the middle), so I was hanging out in the right lane, generally minding my own business, and actually keeping up with the cars around me (something I generally manage to do pretty well, as those who bike with me can attest). Then this fat dude in a station wagon pulls up behind me while I'm stopped at the red light at the corner of 15th and 42nd, about four blocks south of my apartment.

I'm like, okay, you're driving a station wagon, you enjoy the twinkies maybe a little too much, whatever. Then he honks at me. I look back at him - remember, I'm stopped at a red light, all of a foot and a half behind the bumper of the sedan in front of me - and I'm like, dude. what? I laugh and tip the brim of my helmet at him. He doesn't like this, apparently, since he rolls down his window, sticks his arm and head out the window, and starts yelling at me in the terms described in my status. He also starts revving his engine, which seems kind of pointless given that we're stopped at a red light.

I start laughing more, and resolve that this jackwad isn't going to get past me. The light turns green, he revs his engine some more, and I shift into my easiest gear ring and start sloooowwwly moving through the intersection. Cue more yelling and gestures from him, more laughter from me. Cue him changing lanes - cutting off a couple of other drivers, btw - and me quickly shifting gears to accelerate and get back in front of him, then slooooowwww dooooowwwn again. After two blocks (when we stop at another red light), cue him starting to get out of his station wagon, then realizing that I'm bigger and fitter than he is, plus I'm reaching for something in my bag. Cue him getting back into his station wagon.

So I turn off at the corner of 15th and 47th and he speeds away (as much as a station wagon can speed, I guess) to do whatever it is that overweight thirty-something guys in station wagons do.

Did I handle the situation well? I'd be happy to get y'all's opinions on that.

From my perspective: I probably could have avoided most of the confrontational stuff by giving in to him when he started yelling at me, and probably could have avoided escalating the situation. But I was tired, and a little stressed out, and I figured if this jerkoff was looking for some cyclist to target (as he seemed pretty obviously to be doing), it's probably better that be me than some 110-pound kid struggling up Eastlake. In the wake especially of stuff like the Fabian case that I blogged about earlier this month, I figure it's probably good for cyclists to be able to stand up for ourselves. Plus, hey, this particular ill-tempered twinkie-loving road-hogging gas-guzzling station wagon driver deserved his ten minutes of frustration, and it's not like I hurt him or anything.

Anyways. Yeah. All y'all have a great day.

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