Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who is this man?

If you're anything like me, you're asking yourself right now "Who is this man?"

And most likely, you have no idea what his name is. I don't know either. I do know some things about him though.....

This man was walking in the middle of the sidewalk with his phone pressed to his ear and his finger stuck in the other ear.
I attempted to get his attention by saying "excuse me" a few times as I slowly approached him while on my bike.
And after I got no response from him, I stopped pedaling and began walking my bike, while I was still on it, past him.
This man finally noticed me.
And unlike most people, his reaction wasn't to step to the side a bit so I could pass, to which I reply with a smile and a "thank you", but instead tell the person on the phone about how I nearly ran him down.
He reminded me that I was on a sideWALK and was not allowed to be there on my bike.
And I reminded him that in fact, he was wrong.
And that's when his brain malfunction became more clear.
You see, because of the size of my body, I knew nothing! My ass somehow took over my entire body & brain and rendered everything that came out of my mouth invalid.
I asked how on earth the size of my ass changed the law and made me incorrect, but he had no answers. All he could do was remind me of how wrong I was, how ugly I was and that I should look in a mirror. He told the person he was talking to on the phone that I must be angry because he was blocking the sidewalk and I couldn't get to food.

I find this sort of person pathetic. And sad. And horrible.

I fear for this type of person's children or grandchildren, for this is the type of person they have to help guide them through life. You're only an illness, injury or gene expression away from becoming worthless in his mind.
I fear for his wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or anyone else that relies on him and trusts him. All it takes is your ass to grow and *poof* your brain doesn't matter.
I feel sad for his friends, who either find this behavior acceptable, don't know about the 10lbs that it would take for him to ditch them or don't agree with it, but somehow can't help him see anything differently.
I feel bad about people that feel like they need to fit some sort of perfect and ideal body form. Why? For cranky, shallow, rude and evil men like him?

But there's one bit of goodness. At least my ass works as a pretty good filter when it comes to identifying a subset of the horrible people in this world.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Too Close for Comfort - vol 1


-Wearing mostly dark colors with accents of lime green
-Wearing a helmet

My Bike:
-Minimal required gear for biking at night including rear, front, pedal and wheel reflectors and a bright white headlight
-a second blinking white head light, a red rear blinking light, a strand of Christmas lights and additional reflective material on my bike. I also have reflective material on my backpack.

I usually try to bike during quiet times of the day or on residential streets. I like to avoid car traffic if at all possible.

So this evening I was biking in a residential area on a newly paved street. The houses in the area are generally pretty expensive and nice, but the street has known speeding issues. Sidewalks are only located on one side of the street and I've seen many other bicyclists, runners, people walking their dogs and strollers (you know, normal residential stuff) on this street over the years. There's only 1 lane in each direction with some extra room for street parking with a speed limit of 25mph. Until the street I was biking on was recently repaved, it had speed bumps on it and "Slow down: We love our children" signs.

I'm biking along, on the right side of the lane, with traffic, just outside of the door zone of the nearby parked cars. Suddenly a car comes flying down a perpendicular (also residential) side street, nearly running down a pedestrian crossing the street as well as myself. He turns right and continues on ahead of me.

A few hundred yards ahead of the first incident, I start moving towards the left side of the lane in preperation to turn left at the next stop sign. There are no cars immediately around me. About 15 feet from the stop sign, a car that was speeding way too fast behind me in the same direction pulls up on my left side to pass me. I scream at the car driver "STOP". He rolls down his window.

"Why did you do that?"
"What? Pass you?"
"Yeah, I'm turning left, we're super close to the stop sign and you're passing me on my left"
The driver rolled up his window and sped off, going straight.

I often find myself frustrated when (angry) car drivers declare that all bicyclist are nothing but scofflaws, blowing through stop signs, not using lights at night or not using enough/bright lights at night, not riding on the correct side of the road, not wearing helmets (which aren't always legally required for adults.) I know I am not that bicyclist and I'm left wondering if they like to pretend they've never seen a bicyclist like me or they just don't see us. By riding with traffic do I become invisible? Does their frustration towards others come spewing out on me despite me not having done anything wrong? I'm left wondering why the drivers couldn't wait 5 or 10 seconds for a more vunerable user of the road to just get out of their way. Would it take hitting someone to understand the gravity of the situation & why the speed limit was low near houses? Would they try to pass a car turning left on the left at a stop sign with only one lane of traffic in each direction? Would it really be worth seriously hurting someone to save a matter of seconds on your commute?

At least Steve Carell is on my side.....