One of those days
Yesterday was just one of those days. Tasks taking longer, lung-based cold draining further, nothing going forward as fast as I needed it to. (And also, of course my health insurance company messed up the automatic billing and cancelled my coverage just in time for my first doctor’s visit in two years. Why wouldn’t they?) Large scale worries and small scale misfires just sort of leached the feeling of effectiveness from my abdomen. Not a terrible day, just the kind that feels like a low slow growl.
But then! Then I was headed over to the city for Korean happy hour appetizers with three dearly beloved friends. The fresh air of bicycle motion was already soothing, though the day’s misalignment continued as every single stoplight turned red at my approach.
I’ve ridden from my house to BART (the subway) approximately seven bajillion times, and I well know that one stretch is the most dangerous. An American-style street of two busy lanes on the left and slanted parking spaces on the right, bikes are advised to float ten feet off the ground I guess.
After merely two mazillion passes, I’d developed an automatic habit of scanning for reverse lights to make sure none of those parked cars wanted to put a windshield between me and my destination, but the sheer normalcy of the passage, splattered with deeply-felt frustration, helped me not notice that the first parking spot was empty.
I don’t know if the driver signaled, since I was alongside them, but it doesn’t really matter. I should have been aware of the possibility of that right turn, crossing right in front of me, if not on top of me.
As it was, they pulled right, so I pulled right, and we both entered the space together, factory-shaped automobile metal somehow not impacting DNA-made me meat, with a good five inches to spare. Good five inches.
I looked at the driver, who looked back at me, both waiting to see if the other would rage and threaten. I love neither of those, so just sort of went around and back on my way.
Air moving again, limbs still intact, I felt two tugs for interpretation. One, I could be overwhelmed with the frustration and fear of the moment and the day and the week, pour it all into a Republican-style rage of blame against another. Or, I could take that startling moment as a gentle but clear reminder from the universe to get my perspective in order. Sitting on hold while I stress at a long To Do List? Not that bad.
So on Super Tuesday, I elected to vote against anger and fear, and helped myself to a serving of gratitude and serenity after nearly going through a car window. Enjoyed time with friends, determined to take my own advice not to be in such a g’dang hurry all the time, and am happy to be blogging about it today. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have hold music to listen to. And that’s just fine.
I feared a sad ending, but you delivered the good in every way.
I did too! I don’t know if it’s a good thing or just a scary thing that one often doesn’t have the time to really perceive danger until it’s over, but the human power over how to interpret an event is shocking in its potency.
That driver was supposed to be aware of you and wait.
I very much appreciate all the people like you who know that. You can drive in my town any day! 🙂 (And it reminded me to always be careful before I pull into a space, since I know normal actions can get very automatic.) But I feel like I shouldn’t have relied on their knowing the rules. I try not to be too cynical, but perhaps when riding is one place where it’s advisable to assume people are…less-than-perfect.
I know. Here in Texas I wouldn’t cycle exactly because cars turning into a driveway aren’t expecting a bike and because bicyclists are pretty much outlaws here. But In the Netherlands everybody learns the rules of the road, including the rules for bicycles from around 3rd grade. So I’m pretty sure he knew he was wrong and since he didn’t apologize, he was being an asshole. I’m just saying, yes, be careful, but it doesn’t seem this was your fault.
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I’m also feeling somewhat truculent right now; never mind me.
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No worries in the slightest! I hope my reply didn’t sound contrary or preachy (darn text and its lack of accurate tone!)
My girlfriend is exactly the same way, she yearns te fietsen, misses bicycling terribly, but won’t do it in America for exactly the reasons you mentioned, people just not thinking of bicycles. But if/when we move to Holland, we’re already planning bicycle vacations!
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