Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm evil, I'm evil, I'm evil...

I'd hang my head in shame, if I wasn't so darn amused by two incidences that have occurred in the last week.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that becoming a motorcyclist has awakened a sort of hyper-awareness. It creeps you out a little when you realize you can anticipate other driver's actions. You no longer look at the car, you look at the driver's head and their eyes in the rear view and side mirrors. They telegraph what they're going to do before they act on it. Which, even if you're in a car, it's a better way to be a defensive driver. I think the vantage point from a motorcycle might be better though, because you're up higher than most car drivers. This newest ability has come into play in both cases.

The street I live on has no stop signs for about 3 or 4 blocks. The cross-streets in that distance all have yield signs, which nobody pays any attention to. My theory is that the morons flying through the yield signs think that the traffic on my street has a sign too. They don't. I've lived here two years and there have been 3 accidents in that time, right on my corner. My belief that the doling out of rules, regulations, and safety precautions by the government to "protect" the public, is merely the answer to society revolving around the weakest mental links. Enough stupid people crash at these intersections, soon there will be yield signs all around. Then stop signs. Then traffic lights. With cops directing traffic.

Incident #1
I'm leaving my house (on bike) to deposit my paycheck. Normally, I won't go left out of my driveway because that's the direction of all the intersections with the fools flying through them. But I was pressed for time and that's the shortest route to the bank. I gassed it a little more than I usually do down that street, so I was probably at about 10 over the speed limit. Two blocks from the house I see a guy on a bicycle hauling ass towards MY intersection and we are about to have a meeting. Except that I see him first and let off. Two things happen. I see that he looks left first (I'm to his right). Then I notice that a car parked on the side of the road blocks his vision of my approach. He was truly moving...I wouldn't doubt that he was rocketing along at 30.

So when he finally looks in my direction, I watch as both his hands mash down on all the brakes he has. I was going to let him pass in front of me, but when he decided to park his mountain bike, I slowed down enough to look him square in the eye as I passed him and shrieked with loud, obnoxious laughter at him as the look on his face was truly priceless. It was a mixture of adrenaline-powered fear and the realization that the slamming noise he likely heard behind him was his butthole. Which reminds me of the dog we used to have that would sit on the floor between my mom's and stepdad's chairs during dinner and would fart audibly (wood floor), then look at his butt curiously. Hence the hysterics. Also, there's some genetic bit in our family that mocks another's misery. In particular, I laugh first, then ask if you're okay.


The main road outside our neighborhood is a four-lane road with a median. It basically allows traffic to sort of bypass our downtown area and the Chippewa & Eau Claire River's confluence. I realize it's not the bypass you'll find around the Twin Cities or Atlanta, but in a town of 62,000 people, it is fairly busy. Many intersections, many lights.

It's currently undergoing a major overhaul, so all the traffic is diverted to one side. At each intersection, the through lanes veer to the right to make room for left turn lanes. I've been noticing that a majority of car drivers either don't realize the lanes veer to the right, or they change lanes there deliberately, like a straight shot from right lane to left. At any rate, I've been near enough to a handful of cars that decide they want my lane, but since I anticipate this, I ride just ahead of any car that's next to me.

Incident #2
Except the one day recently...apparently I had enough. When a woman traveling in the right lane (I could tell later by the outfit that she was a nurse), decided there was one too many cars in her lane as we approached a light, she barely registered a turn of her head (and no signal) in my direction as I was passing her and moved over. Well, now this time I actually was next to her and had to brake hard to avoid getting hit. I let her get in front of me, but this time I was pissed. And I rode the twenty feet to where the lanes veered right with my horn full on. When I got no response from her, and she stayed in the left through lane, I rode up to the driver's side in the left turn lane and proceeded to wave both flippin' arms in the air at her. "Do you see me now, you STUPID BAG?" "DO YOU?" I'm yelling uselessly into my helmet. I realize this probably lacked the explanation I was so wanting to give her, but it made me feel better. Also, when I finally showed up in her peripheral vision, riding inches from the side of her car, waving my hands in the air like a maniac, she jumped a foot out of her seat, which made me collapse into a bout of hard laughter. Explanation conveyed.

At the next light, which was turning red, I signaled in a grand way that, in addition to my left turn signal...I'M GOING TO TURN HERE. JUST SO YOU KNOW. She totally blew the red light. Fear?

That was a good day.

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