I go into work later on Tuesdays and this generally reduces the number of drivers I have to interact with on the road and for the most part that's a good thing. Generally at least, but the thing about assholes is that not only does everyone have one, it's also that it only takes one to run you over. Luckily that didn't happen and I remain not run over.
The Connecticut-Calvert situation remains a mess. A wrong lane driver decided to pull into the crosswalk and wait there instead of block the right-turn-only lane. I get it: don't want to inconvenience anyone. Anyone that matters, at least. There are, thankfully, few pedestrians who cross there, zoo foot traffic at that time of day being relatively light. This would be a remarkably easy intersection at which traffic enforcement professionals could issue tickets for sundry infractions, but I'm not sure I've ever seen them there. They must be elsewhere. [lol]
Riding a bicycle in the city is an unintermediated experience. This, I think, is what makes it so enjoyable and also what, I think, makes cyclists feel so viscerally close passes or dangerous turns or the whistle and whoosh of speeding cars. The senses are heightened from not just proximity, but the lack of any physical barrier. In an aquarium, you're but a few inches from the sharks, but that those few inches are measured in glass makes all the difference. Same with bicycling and not have windows. I mean, I guess you could have a fairing, but most of us don't and for the most part, that's ok. Anyway, the extra-sensitivity from being so close to the world around you is really, I don't know, addictive and on nice afternoons, I feel like I just feel the nice weather more. Like it sits on my skin in a way that it wouldn't had I not spent the last many years riding everyday. It's an odd feeling, but I think it's true.
The other thing about the lack of intermediation is that randos will walk up to you and start talking and some of these randos are crazy people. To wit, outside of St. Albans, a man approached. He was white and middle aged and had slicked back hair and wore a yellow t-shirt. He begins:
"You know, I used to work here"
and I thought that I would soon here a story about the school, but then he continues
"and these kids are smart and great and work hard. And they spend their whole lives working hard and trying to get ahead and to get a good job and make money and to think"
Now at this point, I'm worried that there's going to be some helmet-shaming. I wasn't wearing one, but I was wearing a tie and dress shirt and I thought this guy was gonna pivot and be like 'these kids are smart and work hard, like you did or whatever, and to think you'd ride a bike without a helmet and you'll die blah blah blah.' Why did I worry about this? I dunno exactly, but definitely in the past random strangers have commented on my not wearing a helmet and I thought that maybe that was what was happening here. And frankly, I wish it was that, but it wasn't, because he continued
"and you know- and my wife calculated it. 39 cents on the dollar. We make 39 cents on the dollar and the rest goes to taxes and these kids work so hard for all that money-
At this point I was like oh god
"for all that money to be spent by Her"
oh god no. The crosswalk light had changed and I was like 'oh no, must get out of here'
"and all those taxes. She's the-
Honestly here, I was like ok, this is not where I expected this to go. We don't have a lot of angry right-wing types in DC and I can't say that I've ever been dragooned into a one-side conversation (monologue? rant?) with one, but then comes the coda
"Someone should put a bullet in that c*nt's heead"
Yup. That's 1) a pretty offensive thing to say aloud about anyone to anyone and 2) a totally wacko thing to say to A STRANGER ON A BICYCLE WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE STOPPED WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE
A few takeaways:
1. don't wait for stoplights
2. when waiting for stop lights, take out your phone
3. I think it's kind of weird how comfortable he was launching into this diatribe and perhaps thinking that because I'm a white dude who was wearing a tie that I'd be a) interested or b) inclined to agree with him. Anyway, don't bike in ties.
4. Buy a car and roll up your windows and never commute by bike
5. I didn't say anything in response. I just left. I'm sure I could've yelled at this guy or dressed him down for saying something so horrific, but I've read far too many things about random interactions in traffic escalating for me to do anything other than ride away when the going gets crazy. This might be a virtue or a moral failure. It's unclear.
Rainy this morning. Took the Ogre, which was far too beefy a bike for the drizzle. Like bringing a cleaver to a knife fight. It's probably a max pretty right now. Could use some fenders before autumn gets serious though.
Coincidentally, I was riding in front of the 96 bus for a little this morning, upon which sat my ANC commissioner. She texted me that she saw me. I turned around and waved. We parted ways at the base of the hill at Cleveland and Woodley.
I left work slightly earlier than usual today and the ride home was fine. It'll be the last dry ride for awhile. Tomorrow begins the deluge.
In non-commuting news, I briefly owned a cycling computer. I returned it after maybe an hour's worth of fiddling. It turns out that I wanted it until I had it and once I had it, I realized that I didn't want it. That's the nature of these things sometimes.