Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cyclist Fear and Selfish Idiots

For those of you who have never seen me in real life, let me just tell you that I could stand to lose a few pounds. I'm not "please-oh-please-become-a-contestant-on-the-biggest-loser" big, but more like "holy-crap-I-really-am-thirty" big. A little lost around the middle, a little shrinkage in the chest, and a little lift in the backside, and I'd be pretty hot (again). But anyway...

So I've decided to get my big ol' rear in shape. I have a membership to the YMCA, but so little time, between my jobs and kids and hubby. But as of 2 weeks ago, I am the proud owner of a bike, a helmet, some glasses (so my pinguiculae won't be bothered), and an armband radio. I've been riding to work (5 miles, up and down hills) 3 days a week, and once I can do that without feeling an impending heart or asthma attack, I'll start riding back home, too.

Being on a bike, you're a little more aware of your surroundings than when you're in a car. You think about more, get a little more "Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance"-ey, and are constantly hoping that the day's car-drivers are nice, patient people. I've discovered that there are three different kinds of car drivers I encounter:
1) People who move over, possibly into the other lane, and it isn't a big deal.
2) People who move over, possibly into the other lane, and glare/honk/give the finger.
3) People who make a point of moving over as little as possible, just so they can make sure you know they're annoyed by your presence.

Now, dear reader, if you are in group one-- you are an angel and a blessing, and a contributing member of the human race. If you are in group two-- be a twerp if you like, as long as you don't hurt anyone. If you're in group three-- you're an idiot, a slug, and a shame on the human race.

It got me thinking about our fast-paced, me-first culture, and what a real shame it is upon our society that we have allowed ourselves to become so self-consumed. Someone in front of you is driving a little slower than you, they're a stupid granny keeping you from where you're going. Somebody chooses to ride a bike to work in a city where it is illegal to ride on sidewalks, and they're in your way, slowing you down, and they deserve to be frightened for screwing up your day. You feel a little depressed, and you wonder what is wrong with you, why is this happening to you. Did you ever think that perhaps everything isn't all about you after all? Perhaps you didn't plan well enough to leave on time to get to work; nobody is intentionally holding you back. Perhaps the reason you're feeling down is because our society is so whacked out that we think everything should always go our way all the time, and when it doesn't we act perplexed and hurt.

Maybe part of the reason you're glaring is because you wish you could get out of your box a little more. Maybe you're stressed out and angry because you've convinced yourself that's all you can be. Maybe that's what your parents were like, or somebody else you knew, and you just grew up thinking that random outbursts of temper and stupidity are normal. Here's a clue: they aren't. They make you look like a complete fool, and could not only hurt the person you're lashing out against-- they could hurt you in the long run.

Whenever somebody gets ahead of you in life, whether it be in their car, on their bike, in your office, or in some other area of your existence, get a grip. Act like a human. Don't be a baby. And for Pete's sake, pretend you have some self-control.

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