Saturday, April 16, 2011

lame blue Prius is lame

My daily commute takes me through the intersection of Middlefield and Charleston.  Here I have to exit the bike lane and move to the left across three lanes of traffic so that I can get into the left turn only lane.  Seeing as I am, you know, taking a left...  I've found it best to give the cars plenty of warning (by signalling well in advance) and watching to see if they are yielding to let me cross in front of them (thank-you rear mirror) and also I try and time my trip to coincide with the light being red for them (don't get in between a snake and a mouse, don't get between an SUV and a green light) so that they are calmer.

It usually goes ok.

Yesterday I had made it safely to the far left, the lights ahead were all red, and then in the last yard a blue Prius pulled immediately in front of me.  This left part of their car in the "I go straight" lane and the other part of the car in the "I go left" lane.  It also meant that they nearly clipped me as up until that moment I had been in that particular spot of the "I go left" lane.  OK fine.  You can be first.  Whatever.

Sometimes cars decide at the last minute that they want to go left.  I get that.  I don't do it myself of course because bicycles don't have the luxury of making sudden unpredictable movements.  But heavy cars can and will change their minds like two ton butterflies seeking a better meadow.

This was not about changing her mind.  She was mad about me being there at all.  The driver I mean.  She glared at me and said something to her companion and then glared some more.  She made a rude gesture.  I returned her stare evenly.  I was not at fault.  Because California has attempted to civilize the Massachusetts out of me I did not say "learn to drive you fat ugly cow."

The light turns green and she goes through the intersection and assumes she is done with me.  She is mistaken.  Cars vastly over-estimate their speed and performance.  Her lane was busy and my bike lane was pretty well empty and I am a snappy bicyclist, not an ugly old ho driving a blue Prius. (That just slipped through the filter, sorry.  A little sorry.)

We are at the next light and we are side by side.  I stare.  She looks uneasy.  She says something to her companion.  They sortof look at me and then sortof look away.  The Blue Cow (I just think it) points at me and I stare at her as if she had bugs dripping off her head.

Next light and there I am.  Go me!  The Blue Cow and Friend look at me and one of them says something but it sounds pretty weak.

Next light and ta-da.  I'm still there.  Yes, that person you treat badly may show up again and even again after that.  We are now about to go our separate ways, her onto the maelstrom of traffic that is the 101 and me peacefully on a bike lane the rest of the way to work.  She looks over at me.  I abruptly roll out my (kindof long) tongue and cross my eyes and shake my head from side to side.  She kindof shrieks.

Immature, yes.  But pretty satisfying overall.

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