Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Change is not just coming, change is here. (but people will probably continue to suck for awhile.)

Adventure 1.  Nice.

Today I counted twenty-seven bicyclists waiting for the light at the intersection of Oregon and Bryant. 


That's not the total for the duration of the commute, that's just bicyclists at this one light.  It was cold out (positively Arctic by California standards) but there they were, a metric ton of students of all ages, bicycling.  It started at Embarcadero when I was behind three ~14 year old females who nearly got t-boned by two ~14 year old males when the light turned green.  Much shrieking ensued.  From there to Charleston my route was dotted with students.  Some were bicycling with their hands in their pockets to keep warm.  One had a cello on his back.  Many were in little social groups of three or four, talking and laughing as they made their way to class.  All of them had helmets on (if you care about that kind of thing) and they all looked absolutely content to be pedaling in to school as opposed to being chauffeured by a surly parent.  I tried to count the total number of these student bicyclists but lost track at eighty-three. 

It was fabulous.  Before today I had always been before or after the elementary and high school inbound commuters for Palo Alto.  The number of bicyclists really knocked me over and I saw hope for a future where a default would be getting on a bicycle, not getting into a car.

Adventure 2.  Not So Nice

San Antonio and Charleston is not my favorite intersection.  The bicycle lane vanishes and the cars are fractious.  It's not my least favorite either --- the cars are bunched up like cattle so they move slowly which makes them easier to avoid. 

You deserve a picture but I don't have one, sorry.  Imagine two lanes for going straight and one very short lane (maybe four cars can fit) for taking a left.  Cars hate this!!  If they are not in the lucky group close to the front, they're screwed.   They see the green arrow for their turn but they're stuck behind a bunch of people who have a red light and are waiting to go straight. 

I got zero sympathy.  They make the choice to get into those damn vehicles every morning, they can deal with the fallout. 

Which brings me to the morning commute.  I am trundling along in the far right lane and planning to go straight.  A ginormous SUV gives me a scare by passing me too close and jamming themselves into place in front of me.  The same ginormous SUV abruptly switches from the right lane in to the left lane causing a small and terrified Hybrid Civic to beep in helpless annoyance.  See ginormous SUV?  Even the other cars do not like you!

Ginormous saved the best for last.  She (it was a she) saw the green arrow.  Was not in the turn lane.  Without hesitation she crosses the double yellow line and starts driving up the other side of the street.  Personally I think this would have given anyone coming around the corner quite a surprise.  She still does not get to the front in time and so she runs the red light.  More honking.

So to that lady?  I hope you got to the hospital on time before your loved one expired, I really do.  I know you drove that way and endangered everyone else because you had a really good reason.  Going forward please remember that having a loved one in the hospital does not give you the right to put someone else's loved one in traction.  Or worse.

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