Wednesday, May 2, 2012

keeping it weird.

The roses of Palo Alto are in full magnificent bloom.  They grow on fences, by roads, on trellises, along driveways and on top of the weird wood structures the Californians mount to the fronts of their garages.  These are super deluxe very creamy roses, some as big as cabbages, and they're flowering in all the colors of a quality sunrise.  I like these roses.  I don't just pedal by them I pedal through their delicious scent.  These roses are an extravagance of riches blooming in all their crazy tinted profusion and that's why I forgot to mention the bicycle accident and sociopath from yesterday.

I arrived just after the ambulance and waited at a red light long enough to see that both bicyclists were vertical and calm and that one bicycle looked to be totalled and that a car was there and the police were interviewing everyone.  Two other roadies pulled up beside me and we kindof eyed each other the way sheep eye each other when they find a ewe whose been mostly eaten up by a wolf.  I was super happy that the bicyclists looked to be ok. 

THEN.  On the way home!

To be absolutely honest I'm not sure my writing is up to describing this incredibly weird experience.  But I'm a gonna try.

It was at the intersection of San Antonio and Charleston.  Not my favourite spot to wait but I wait here every day as the light in my direction is pretty short.  Whenever I am waiting at a red light I look at the cars around me.  What I look for:

  • is the driver obviously drunk?
  • is the driver talking on a phone?
  • is the driver texting?
  • is the driver fighting with his girlfriend?
  • is there a driver?  (Google is in the same neighborhood after all)

While I look I make a mild attempt at friendly (and submissive) eye contact.  I want to impress on the cars around me that it's a person on this bicycle, a person just trying to get home from work, and that I'm not worth the delay that running over me would cost them. 

The driver behind me and to my right (I take a middle lane here because the lane to my right quickly becomes right turn only and I go straight) is this inscrutable looking Indian guy with giant bug-like black sunglasses and a motionless face. 

A familiar driving beat starts up.  It is super loud.  I try and place the riff.  I look around again.  I can't believe it but the opening bars of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" are coming from Mr. Inscrutable's mid-grade sedan.  His face still doesn't move.  The music is so loud I worry that I will be the first bicyclist to die of car audio.  I notice the drivers of other cars looking around to understand the commotion.  Still, the light is red.  I stare straight ahead.  This would be funnier if Mr. Inscrutable did not look like he was very slowly morphing into Mr. Fucking_Furious.

A loud horn booms in my ear.  HONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNk.  HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!  Mr Fucking_Furious (nee Mr. Inscrutable) is indeed upset.  He wants to make a right turn but cannot because there is a car in front of him (would that my problems with cars were so small but whatever) and now in between the cheesy pop strains of "Billie Jean" he's honking the horn on his car and screaming "C'MON ALREADY!" 

Presumably the car in front responds by rolling up his own window and turning his music up because Mr. Fucking_Furious gets no satisfaction.  I will point out to those not familiar with this intersection that Mr. F. is in the wrong.  It is entirely legal to go straight from the right lane at the intersection of San Antonio and Charleston.  It is the lane at Charleston and Fabian which is right turn only. 

Good news.  The light finally turned and I safely escaped to the peace of Bryant Street shortly afterwards.


  1. I hate those tense moments at the light being anywhere near a person in a car who wants what he wants NOW. I can't watching from across the intersection but just know something bad could possibly happen. The feeling usually takes a while to shake but I'm always fine by the time I get home.

  2. I pulled up next to a seriously baddass looking Harley rider once who was blasting Billie Jean at incredible volume as he rode through the sleepy residential neighborhood street I take to work. I actually found it quite amusing, but unfortunately I had the song in my head the rest of my commute.