It is this Friday past and I am bicycling home from work. I am not in a one hundred percent awesome mood because of having read that C02 is at it's highest level in millions of years and reading reports like this make me uneasy no less when I am surrounded by hot cars breathing hot exhaust on a hot day.
I look around a lot when I bicycle. I look around a lot almost all the time, bicycling or not, because I am a tiny bit paranoid and I want to make sure no one is thinking about killing me and I also look around because the world is very interesting. It is due in part to this looking around that my trips are never boring to me but sometimes I see things I would rather not have seen and then I have a few regrets. Friday was such a day.
We started off innocuously enough. A car pushed up next to me and stopped at a red light. I look over in time to see the driver pick up a ballpoint pen and start digging around in his ear. He extracts a clump of something. He examines it pensively. He wipes the pen on something I can't see, either his pants or his car seat. He re-inserts the pen in his ear and returns to excavating. I avert my eyes and remind myself that although bicycling with blinders on would save me from situations like this one, bicycling blinders would come with its own risk factor. And the day can only get better, right?
At San Antonio I am in the middle lane. In the right turn lane is one of the new Tesla sedans. As promised, it is a very quiet car. I dislike Tesla cars a little less than I dislike cars that are not electric. Since I am just sitting there, and the car is right next to me, I have time to admire the way the car door handles are totally flush with the car door. I wonder a little about how that might work. My gaze travels up to the driver. Mistake. He's smiling faintly and he has his finger deep inside one of his nostrils. He gouges around in there and withdraws some material which he gazes at affectionately and then puts in his mouth and eats.
It's really easy to see the extent to which people in cars become divorced from their surroundings at moments like this. Despite sitting in a box smaller than their bedroom and surrounded by windows on all sides these car drivers are totally comfortable with picking boogers out of their respective noses at eating the product. Yuck, car drivers, yuck!!
The light turns green and I pedal off, assuring myself that it is Friday and I should be happy and that the law of averages suggests I will be spared the sight of any other car people excavating their orifices and although this last turns out to be true the events of the evening are also not entirely complete.
It begins in the usual way. I am desperately trying to hold onto a lane (I don't take a lane when bicycling so much as grab onto it by my fingertips while someone pounds my hands with a hammer) because there is no bicycle lane and to my right there is a right turn only lane and I am going straight. Two lanes for people going straight. Mine will actually vanish at the next rapidly approaching traffic light but the cars want to be in my soon to be gone lane because if they use the actual lane for people going straight they might get stuck behind some cruel monster who slows to take a left at the intersection.
So there I am, in my soon to be gone lane, pedaling desperately towards a red traffic light when a large SUV "passes" me on my left. Since I'm in the middle of the lane and since it is very wide and also since after "passing" me it has to immediately slam on it's brakes (remember, the light is red) it's kindof an unpleasant experience. I don't die but I do scream a little girlish screen and then we are sitting there at the light and I eyeball the license plate frame. It says University of Arizona. I think "I hate you Arizona bleach blonde asshole driver. Go the fuck home and bake in a desert you ugly stupid fuck."
The SUV has a dog in it. The dog begins to bark furiously at me, almost as if it has read my mind and does not approve. That's cool, bark on. I'm only afraid of cars and trucks, dogs not at all. I pull my bicycle a little closer to that fat bumper and stare at the dog. It barks louder. I smile hopefully, imagining how loud a barking dog would be in an enclosed space like an SUV.
The light turns green and the SUV tears off and I pedal off and then, tada, we are all at the next goddamned light because almost killing me is so damned worth it on a road with a traffic light every tenth of a mile. The SUV wedges itself into the space between the curb and the car in front of it effectively preventing me from taking a right turn. It puts on it's turn signal. I pull up behind it. Does the dog remember me?
It does! It barks with renewed frenzy and I arch my eyebrow at it and make a small growly noise for it's benefit. It goes totally nuts. Just as the barking seems on the verge of crescendoing the dog whirls around and I see a splash of yellow on the window in front of me. Holy dog testicles! The dog is peeing on me! Yeah well this is why dogs are incredibly stupid. If you want to pee on the bicyclist waiting in traffic behind you for all that is holy, roll the window down first, right? Otherwise you know, you're peeing all over yourself and your owner's car you damned idiot.
Light turns green. Car drives away. I try and pedal away but I am laughing so hard I can barely see staight. My bicycle and I stagger up the road with me nearly falling off once or twice because I'm laughing so hard and then, and then...yes! It is...another light! Now I am waiting to turn left onto East Meadow and SUV is waiting to go straight! Does Arizona realize that her idiotic dog has pissed all over the backseat of her car? I'm laughing so hard people are looking over, wondering what the deal is. Arizona looks over also. She looks confused and suspicious, like a driver who is pretty distracted but starting to wonder what that bad smell might be.
I turn off and get onto Bryant and I can't stop laughing. I laugh until my legs are weak. I stop laughing and then remember that stream of yellow dog pee and I start laughing all over again. After I stop laughing, mostly because I'm exhausted, I still have a giant wide grin on my face which has the unintended result of causing every other bicyclist that passes me to wave joyfully in my direction because apparently I look so friendly.
So today I wondered if this whole disgusting thing was a trend and if a whale would throw up in the road on my way to work but apparently last Friday was a one off and I got in to the office with nothing more worthy of comment then a purely blue sky.