Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Easy Pieces. The cell phone.

I am bicycling home with the Contraption Captain.  We are on Sand Hill Road and there is a lot of traffic, not stalled, but not moving fast either.  We pass them on the right from our place of relative safety, the bicycle lane.  They pass us on the left when the traffic lights go their way.

Ahead of us a woman is live parked in the bicycle lane.  She's pulled over in a sloppy way or we might have had room to squeeze by her on the left, squeeze by her while we hope she doesn't decide to abruptly open her car door to pour out some old coffee.  There is no room to squeeze by however because she is entirely blocking our path and so we, the Contraption Captain and I, stick out our hands to say that we want to merge with the car traffic.

The cars are underwhelmed by our desire to continue on our way despite the roadblock one of their own has erected.  Contraption Captain is in front of me and he goes first into the breach, the abyss, and he gets a spot but an angry car slams their hand down on their horn.  Maybe they are honking at him because he pulled out.  Maybe they are honking at me warning me not to try and do the same, that their patience is thin from their 20 mph trek.

I stop my bicycle and then roll up to the driver side window of the car blocking my entire lane, the car who has stopped and shut down my only avenue of travel on this road.  It is a pretty young woman talking on a cell phone.  She senses me and looks up.

I'm glad she is not driving and talking on her cell phone.  I'm glad she is not texting and driving her car at the same time.  Doing that is dangerous to all of us.  I have to ask though, is the answer to not driving and talking on the phone parking in the one bicycle lane?  Would it be impossible to ask the person to stop somewhere that is not my only road?

I knock on her window.  She mouthes "Oh, I'm sorry."  I knock again.  Resigned she rolls down her window.  I say "if you had pulled over just a little more, I could have gotten by you."  She says "I'm sorry."  I try to think what it is I want to say and then gesture towards the bumper to bumper car and truck traffic streaming by within touching distance.  I say "does that look like a nice place to ride?"  She hesitates and then shakes her head.  She apologizes.  I nod and thank her for that and then I squeeze by her parked car and continue on my way home.

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