Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What part of "no" don't you understand?

I've been on very good behavior for over a week after letting someone have it in such an angry way that I had to sit myself down later for a talking.

After work, the Contraption Captain and I bicycle towards each other and when we meet (usually in Palo Alto) he turns around and we often pull over for a minute or two.   When he comes up beside me we signal and then pull into a parking space to avoid blocking bicycle or car traffic.  We get off our bicycles and are hugging when I am briefly and unpleasantly startled to see that there is a white car wedging itself in behind us.  I say "wedging" because we are in a single parking spot and the car has it's ass in the road and it's nose in the piece of the parking place that we are not using.

The person in the white car rolls down their window and yells "Can you move forward?"

Forward is the driveway to a parking garage.  I don't want to be in the driveway for the parking garage.  I want to be in the parking space, where I am already parked, and I want to be left alone.  Also, I'm mad.  Really mad.  I say in a very unfriendly voice "No.  I can't."  To me the matter has been settled and I begin the important business of handing my laptop bag over to the Contraption Captain.  He has panniers and I do not and I am happy to give my back a break.

The person in the white car tries again "How about you move forward about three feet?"

So here I am in a parking space that happens to be a loading/unloading zone where people can park for twenty minutes.  We have our bicycles in the spot.  We have hugged.  We are loading and unloading.  The entire operation is going to take about three minutes and yet before thirty seconds is up someone wants me to move?  I take a deep breath and bellow "Jesus Christ!!  What is your problem???  WAIT YOUR FUCKING TURN!  What part of "NO" don't you understand you dumb broad?"

I'm really really angry.  Usually when I'm angry it is because someone has done something that makes me think I am about to die.  That wasn't it this time, this was new.  I was angry because no matter how tiny a piece of real estate I command as a bicyclist, there always seems to be someone who is telling me that it is way way too much and I should give it all back to their very deserving 4-door sedan.

The cars honk and shout if the bicyclists ride side by side and try and talk to each other.  The skinny little bicycle lanes of Toronto take up too much room and need to be torn out.  When I try and make my way across the road, signalling that I want to take a left someone may shout at me that I am in the way.  When I am pedaling to a red light a Dodge Charger roars by in the passing lane and then slams to a stop in front of me upset that I slowed them down however briefly.  If bicyclists stand out too much we are behaving dangerously but if we blend in too much we get run over.  And finally, if we move our bicycles into a parking space, away from the busy road and away from the crowded sidewalk there is still going to be someone standing behind us insisting that we should move forward.

Once I understood why I was mad it mostly went away.  I'm still bicycling, still enjoying the beautiful evening air.  I have a new helmet and some new lights and a new rear-view mirror.  I know that many regard my tiny piece of real estate to be way too huge but I am not giving it up.

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