Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Have Seen the Angel of Death.....and she drives a white Focus.

Being far too jaded to actually RUN for exercise, I choose to ride a bike.  I have a nice Trek hybrid--read: old fart's bike--and it has some useful accessories, like a wee computer that tells me when I am slacking off, a tiny bell so that I can warn pedestrians when I overtake them without giving them a heart attack.  I also found a genuine AIR HORN.  It consists of a clear-plastic soda bottle with a rubber cap, a hose up to a smallish horn on the handlebars and you fill it with a bike-pump.  This sucker is not merely loud, it sounds kind of frantic, like "Holy Crap!" but higher pitched.  I also wear a hi-viz lime t-shirt and have a rear-view mirror mounted on my helmet.

Despite all that about one and a half times a week, someone tries to kill me.  Mostly, it is because they are just dim-witted, speaking on a cell phone, typically clueless and other sundry handicaps. If you ride a motorcycle--as I have for about 45 years--you come to know that most drivers are basically A) not very competent, and B) not very intelligent.  I suppose you could argue that these go hand in hand....and, of course, they do.  But, there are also very bright people who totally suck at driving a vehicle.  And I've met some seriously 'slow' people who can do just fine when it comes to anything from a farm tractor to a semi. So, let's just say that there's some overlap, but the bottom-line is that MOST of the drivers on the open road are very limited in their understanding and their skill set when it comes to the act of driving.

Well, you combine this fact of life, with a psychological 'glitch' and you can end up like the woman who tried to kill me today.  I was pedaling along, nearing the entrance to the hallowed site where we get to 'eat with the King', and as I approached the entrance, a white Ford Focus pulled alongside me.  I saw her begin to brake, and I surmised immediately that she intended to turn in and have a visit with His Majesty.  I just didn't quite get that she was willing to kill for a cheeseburger.

Because I knew her intent to turn was about to manifest, I put my thumb on the red horn-button.  As she slowed to my speed and I realized that she didn't plan on waiting for me to move ahead of her, but intended to go for the goodies THROUGH ME....I laid on the horn.  Trust me, there is no way you cannot be alarmed at the sound of this horn.  It actually hurts my ears when I use it.  Remember, I am also wearing the bright lime-yellow shirt that highway construction crews wear; I am lit up like a freakin' big, fat LED on wheels here.

And ........HERE SHE COMES, turning right into me.  My choices are limited at this point: I can abandon the bike and dive onto the top of her car--an act I might have been capable of when I was in the infantry and loaded to the eyeballs (okay it wasn't the eyes that were loaded...I was just being coy) with testosterone....or I can brake heroically, and try to out-turn her as she dives in front of me.  If I blow it, I will be under her wheels.  Luckily, I did the latter and pulled it off.....but, I was shaking like a leaf afterwards.

Since I was headed into the parking lot now.....I pedaled up to where my nemesis had taken her place at the take-out feeding trough.  She stared straight ahead, pretending I would go away if she didn't look at me.  Her window was up and her door locked.  Seems only prudent, eh.  So, I loudly--recall I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Infantry now--informed her that she had no right to cut me off like that.  She waved her hand in a 'Whatever' kind of kiss-off.  And so I cussed her roundly up and down and then rode back down the parking lot to resume my ride.  It was one of those incidents I am not willing to let pass.

We live in the same small town.  Sooner or later, I will see her tooling about in her wheeled, white weapon, and I will get her plate number and at that point I will file a complaint for 'driving to endanger'.  I see stupid all the time on my bike....far too many times to count.  But, this.....this was MALEVOLENT.  And, we're not finished.

Of course, it's also possible that one of her fellow angels--like the cell-phone wielding Angel of Numbness--will take me out before I can follow through.  I accept that as a risk of being out there on public byways.

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