It was very safe for you, inside your silver Lexus SUV. You, armored inside steel and shining glass, so easily rolled down your power windows to yell “get off the road!” at me, clinging to the steel frame of my bike.
The lights were in your favor, so I didn’t catch you at a light to give back a piece of my mind.
My first thought was, “what the hell? I pay taxes on this road, too, bitch. As long as I’m following the rules of traffic–which I am–I have every right to be on this road.”
Every vehicle northbound on 24th had to stop at the light by the market and the library. Obviously I’m a little slower to start up again than those with combustion engines, but, also obviously, there are two lanes of traffic, so you were able to pass me within two blocks.
The first time someone threw a verbal assualt from their vehicle at me (old pickup truck, intersection of 65th & Roosevelt) I teared up in shock and outrage. This time, it burned in my chest for a few blocks, then I started thinking not about my justifications for riding on the street, but wondering what your issues are.
Maybe you were legitimately in a hurry. Maybe there was a sick child in the back seat, and you, in a fury of mother love and responsibility, rained down unthinking hate on anything between you and the hospital.
Maybe you were up all night, working on a business presentation, or consoling a friend on a long-distance phone call about some crisis. You were late for work, you had a meeting on the eastside at 9, you needed to make the pitch to the big guy to keep your job, the one that pays for things like Lexus SUVs.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t your car at all. Maybe you are the spoiled teenage brat, borrowing Daddy’s car to drive to school. The senior so close to graduation, so close to being spat out into the real world, but still with no idea how the real world will treat you, or how you should treat others.
Or maybe you’re just so high class that you can’t stand any cheap vehicle on the streets. Maybe you’d shout out the window at old Hondas or crummy-ass Nissans, if you thought they could hear you over that dreadful music.
But my favorite theory is that you’re just jealous. Wherever you’re going, on a Friday morning, you’ll probably end up stuck in some sort of traffic. And you’ll be in traffic on the way home. And in between, you’ll probably have to pay for parking, while those of us with bikes merrily scoot through the edges of your exhaust filled pile-ups, and pay nothing for parking spots right outside of wherever we’re going, all while getting our recommded daily dose of exercise.
So I forgive you for your jealousy, and for your irritation, and I hope that one day, when you’re stuck in traffic on I-90, and watching the cyclists shoot by in the bike lane, you’ll realize that you could get one too, and it could be just as shiny as your Lexus.