Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Better to be lucky than smart

There was a dump truck pulling a long, low, flat trailer down one of the main stretches of my commute this morning. It had perfect handholds on it, so I cruised up and took ahold of the one on the very end of the trailer. I thought I'd just let him pull me about a mile down the road and then let go. I could easily have passed him, but there was a free ride, so I held on at the back.

Then he started to drift over, so I let go and backed off a little. The trailer swung into the bike lane and pinched right up next to the curb. I would have been crushed. I yelled, but he didn't hear a thing, just kept on trucking.

"Fuck," I thought. "That was lucky." At the next light I rolled by him fast, and kept going.

Half a minute later I was skidding to a stop, as a woman threw her passenger side door open, straight across the bike lane, and stepped out directly in front of me. "No! No! No!" I yelled. "You can't get out in the middle of traffic like this!" She smiled and apologized and skittered away onto the sidewalk.

Her boyfriend/husband/driver then honked at me and called me a "fucking asshole" and then bade me fuck myself. I told him he looked very tough sitting in his car. Again, I rode away. I'm a cyclist, not a ninja.

And then I thought (as I often do in the post-conflict period when my adrenaline and sense of righteous indignation are all aflutter), "He's lucky I didn't kill his girlfriend." While he was busy hurling expletives at me, it never even occurred to him that, had his significant other waited two more seconds to fling her door open, I would most certainly have completely wrecked her. She would have been pulling my headset out of her face. She might have been pulling my front wheel out of can picture it.

The guy was/is an idiot. But then, so am I. This morning we were BOTH more lucky than smart.

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