Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Extemporaneous or Rehearsed answer?

Three weeks ago, while riding the same route to work as I do on most days, I experienced something new. I wouldn't say something pleasant, but new nevertheless. I have been wanting to write about this experience since then, but only tonight I finally manged to write it in a post here.

Where Valley Ranch Parkway East meets the service road to Interstate 635, there is a fork in the road. One branch merges with the service road and the other cuts across the Service Road and joins Valley View Lane, after going under the Interstate. I was headed towards the interstate.

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Anyways, there I am riding along, fighting a rather stiff Southwind, riding with my head down, in a sorta aero-tuck. I was in the right-most lane headed in the direction of my travel (which was the left lane, given I was headed straight and not headed towards merging with the Service Road). Suddenly, I hear a little "Beep" and I see this woman in the convertible behind me, saying something (in a non-threatening manner) to me. I figure she is in a big hurry and I say to myself, "The heck with it. I will let her pass me" and signal, and I pull into the right lane, signaling her to pass me. Well, to my dismay, she moves into the left lane and while passing me, yells at me, "Hey Cyclist, get out of my way". Now, I am really puzzled. WTF (What The Fender)! I say, "No, I am not in your way". Then, the woman starts yelling some more: "Pull over, I want to talk to you!". I say, "No", and I continue pedaling down the road".

While this woman did not seem extremely dangerous, unlike some of the other "gifted creatures" I have had the pleasure of meeting on the road, I couldn't figure out what it is that she wanted from me. Did she simply want to pick a fight with someone? Did she want to prove that she was stronger, faster and mightier, than a 40 pound bicycle and the driver of the bicycle? Was she simply trying to make a point?  Was my answer not precise enough to shut her up?

After the incident, many thoughts went through my mind. Perhaps, the most important was that the entire ordeal made me wonder if I should have a rehearsed answer for these "bullies", instead of trying to talk logic and sense, extemporaneously, while under duress.

I want to commit to some answer like the following to my memory and I want to use it as the standard response, whenever I run into these situations again:
"I am using the roadway in a lawful manner. I am not impeding traffic. I am simply going as fast as my vehicle permits."

Apparently, there is no shortage of yahoos around Valley Ranch Parkway, during the morning and the evening rush-hour plus or minus an hour window: 7AM-10PM, 4PM-7PM.

What would you do? What would your answer be? Would you even bother answering these refined, superior humans?

Peace :)

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