I know that you hate me. I feel your hatred rattle my bones when you drive up next to me, so close that if I were to turn my head I would see my reflection in your passenger window, stay there for a minute and then step on the gas like you were squashing a bug. Your hatred mixes with the dust in my mouth as you rev your engine past me, in your SUV, your Toyota, your pick-up truck. I try not to take it personally as I point my face downward to avoid the fumes and pedal my bike faster.
I swear at you. I call you a stupid, lazy, gas guzzling, bastard. You give me the finger and call me a psychotic, spandex-wearing, left-wing bitch.
And then you are gone.
My adrenaline remains high because you have driven away and I can’t resolve this argument. You don’t get to tell me that you are late for your meeting or that if you come to work late one more time that the boss said he’d fire you and you overslept today because you had to drop the kids off at the babysitters, so having to slow down for me and my bicycle, really pisses you off.
I don’t get to tell you that I am riding in the PMC to raise money for cancer research and that I am on this road during the morning commute because I have too many miles to log and there are just so many hours in a day. Since you don’t stop, I can’t explain that I am a cancer survivor so this race is particularly important to me. I don’t get to tell you about the health benefits of bicycle riding. But this I fear would fall on deaf ears because you would probably tell me to go ride on the bike trail, to “leave the road for the cars”–like you screamed at me that time out your truck window as you cut me off in that intersection in Groveland. Remember that? But you are always gone in a flash of dust and gas and exhaust so I can’t explain to you that the bike path is more for families with toddlers on tricycles and babies in jogging strollers.
I need to ride with you on the road, shoulder to shoulder–even though most times that shoulder is littered with sand and glass so I must maneuver into your lane for a few seconds–which you claim I do on purpose, just to spite you.
I wonder if you stay mad at me all day. I don’t stay mad at you. Once you are past me, I let you go and put that energy into pumping my legs harder and riding faster. I grip the handlebars tighter until you are out of sight and then I relax again. In your vehicle there is no outlet for your anger except to rev your engine, lay on the horn, and maybe turn up your radio. Does every cyclist you see for the rest of the day feed into your hatred. Does that co-worker in the desk next to you who commutes to work from the north shore, get under your skin? Do you make fun of his helmet behind his back? Secretly pray that he doesn’t get that promotion? I don’t know because I am not you. I am me—a psychotic, spandex-wearing left-wing bitch, who isn’t trying to ruin your day, who is just trying to co-exist with a stupid, lazy gas-guzzling bastard like yourself.
ps. Have a nice day.