Friday, January 20, 2006

Strafing...

(I began this on Wednesday, intending to post it that night. But things intervened family-wise, and I forgot about it until this morning – Friday – and as it happened, other events should be included. They’re at the end….Ed)

Each morning this week, a pickup truck buzzed by my elbow near the maintenance base. It’s been the same truck every time. Yesterday, he passed me just north of the main entrance, and I watched as he drove toward the north parking lot. I was too far away to catch up, and my goggles didn’t allow me to get the license number.

This morning, he did it again, but I was near the north gate, so I sprinted through the gate into the north lot. I’d lost sight of the truck behind some buildings, of course, but I cruised up and down the rows looking for it anyway. At that time of day, there are few pedestrians in the lot. Most everyone here starts earlier.

I passed one guy walking across the lot. He was watching me, and after I’d passed behind him, he turned to watch. I have a suspicion he may be the motorist. An innocent person wouldn’t have turned around to observe my progress.

Tomorrow, I’m wearing my glasses. If I get a tag number, I can identify the vehicle in the parking lot and find his employee number from his parking pass.

Our employer has a list of interesting ways to get oneself fired. One of them is Rule 32, which bars harassing, intimidating, or threatening another employee either on or off duty. I can identify this guy from his employee number on his truck, make a harassment complaint, and begin a most likely futile exercise in finger pointing. It’s like dealing with the cops. Unless an incident is actually witnessed by a living, breathing police officer, it didn’t happen.

Still, there’s one school of thought that argues for making the complaint despite the futility. It’s a figurative ‘shot across the bow’ – a warning against further attempts. The flip side is that it may make our mis-guided motorist angrier, and he’s likely to use that anger as aggression toward other cyclists.

On the other hand, I’ll admit that I hear the Queen of Hearts screaming, “Off with his head!” but I try to ignore it.

(Thursday morning)

I rode to work at the usual time and saw the usual motorists, but not my malicious motoring moron. (How’s THAT for alliteration!) I rode into a headwind and was pretty tired by the time I got to the base, probably too tired for even a shouting match.

(Friday afternoon)

I rode the parking lot again this morning, looking for Senor Moron. Sometimes I've called this "showing the flag" - a premptive effort.

In the afternoon, there was a grass fire over along US169, the freeway that parallels my route home. Naturally, a lot of traffic diverted from the highway onto what is normally a quiet 2-lane. Not today. Horns blared and middle fingers were raised at the cyclist with the effrontery to ride on ‘their' road. One guy actually stopped, said he was gonna kill me, and then realized just how BIG I am. I waved. He drove off cursing. Just south of 76th Street, traffic was backed up for easily a quarter of a mile, waiting to get through the T intersection. I normally wouldn’t do this, but I was pissed, so I passed all of them on the right just to show my contempt.

A fine time was had by all.

2 Comments:

Blogger Fritz said...

A couple of years ago one of my co-workers was harassed by a Jeep-driving moron. Ben was taking the right lane of a 4-lane road because the lane is too narrow to share safely and Ms Jeep was too ticked to move left to pass, although there was no other traffic. She tailgaited Ben, revved her engine and honked her horn repeatedly. This happened two or three times, so another friend purposely went out on the road to take the lane and try to provoke something with the motorist, but she disappeared.

The traffic sergeant from the PD watches our advocacy list and he had sent extra patrols on the road to also try to find the culprit Jeep driver. The traffic sergeant and several of the police officers on his team are avid cyclists.

Here's a photo of the road taken from my bike. You'll note I'm near the middle of the lane.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Dan Chang said...

You go, niggaaaaaaaaa! Yeaaaah, baby! But, watch yer six.

9:04 AM  

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