Yes, you read that right. I was biking, and
some poor, misguided soul, correction, a major assclown in a car slowed down to throw a firecracker at my head. But that wasn’t all. The firecracker throwing happened after a guy in a truck sped through the turn at a red light without yielding in front me, which could have resulted in major pain or death were I not such a defensive rider and excellent bike handler. But shortly thereafter I came upon his shop where his loose barking dogs came at me. Usually my evening bike rides aren’t as eventful. This one saved all the excitement until the last 20 minutes. Let’s go to my Strava description.
My first 30-mile ride in a while was quite pleasant until the last five. Guy in an Army Navy store truck ran a red light or at least didn’t yield. I totally had the right away but I could tell he wasn’t slowing down so I let him go first. But then a few minutes later I passed his shop and his two dogs came at me. I had to ride out into Lamar (a bust street) and they were about to chase me. I let him know I wasn’t happy about it but since he probably has lots of guns I didn’t say anything about the red light. Then not a few minutes later probably some teenagers, members of the FSM, Future Sociopaths of ‘merica, slowed down next to me. I didn’t know what was happening when they threw a firecracker out the window towards me. It was very loud, but no flash of light, and luckily I kept upright. I got most of the license plate and reported all three incidents to 311. Maybe somebody will call me back tomorrow. Be careful out there. Major assclowns abound amongst us.
Fortunately, I escaped unhit, unbitten, and with only some ringing in the ear. It shall dissipate and heal promptly, I’m sure, because I told it to do so and anything less is not acceptable. Positive thinking, mind over matter, etc. And I was pretty calm, but even more equanimous after my yoga, I’m in a remarkably mellow mood, while also being angry. Still, vengeance is mine, so sayeth The Dude (not I, as I am simply a dude). However, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, is Sunday evening September 27 through the 28th, in which one forgives others and asks others for forgiveness. So maybe not vengeance. A hug maybe if I ever get the chance to meet these fine specimens of humanity.
I mention Yom Kippur, because although I’m an atheist I also identify as Jewish (among other things, like lower case buddhist). Were I an observant and especially orthodox Jew, I would fast and not bicycle on Sunday. As Walter Sobchack reminds us from the film in which The Dude was created:
I told those fuckers down at the league office a thousand times that I don’t roll on Shabbos!
Walter Sobchak:from The Big Lebowski, script by the Coen Brothers
Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don’t work, I don’t get in a car, I don’t ride in a car, I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as shit DONT FUCKING ROLL! SHOMER SHABBOS!
Be that as it may, I’ll pursue my complaint with the authorities and perhaps will see some justice done in both cases. Justice shall roll down like a mighty river, or something like that. Wow! Two shalls in one blog. I’m downright like god damn Shakespeare over here!
What are the lessons?
- Defensive cycling will save your tuchus. Never assume someone in a car is going to follow the law or do the right thing. In fact, assume they are not. Adapt accordingly. A car or truck will always win, so give them time to get the hell out of the way. Live to ride another day.
- When there are obstacles, take evasive manuevers. As the dogs came at me, I had several choices. I went with what experience tells me works: yell at the dogs and get away. First checking my shoulder, I found it safe to ride off the sidewalk onto the busy road. If that had not been safe, I would have just hightailed it out of there. Always have an exit plan.
- Stay calm, to the extent you can. I was angry and sure I yelled. Perhaps this ability to have at least a modicum of equanimity comes somewhat from my daily yoga practice. But had I freaked out, I might have fallen off my bike with the dogs nearby, or in the case of the firecracker attack, run into the curb or worse, into the car. Somehow I was able to get the license plate number. Allow emotion but keep some reason handy, too.
- Don’t give up on biking or good car drivers, either. I reported them both and whether there are consequences and justice, remember most drivers are not jerks. I also posted on Next Door and here, so there are some teachable moments for other drivers and dog owners. If an incident creates within you some fear, that is normal and natural. The next time it happens hopefully you’ll use your experience to handle it. Get back on that horse!
Well, that’s enough for this. Be safe out there. Major assclowns abound amongst us.
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