Conflict resolution

She had the fever, garage sale fever.
The absolute need to purview the wreckage, the flotsam, of someone else’s life.
And she would not look in my direction.
As I approached her Town & Country mini-van.
On my mountain bike.
Here’s what accident investigators would have determined: The garage sale was on the left, with traffic headed west. The Town & Country was stopped at a T intersection; the garage sale was directly across from the T. The cyclist was headed west.
I watcher her. She kept looking to her left, for traffic. And I realized she was going to make the turn – without looking in my direction.
So before I ended up a mass of blood and piss and shit and mangled bicycle parts, I yelled, “Whoa, lady!”
And she started into the intersection anyway.
I yelled again, “Whoa, LADY!”
She slammed on the brakes – at this point I’m even with her car door and stopped – and she flipped me off.
And continued through the intersection and parked in front of the driveway of the house.
I started down the street, shaking my head, and I couldn’t resist. I turned around.
“Ma’am, can I ask why you flipped me off?”
She ignored me.
“Ma’am, can you please tell me why you flipped me off, when I had the right-of-way?” and she picked up a napkin holder from the table of junk.
Ma’am, MA’AM!”
And she looked.
And I flipped her off.
“Backatcha!”

Certain reef fish off of Australia will starve themselves to avoid conflict within the school. Spider monkeys use well-timed hugs to head off conflict in the tree canopy.
Most humans, I think, just shut down.
I don’t go out and look for conflict. I don’t shrink from it either. I let a lot of stuff go, especially poor driving, but there just are things you can’t let go of.
Nearly getting hit on you bike is one of them.

Really, I don’t go looking for conflict.
I continued the ride, stopping to feed a friend’s dog, then I rode to the river trail. In the park, I watched four scrotes (the lowest part of the scrotum, the bottom of the nutsack, hence “scrotes” ) meander toward me.
Across the entire trail. Four abreast.
One tried to reign in a dog, which was tethered to him with a bit of yellow nylon rope.
I slowed, and watched the dog (since if you’re going to get dumped, that’s where the problem will be) and the guys would not clear the path.
I approached slowly, and they finally split – three to their left and one to the right. And as I’m to the guy with the dog – he had a scruffy beard, dirty T-shirt and flip-flops – I watched his mouth form the words, “Watch it, motherfucker.”
The Pixies sang "Alec Eiffel" as I ripped out the earbuds and stopped.
“What did you say?”
He stared at me.
Fucking hippies.
“You realize that this path is just like a road, you stay to the left?” I asked. “Or is there going to be a problem?”
“No problem, man.”
“Hey, I’m just trying to get a ride in, not be a dick.”

Yeah, I probably set back cyclist/motorist/pedestrian relations back a bit on Sunday.
But then again, I really wasn’t looking to spend the rest of the day in the emergency room.
And I certainly don’t like being called a motherfucker.
Well, for no good reason, anyway.

2 comments:

Large Marge said...

Um, maybe you shouldn't eat hotdogs again for a while ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! It was like that driving a boat on Shasta Lake yesterday, too. People were cutting me off all over the place, and expecting me to happily wave at them and their kids as they passed by too close. I had at least four boats start up literally right in front of or next to me, within 50 to 75 feet, and head in my direction. Between that and the people driving too close to me, I was about ready to explode. Not a fun day at the lake.