walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Comments from Random Strangers on Our Bicycles

I'm not going to do more than mention in passing what the junior high and high school kids say as I'm riding by on my way to pick up T.

Yesterday, as I was waiting to get T. at preschool, a woman with a little girl thanked me for riding a bicycle. I have no idea why she did this. It was sufficiently unexpected and confusing that I said, "Sorry, what was that you said?" and she repeated herself. She was pretty committed to delivering this compliment; I said thank you and went and got T.

Today, as I was digging the pruning shears out of the zipper pocket of the pannier and making sure T. did not continue further down the sidewalk ahead of me, a man in a dark red Volvo stopped in the middle of the road. This is a _busy_ road -- he was blocking a long line of traffic to do this, and he had passed us by several car lengths, so he was really having to shout to communicate with us, which I had no reason to expect him to do. He was saying, "I just have to say, You're Crazy." I looked around, saw him, saw the line of cars, and he repeated himself. I'm thinking, I just want to get the pruning shears out so I can whack some of this vegetation back that's grown way out into an already too narrow sidewalk, and there's some idiot in a Volvo blocking traffic to yell "You're crazy"? I guess it's me. I'm crazy. Unless this is some weird form of performance art and he really means he's crazy and, being crazy, having some trouble with his pronouns. I'm assuming he doesn't mean the shears, but rather that I'm out with a little kid on our bikes. On a _sidewalk_. Conspicuously _not_ blocking traffic. I yell back that "You're crazy", and that we have a right to use the sidewalk. I think he repeated himself, then decided to carry on with driving, which is sort of a pity, because I never had time to think to offer to shear something off of him with those pruning shears that I had finally gotten out of the zipper pocket of the pannier. Altho maybe not a pity, because in my more thoughtful, moral, and air-conditioned moments, I think that telling someone you're going to prune something off of them is inappropriately violent speech.

And speaking of air-conditioning, perhaps that was really the source of the Volvo driver's need to relieve himself of some parenting advice? Anti-bicycle bigotry? Maybe he thinks _we_ should have been in an air-conditioned vehicle (I have to agree with him on that. Bicycling when it's over 80s does feel somewhat nutty). I think he'd overheated, and important parts of his brain had shut down. You know, those things which inhibit us from speaking our mind at inappropriate times, to inappropriate people, about inappropriate things.

While blocking traffic.
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