At That Moment Everything Changed

He was just the type. Maybe late 20s, early 30s, slender, dark hair. He had immense bike packs on each side of his tire. Kind of like a chimpanzee’s ass.

I had a new baby and I was sleep-deprived, so I might have been on edge already.

I was in my car on Interstate, about to follow a guy ahead of me into the Fred Meyer. The guy on the bike is behind me. I’m very conscious of the bike, because I’m a bike commuter. I was probably biking to work then twice a week.

Then the guy in front of me inexplicably stops in the parking lot intersection. It kind of left me just hanging there with my back in the road. I’m feeling extremely awkward. I’m angry at the car in front of me. Then the biker goes past me … and slaps the back of my car.

At that moment everything changed.

‘You are the person that everybody hates,’ I think. ‘You are that guy that I read about.’

I really want to confront him. But you don’t confront a biker when you are in the car. Then I see that he’s parked at Lombard, bus stop. I run up behind the guy and proceed to slap the back of his bike the same way.

That’s when I hear the booming female voice.

‘KKKCCHT. SIR. STEP AWAY FROM THE BICYCLIST.’

It was the bus driver. I didn’t even know bus drivers had PA systems.

I regain my conversational momentum, and she gets on the horn again and says, ‘LEAVE THE BICYCLIST ALONE.’

At that point, I felt there had to be this moment of summation. I’ve got to say everything that I want very quickly and succinctly, because I keep being interrupted by the bus driver.

So, summing up everything I and other people know about self-righteous bicyclists, I said, ‘You know what? You’re a douchebag.’

And he looks at me, and says, ‘Did you just call me a douchebag?’

And the whole conversation just evaporated right there.

***

Portland AfootThis story by Dan originally appeared as the Only on the Bus feature in the June 2010 edition of Portland Afoot, PDX’s online guide to buses, bikes and low-car life, and is republished here under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license (CC-BY-SA).

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2 Responses to At That Moment Everything Changed

  1. Nella says:

    How do you have the nerve to write that “the conversation evaporated”, Dan? You never had a conversation with that bicyclist.

    You had the opportunity to have a conversation. But here’s what you did instead. You let your emotions totally take over. You went up to his bike and started hitting it. Then you called him a “douchebag”. Nice conversation.

    P.s. God Bless bus drivers who come to the aid of bicyclists who are being harassed.

  2. Dave says:

    Nella – I think that’s the point of the story.

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