Assumptions are funny things. For instance, sometimes, okay-most of the time, I will stop at an intersection, look... and if it's clear, but still the red light glows big-n-strong, I'll go. I always feel a little guilty about it.
I wonder to myself, "Suppose you're giving cyclists a further bad rep?". Or... "Maybe some little kid watched you do that, and now they will think it's alright to do the same and maybe, just maybe, they'll get hit/hurt -or worse?". Even occasionally... "Maybe you're helping, in some smallish way, to keep the hate directed at cyclers for being off-the-grid, non-law abiding freaks who only eat granola [or space-aged Gu simula-foods], stink of patchouli & B.O. and only ever vote the Green Party?".
So tonight, on tonight's ride, I tried something a touch different...
Every intersection I came to with a stop sign or a traffic light, I stopped. Man, it took some time too. Should say, "Added some time to the ride".
I'm talking E V E R Y intersection: after dark, no signs of ANY car lights, certain streets didn't have any streetlamps... but still I stopped. Still stopped like some Grandma making a midnight run for her Knitting Journal Monthly magazine that she forgot earlier today at the supermarket.
It felt odd. Excessive. Weird. Made me feel like a Brown-Noser. A Narc. Made me feel like this girl I knew in the 2nd grade who would tell on any classmate she saw picking their nose and chewing up/on the net gain of the aforementioned finger-plunge.
Near the end of my 18.76 mile ride tonight, exhausted from all the stop/starting, wondering if I'd just shot through a not-very-old [until tonight] set of KoolStop Salmon brake pads, I came to a complete stop at the intersection of 39th Ave. & Lake St. here in Minneapolis... right beside an also stopped Buick Electra. The light had just turned red. One car passed thru the opposing intersection as we waited, and that was just after our light turned red. I waited, the car next to me waited. I waited, the car next to me waited. Finally, as I was watching the opposing traffic light go from green to yellow-mercifully, I heard the whine of an electric window. This older woman leaned halfway across the passenger seat of her car and said to me, "Hey mister... what the hell is your problem? I have to wait at these fuckers... you don't. Jesus, you're an idiot!". And with that, her window went up as our light went to green, and she sped away... leaving me in a fairly large cloud of oily blue smoke.
That girl by the way, the one I knew back in 2nd grade, yeah that one...
...did I mention I would spend my days at recess watching her go over behind the big oak tree in the eastern most edge of our playground and pile-drive her nostrils endlessly?
-Scott Cutshall Large Fella on a Bike