Wednesday, September 16, 2009


On my morning ride out to school, while descending through the Montlake neighborhood, as I arrive at the corner of 26th and Boyer, it’s not uncommon for there to be a line of cars coming from 24th, stacking up towards the bottom of the hill, making their right into the Arboretum. It’s much less common, but not unprecedented, for one of those cars, seeing me waiting to cross the intersection, to slow down or stop and wave me across, the driver—almost invariably a middle-aged woman in a late model foreign car—smiling serenely as she commits her random act of kindness for the day or simply demonstrates how pro-alternative transportation she is despite being behind the wheel of an automobile.

Usually, and today was no exception, I don’t take the bait. I either pretend I don’t see or, as I did this morning, purse my lips and shake my head until the driver—as she did today—looks all surprised and put out before gunning her engine and proceeding on her way.

I realize it’s ingracious of me to act this way, but here’s my explanation:

First, I don’t like to be patronized; I want cars to treat me like any other vehicle on the road (albeit one that sometimes runs red lights and almost always rolls through stop signs.) It’s not my job to be some broad’s feel-good charity case just because I’m on two wheels and she’s on four.

Second, I’d already stopped, so what was the point?

Third, the half-dozen drivers behind her would have given me, not her, the stink eye for holding up traffic.

And finally: I’m a rebel, baby; don’t expect me to act the way you expect me to.

Funny thing is, on my ride home, at a nearby intersection, I pissed another driver off because I didn’t stop. Granted, I was riding through a crosswalk, so he should have braked anyway, but still, I was grateful he did.


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