A Slice of My Life

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Dateline: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It’s morning and I’m headed in to work a little earlier than I would like but I have a coworker who is a chirrupy morning person and keeps dropping early meetings on my calendar.

She knows I hate the mornings but just can’t help herself.

So I drive my beat up old Jeep down a major surface street that bisects three different cities. It is my usual route to work.

As I roll in slow traffic, there is a guy on a bicycle keeping pace next to me. I am used to bicyclists now because I live in a pretty hipster-y place and they are everywhere.

But this guy is the kind of bicyclist that bugs me. First of all he’s not wearing a helmet. That seems really dumb to ride on city streets without some kind of protection for the ol’ brain bucket.

Second, he’s the kind of guy who can’t ride in a straight line so he’s weaving in and out in front of me. I’m keeping a close eye on him so I can be sure I am not the person who injuries his pretty mane of curls.

We ride side by side on this narrow two-lane street and then I get to a light at a main intersection. I see there is a trash truck just ahead, but there is enough room for me to slip through the light and wait behind the truck.

To the immediate right there is a delivery truck at the curb unloading produce for the corner market.

As I pull through the intersection, the garbage truck cuts sharply in front of me so I easily tap my brakes and slow.

Boy On The Bicycle doesn’t slow. He plunges into that small space between the now moving trash truck and the large produce truck.

I think to myself, “I don’t have that kind of courage.”

____


I have packed my lunch today and that makes me very happy. It’s not just a lunch from home, but it’s the kind of sack lunch that I’ve been looking forward to all morning.

In that bag is a beautiful calzone. I have also packed a little glass bowl of marinara sauce.

After much dragging and delaying, the hands on the clock say it’s time to chow. I smile as I pop the calzone into the office toaster oven and I put the marinara into the microwave.

When the sauce has achieved a temperature akin to lava, I pull it out of the machine.

Soon the calzone is crispy on the outside and melty on the inside.

If I was eating this at home, I would quickly dump the marinara over the calzone and dive in headfirst.

I am at work and when I start to pour the sauce a little voice in my head reminds me that my office and the break room are diametrically opposed. I will have to carry my meal all the way across the building and will likely encounter many people on the journey.

I have a quick vision of spilling bright red sauce on the floor. On a coworker. On myself. Or all three.

I decide to put the lid back on the marinara bowl and carry it separately.

It’s the best decision I will make all day.

____

Once the calzone is thoroughly devoured, I wash my hands and clean my face and freshen up. I have a mid-year performance review with my boss who is a Big Boss and while I get along with her great, I still want to be behaved.

It seems only right. She is grading my performance.

As I walk to her office, that calzone starts to hit bottom and I feel instantly sleepy. I think, “Maybe calzone is more of a dinner food.”

____

It’s the end of the day and I’m tired. Not the tired one gets from physical exertion, but the fatigue that comes from sitting around all day thinking about stuff and making decisions.

It doesn’t seem like sitting on my can working on spreadsheets all day would wear me out, but it does.

The Jeep is rolling uphill, following the same route home that got me to work this morning.

I am idly listening to sports talk radio where the two on-air personalities are debating, quite heartily I might add, if it is acceptable for fans to boo their own team.

One guy is a former athlete. One guy is a current sports journalist. They have vastly different opinions.

I come to a stoplight on the two-lane street and I am the third car back. A dark car pulls up on my right side.

I think to myself, “They had better be turning right” and of course they are not. It’s become a game on this high trafficked street for people who don’t want to wait in line to come up the side, thus blocking any right turners, and then cutting off people going straight as soon as the light turns green.

This aggravates me.

The light turns and I make it a point to not let that car in. I pull up close to the car in front and I am not giving up. They are not giving up either.

I see that there is an SUV parked at the curb ahead and a woman is unloading her child from the back seat.

This is going to come to a head. I am going to win.

That jerkwad is going to have to slow down and get into line behind me.

Inexplicably, I tap my brakes. The Jeep slows. I let the shiny black BMW slide in front of me as a college-aged girl in the driver’s seat quite literally flips her hair.

There is no wave of thanks.

I wonder to myself, “What made me do that? Why did I slow down and let her in?”

Then I think, “Because it’s not always about being right. Sometimes it’s just about the fact that we all have to get home safely.”

When I finally turn down my block I am happy to see a spot on the street right in front of my building and I park.

I go inside and The Good Man hugs me and the cat ignores me and I sink into the warm familiar comfort of my home and my family.

I am filled with gratitude. I can finally rest.

Tomorrow is another day.







Image found here.




The Irony Is Not Lost

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These days I live in a fairly urban area and I also live near a major university, so this means driving around here proves to be quite a challenge.

I see a lot of people both young and old riding the roads on their bicycles or scooters and of course walking. There is even the occasional Segway. Though the most popular mode of transport by far seems to be bicycles.

Fundamentally, I don’t have an issue with people riding their bicycles. It’s exercise, it’s efficient, and it’s environmental. Plus it leaves more parking spots for me. Great!

The issue I do have, however, is some bicyclist’s complete and flagrant disregard for traffic laws. You know, running stop signs, not yielding to a yield sign, flowing with cars when they feel like and acting like pedestrians when they feel like.

My commute to and from work is pretty short, but can be frustrating as I traverse many busy streets with lots of crosswalks and stop signs and long lights. In addition to bicycles, I often have to tangle with students walking around with eyes glued to their smartphones darting out from between parked cars.

I really hate it most when I have the green light and as I start to roll a bicyclist runs the red light the other way and sails through the intersection with nary a care in the world.

The other day that big wheel of karma ticked about two and a half degrees to the right and I saw something so ironic it made me laugh and shake my head.

Ok, here’s the scenario:

I am driving up a busy two lane and mostly residential street. Traffic is moving, albeit at a fairly slow pace. I’d estimate I was doing something like 25mph.

I was hugging the yellow line because to my right were two guys decked out in stretchy shorts and tip-tap-clompy biking shoes riding on very fancy bicycles.

We were all cool. I saw them, they saw me. I made space and we traveled casually along, moving straight ahead on the road.

As we three came to an intersection some hipster chick on a pink bicycle with a plastic basket on the front does not slow for the stop sign on the cross street. She glides at full speed right into the intersection.

This causes the car coming the opposite way to screech to a halt. I slammed on my brakes too and the two bicycle guys next to me just kept going.

Because I guess bicyclists do that. When everyone around is braking, they just keep rolling because why not.

One of the guys finally saw Miss Hipster and locked up his very expensive racing bicycle brakes. The other wasn’t as quick on the brakes. As he came to a stop he ended up tapping her back wheel.

Hipster chick was totally oblivious. She wobbled a bit and just kept rolling on through.

Now dos Stretchy Pants are mad. They start shouting and screaming and arm waving at her about obeying stop signs and right of way and what the bleep was she doing.

So indignant these bicyclists got about obeying traffic laws. So, so righteous.

Hmm. Interesting.

Ironically so.








Image found here.