Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Usual Morning Musings

I get the chance to think a lot on my daily morning commute. I ride the same route most everyday, so some of the time I zone out. I arrive at work and discover that 12.5 miles have passed and I have solved none of the world's looming issues, let alone any of my own. But, generally I ponder lots of things.

This morning I was preoccupied with anger on the road. And, surprisingly, I was thinking about my own anger. Saturday night I was riding back from dinner at a friend's house and some jackass driving one of those big-Asplundh tree trimming trucks decided to verbally berate me at a series of traffic lights on Fourth going through the U of M. I really don't know what his deal was. It was 9:30 or so. The mood was mellow on the road since everyone in that neighborhood was parked in their favorite watering hole. I was following him, right behind him actually, benefitting from the tremendous draft offered by his truck. For a series of three or four lights he just decided to shout at me from his driver's side window. I couldn't hear everything he was saying (something about running lights, which I hadn't), but it wasn't nice stuff. I let my belligerence get the better of me and fired back. Pretty soon, my only recourse was to draw his attention to the fact that his truck had a phone number painted on the back for observers to call and report his driving. He said, "Go ahead and call, asshole!"

I was so steamed that I immediately pulled up on the sidewalk, whipped out my cell phone and dialed the number. Well, the only problem was in my fury I all of a sudden forgot all those numbers I was trying to mentally juggle -- the truck #, the "How's my driving?" #, and the plate # for good measure.

So, yesterday morning I get a voicemail from some guy who very politely explained that he believed I must have dialed the wrong number. He wished me luck in contacting the folks who could help me achieve justice for being treated badly on my bike. I had to laugh when I listened to that, and I was laughing at myself for being my own jackass in the situation.

My message: keep your head about you in the heat of harassment, if at all possible. Not only will you come out looking like the level-headed party, but you'll also be more prepared to take follow-up action should it be needed. Now it's time to go out and follow my own advice.

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