Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Single Best Thing That Has Ever Happened In The History Of Humankind

I fully intended to tell you all the details of my epic, heroic, journey from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, but something so awesome, so momentous, so life-affirming happened yesterday that the story of the ride will have to wait.  As a teaser, though, I will reveal only that the first morning of the journey began with two Brazilian girls, a bunk-bed and an octogenarian.  Really.

But yesterday far surpassed that (really) and, perhaps, any experience I may ever again have on a bicycle.  To set the scene (and further enhance the grand irony and poetic justice of yesterday's ride), I recommend you revisit my recent classic post, appropriately entitled "Duh . . ."

Welcome back.  As you will now remember, in that post, I provided a graphic illustration of the correct way for a bikeist to traverse an intersection:

So, just as described in "Duh . . . ,"  I once again left my driveway on base here and headed down the narrow, two lane road to my office.  As usual, I got caught at the light just after "Flag Circle," so I got in line behind the waiting cars and proceeded straight through the intersection as depicted above.  I was last in line, so there were no issues getting through the intersection.  Right after the intersection, the road widens to accommodate two narrow lanes in each direction (which one might think would be good for bikes, since cars now have plenty of room to pass if they wish - even though I'm traveling pretty close to the 25 mph speed limit at this point).  About 50 yards after the intersection, I heard a car approaching from behind, so I glanced over my left shoulder to see that it was alone, with no other cars coming behind it in the left (passing) lane.  Having cleared the intersection, I had moved to the right and hadn't taken the lane, knowing that the car behind could safely pass me leaving plenty of room -- except he didn't.  Rather than change lanes (or at least partially cross the dotted line), the young driver of this rusty, late 80's Mustang, decided to keep all four wheels decidedly in the same lane we were both occupying.  With no particular haste, he passed me within inches of my left elbow and pedal, slowly drifting toward rather than away from me.  I, of course, screamed and gesticulated, but he lingered, without budging.  Once he was clear of me, he started to give a sarcastic wave, when all of a sudden we both heard the short, loud  "BWOOOO!!" of a police car siren right behind us.  I looked back to see two, smiling base police officers with their lights going.  I, happily, pulled aside as they accelerated to pull over my buddy in the Mustang.  I've got to tell you, that, along with my wedding day and the day I became a dad, this may have been the happiest moment I have had in my entire life.  Combined with the adrenaline of the altercation, I was in a state of complete ecstasy.

So, I started pedaling again, and, as I passed the police cruiser, I asked "Did you see all that?"  The DoD cop in the driver's seat nodded his head and said "We're about to have a little talk with your friend there."  Giddy, I pedaled on, seeing that the knucklehead's window was open.  As I passed, I simply said "That's what you get, bro" to the schlumpf at the wheel.  He muttered a defeated, disingenuous "sorry," to which I retorted "no, you're not - you're just sorry you got caught" as I pedaled on with a giant shit-eating grin (the same one I'm sure I'm still sporting a day later) on my face.

I know what you're thinking -- "and then you woke up from your wet dream, Bikeist."  Am I right?  I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is 100% accurate, true, valid, authentic, real, etc.!  Come on, if I was making this up, I would have, at least, come up with something more clever and witty to have shouted in the perpetrator's window as I triumphantly biked by.

Given all the similar situations I have endured over the years, with no such cathartic validation, I'm almost having a hard time believing it myself -- especially on the heels of my recent post complaining about exactly the same sort of stupid driveist behavior.  These sorts of things don't happen in real life, do they?  It reminds me of the scene in "Annie Hall," where Woody Allen's character is trapped on a line having to suffer through the pedantic rambling of a know-it-all who claims to understand the meaning of a film he's explicating.  When Woody's character disagrees with him, the blow-hard recites his academic credentials, after which Woody pulls out (from off-camera) the actual director of the film who sides with Woody and tells the other guy that he doesn't understand his work at all.  Woody then addresses the audience directly through the "fourth wall" and says "If life were only like this . . ."  Well, Woody, sometimes it is!

Epilogue:  When I got to work, I practically floated up the stairs carrying my bike, and anxiously told anybody and everybody within earshot my story.  Knowing me, and my bikeist ways, my co-workers were thrilled for me, but one asked a very good question raising my only regret about the entire incident:  "Did you get a picture?"  Ooh!  What an opportunity I had.  With my iPhone waiting trustily in my bento box on my top tube, I could have so easily stopped and caught a picture of the flashing lights and the stupid look on my tormenters face if I had thought of it.  Despite my glee, though, my instincts had told me to disengage while I was ahead and not do anything to turn the cops against me.  So, perhaps it was better to simply just not mess with perfection.  And perfection it was . . .

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