Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Comment Comebacks

Yesterday morning's commute. On the bridge on Queen Street just before River, approaching a light, middle of the curb lane. HONK. Check the rearview. Must distinguish homicidal honkers from mere irritated honkers. Looks harmless. I shrug. What am I supposed to do? I'm right behind the cars in front of me. The SUV driver changes lanes and winds down her window as she pulls up beside me.

"Do you think you are a car?" she asks.

Hmm what's a good answer to this one:
"Nope. Do you? Because you look like a human to me."
"Nope, my vehicle is not guzzling gas, polluting the city, endangering lives, and taking up an obscene amount of public space and causing gridlock". (perhaps a bit too antagonistic)
"Excellent vehicle identification. Thanks for pointing that out."
"Um yes I think its safest for both of us if I follow the rules of the road and behave predictably like a vehicle"

Lets translate to what she is REALLY thinking.

"WAAAAAAAAAH! What the @#%@#&* are you doing in the middle of MY lane?"

I could point out that I've been on this route hundreds if not thousands of times before. And if I ride over hugging the curb, I'm bound to get nearly sideswiped or cut off by someone turning right at the light I am approaching. The lane is not wide enough to share, and while a car can move over slightly into the next lane to pass if there's a car in the center lane, there is definitely not room for a streetcar + car passing at speed + bicycle. (though some cars seem to think so)

This is too complicated to explain. So I stick with:

"I'm keeping up with the speed of traffic"

Obviously annoyed by this, and with no good comeback she has to change tactics.

"You *really* should wear a helmet, sistah" she says.

(Um so people like you can feel less guilty when you run over a cyclist intentionally out of aggressive road rage?) Instead I mumbled something about how she should wear one too then while driving.

I let her zoom ahead since she obviously wanted to so badly, although wider traffic was in the way in front of her, so zooming ahead was not far at all. Just past the light a minivan driver leans out the window. Uh oh. But he looked helpful rather than angry.

"She's just annoyed she couldn't drive right through you" he commiserates. "Didn't get her anywhere, did it?" he points out.

A couple clicks down the road at University I notice my "sistah" again and I give her a friendly wave as I ride past her. Sadly she didn't get to wave back as she was too busy chatting on her cell phone to notice me. The window was now up, so I couldn't even give her helpful advice like "You *really* should not talk on the cell phone while you're driving, sistah!"

What's your fave comeback to the "you're not a car" comment?


On the weekend I was riding along the Humber trail wearing a dress. I realize it probably looked a bit goofy, as this time I was actually wearing the helmet, and I was wearing bike shoes (with dress shoes in my pannier) Plus I was riding my touring bike with aerobars, as I was going to catch a ride later out of town and wanted the bike with me for some nice country riding. A guy on a zippy road bike pulls up to me (like I'm standing still) and asks "Does the dress make you go faster?" Obviously not being speedy enough to prove it, I just stuck with the real answer as to why I was biking in a dress: "I'm going to a funeral". That shut him up, and he took off. And then I wonder why I'm single. I'd love to meet a bikey-crazed boy but of course when I'm biking I'm pretty oblivious to the art of flirting. Oh well!


What's the strangest thing someone has said to you while you're riding your bike?

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