Thursday, May 7, 2009

Juxtaposed scenes from a bike commute

I reach the intersection as the light turns red. A car is stopped to my left so I pull up a bit more to make sure the driver can see me on his side. I hold out my arm, signalling my intention to turn right. I hear another car, impatiently zipping up behind me, a toot of a horn. I feel a whoosh as the arriving car squeezes itself by me on the left, nearly brushing my leg, as it pushes in front of the already stopped car. With the light still red and hardly a break in the traffic running perpendicularly in front of us, the tooting driver pulls a quick right, again too close to our bike, too close to the cargo box where two of my children sit. I mumble some sentiments I don't want my sons repeating as I glance at this reckless driver. I see a familiar face and a fumbling of a neon orange and yellow vest as the driver is simultaneously getting uniformed-up and making a tight right turn. One of the local school's crossing guards is obviously late for work. She comes closer to hitting us than any other driver we've encountered since our bike commuting began as she rushes to keep schoolchildren 'safe.'


The rain comes down for the third day in a row. The boys are nestled in the cargo box, warm and dry under the red weather tent, engrossed in TinTin books. My eyeglasses are dotted with raindrops, but the funny little visor on my Bern helmet keeps them from being completely drenched. My black Columbia rain jacket does it job, wetness rolling off my sleeves, but my pedaling legs become increasingly damp. The dark, rain-soaked circles on my pant legs grow with each up up-pump. My foot slips a bit on the pedal. Passing one of the local Italian markets, I feel a slight movement on my right side and hear small splat. It takes me just a moment to realize that my keys have somehow escaped my raincoat-- jumping from my pocket to the slick street below. I pull quickly to the right, a jarring stop, jostling the cozy readers inside their cocoon. I jump off the seat, kick my left foot, toes striking the release on the kickstand. As I turn to run back to recover the runaway ring of metal, a young man leaving the market puts down the box he was carrying. He races out to the street to pick up my rebellious keys and returns them to my outstretched hand and words of gratitude.


MamaVee said...


The first one is scary though. I wish people realized what that felt like on the other side.

The second one makes me so inspired by your all weather riding. You rock.

Dottie said...

I like the juxtaposition. Sometimes I focus so much on the bad people, it's easy to loose sight of the extra nice people. And, really, there are more nice people than bad.

Anonymous said...

You are going to tell the school, right?

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