Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Attaboy on a Snowy Day

Unlike the city of Boulder, CO, the city of Columbia, MD, does not assiduously maintain its bike paths in winter snows. A stretch of no more than 1/2 mile of a pedestrian/bike trail is part of my daily commute; it parallels a busy stretch of road that tends to be full of distracted drivers.

Yesterday morning, the trail had not been cleared and (taking a deep breath, knowing that some patience was going to be involved) I got on the road, named Little Patuxent Parkway. I took my line well out in the roadway in the right lane of a four-lane undivided street -- I wasn't going to be pinned against the curb by heedless drivers on my one day that I was forced to ride this stretch.

True to form, a clueless driver got in behind me and slowed down. For some inexplicable reason, the driver, even though it was two lanes in our direction and the traffic was light, couldn't bring herself to pull out and move around me. Instead, she kept creeping along, got frustrated (no surprise) and began honking at me. My general approach when faced with such clueless behavior is to ignore it (particularly when I have on my Zoidbergs and therefore am constrained to be polite—no "flipping the bird", so to speak.) So I did here, until I made my turn and the driver passed, whereupon I yelled at the top of my voice, "WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?"

Unbeknownst to me, there was a pedestrian who had witnessed the entire sequence, and he was on the street I turned on to. As I was accelerating, I saw him pull down his hood, give me a big smile, and say, "Hey, good job!"

I won't ever know if he was complimenting me on my comments to the motorist, my lack of profanity, or simply the fact that I was out commuting on a morning when the wind-chill was in the mid-teens. But I'll take it anyway.

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