Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yeah. But you won't get out of that car will you.

This past Monday at around 5:15, I was riding back from picking up my laptop. I'd just finished talking to a bike messenger I shot a few scenes with last summer from 14th to around 12th. We were in the right most lane, I left and he right (closest to the sidewalk). We rode slowly next to each other while we talked, then he turned off. As I rode on Broadway, I looked over to my left and noticed a rider coming from the opposite side of the street. He stood out to me for being an older gentleman of similar decent to me, though darker. His bike was a different brand, but similar in color. He had chrome fenders, however. I thought about how much the must weigh, that I still need to get some.

About a block or so further up, a cab charged up against toward the curb cutting me off. At first I assumed he was trying to get a fare (as they tend to do - have little regard for anything around them when trying to pick up), but the driver stops and starts yelling at me to through a seemingly Eastern European accent about never touching his car again. Before I can ascertain exactly what it is he's risked my personal well-being to say, he pulls off. I think for a second, then decide to catch him at the next light to ask exactly what his issue is - since I haven't touched anybody's car. I get there and babbles more, thought he "knows what he saw" and makes like he's going to spit on me. He pulls off again - and I am now....energized shall we say. I ride past him as he sits at the next light and try to talk to him again as he passes through the light making a left turn onto Houston. He continues to make the same claim except now managing to dismiss me at the same time (which is interesting since HE brought this up) and pedestrians see the exchange. After he's passed through, I tell a couple of them what happened, one of the remarking that perhaps the his passenger will see this and not tip him.

I continue south on Broadway. As I'm riding, I'm trying to remember the sequence of events, and begin to think that there must have been someone on his side that he's mistaken me for. I decide to go back to Houston and see if I can catch him. I see cabs ahead, but don't recognize the plate. I decide to continue through the Bowery as I've now amassed a large enough concentration of energy that it needs to dissipate. I keep riding and decide to try one last group of cabs ahead. One is not, it pulls off left...then I see him and go for it. I catch him near 1st to see ask if it was the driver side. I get there and get the first sign that he might have calmed down enough to deal with logic when he rolls down his window and says, "you are having good fitness". I ask if he was hit on the driver side; he responds yes. I try to tell him that I was on the RIGHT side of the street and could not have done it, that he (if this actually happened) has mistaken me for another rider - that I think must be the much older, darker-skinned, grey-bearded, rider wearing a jacket of a completely different color. He continues to insist he "knows what he saw". I let him pass again, first riding off south again, then AGAIN reconsidering and catch him in a long left turn line (that included concrete barriers on one side due to construction) and took a picture of his license plate, determined to report him to the T&LC, Transportation Alternatives or SOMETHING for having threatened/endangered a cyclist with his car.

And he better be glad that feigned, dramatic Euro-spit thing was only feigned. Because he would have caught a loogie then a fist.

I'm careful, I try to respect other people's space, I ask that mine be respected as well, I am tired of going about the world in fear.

Wanna be stupid? Fine. I'll just be making sure to bring it to you attention in the event you make that choice.

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