Monday, November 15, 2010

patience--or, not everyone goes the same speed as you

You know how it goes: you're bombing down the street when someone pulls out in front of you, of course going way more slowly than you ever were. You hit your brakes, grit your teeth, curse under your breath. If you're particularly vexed, you might wait until the very last second to brake in some misplaced attempt to show the offending person how very much their pulling out inconvenienced you, how annoyed you are that you had to slow down--as if the distance away from their bumper is inversely proportionate to how pissed off you are.

I'm pretty sure we've all been there.

Today, not only did a car pull out in front of me and do the slow-down trick, but it then proceeded to drive down the street w.a.y. more slowly than I would ever bike. Certainly, I was annoyed. Who was this fellow forcing me to go at a snail's pace where before I'd been cheerfully zooming to my destination?

But then, who was I to self-righteously assume that I should be able to go at precisely the speed I wanted, regardless of what else was going on around me? If I want people to slow down for me, be careful around me, why should I be immune to that same slowing? It turns out the driver who pulled out was going so slowly because he was waiting for another cyclist to get around the traffic circle. He was being a considerate human being, looking out for a more vulnerable roadway user. It kind of made me feel like a jackass for wishing he would speed up.

It was a good check. Be careful, stasia. Don't start feeling entitled, annoyed just because someone else dared to interrupt your flow. Assume positive intent, breathe, be patient. We're all in this together.

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