I’m working a day shift on the road today, so I won’t have time to put up any real commentary, so I’ll tell a quick story instead.
Yesterday, The Narrator and I were running some errands in town. The roads have been jammed all weekend with bicyclists, there was a massive event in town, we were the only U.S. Stop on the Mountain Biking World Cup. We had hundreds of mountain bikers everywhere.
Great for the town, bad for driving. They’d ride three abreast in either lane making it impossible to pass or go around them. It required patience.
On one of the main arteries where they traveled to and from the event venue, tripping at the speed limit of 45 was a rotten idea. It has several curves and hills, so bearing in mind what was going all weekend, I was moving considerably slower than that as I drove down the road. At the end of it, there is a golf course with a crosswalk across the road that leads to their main parking lot.
We came around the corner by the golf course, and up ahead of me I see an older gentleman who is making his way across the road in such a leisurely manner that he might have been confused for someone taking a nature hike or about to die.
He sees me, still quite a distance away, and breaks into this sort of half-jog that trundles him along not really any faster than he had been walking. He gets across the road, turns to face me, and starts to pump his hand in the universal sign for “SLOW DOWN!”
This annoyed me. First of all, he could have continued his zombie-like shuffle across the road all day long and since he is a pedestrian in a cross walk, I would have had to wait- and I would have too. If it required coming to a complete stop…no problem. I know how the road and traffic works. I didn’t make him run, and I sure as hell wasn’t driving fast enough for him to NEED to run.
So I beeped at him as I went by. It is difficult to convey any sort of emotion in the tone of your horn, but it apparently did the trick, because in my rear-view mirror I see him- decked out in his straw cowboy hat, and pastel-colored golf shirt….throw his hands and arms out wide in the universal “BRING IT!” gesture- which looked HILARIOUS coming from him. Without thinking, I started to slow down and go have a conversation with him.
Then I thought. Thankfully.
Going back to pick a fight with an old man wasn’t a good idea. I was driving significantly below the speed limit, and was still slowing as I saw him in the crosswalk, but apparently I was moving fast enough that I ruined his mosey across the road, and that irked him.
From what I can figure, he was a local guy. I reached this conclusion because I’ve been told that the old locals have been complaining about the increased traffic in town all weekend and they “can’t wait for them all to leave.”
This geezer mistook me for another out-of-towner and he figured he was going to do as he damn well pleased since this was his town. If that meant crawling across the road, or perhaps laying down in the middle of it just so he could pick a fight with one of these upstart bicyclists….damn it he was gonna.