I wanted to get in a fight this morning.
You ever get to meet me, I’m the least violent person on earth. Keep things level-headed, defused, easy. That’s what they look to me for. Good ol’ stoic boy from the Great Lakes.
Sheridan Road, as it makes its way north out of Chicago. It’s the lesser of the objectionable routes to Evanston, where I was headed. It’s a busy four-lane road, but the urgency of rush hour generally subsides by the time I roll, and it’s not so bad as far as crappy, Midwest urban thoroughfares go. But this morning, I wanted to pick up the edge of road, and give it a hard carpet-like whip, unleashing a shockwave of destruction from my arms.
This circus clown in a red Colnago kit and red, uh, Colnago track bike rolled up next to me and shouts, “YOU should really look before you spit!” His instant presence and squawk on my left scared me alert. Assumed it was a car. Once I could process what he said, a whiff of empathy and sincere contrition stepped out on the tracks.
I had spat. But had I known a fellow rider was upon me, I would’ve held it. Duh.
But then the contemptuous, furious, roaring train of adrenaline barreled down, squashing any flicker of an apology or shrug. This motherfucker wasn’t getting off that easy.
He pedals on, tries to make the pass. Na. I let him have it.
“If you’ve been on my wheel close enough to get spit on, without a fucking heads up, then you deserve it!”
That was all I had. We approached a red light. I slowed to stop. He blows it without hesitation. I brimmed with piss and vinegar. “Nice stop, asshole!” I bellowed.
And that was that.
Pedaled out the fury, got on with my day.
When it was time head back south, I took a deep breath, and looked up at the Stars and Stripes exclaimed above the Evanston Library. It was whipped stiff pointing south. A tailwind home.
Mmmmm, I’m cruising. Pedaling made easy. When you get one of those Midwestern tailwinds with some ass behind it, you could ride forever.
As I made a left onto a one-way bike route, the one that feeds onto the lakefront path, fixiebro comes smoking along the wrong way and nearly takes us both out. The delicious, alkaline taste of arousing anger from the morning came back. This bike salmon would be the catch of the day.
“SALMON FUCKER DIPSHIT!” I yell at him. This time, dude turns to look. He slows down, and I imagine a confrontation coming on. Instead, he looks at me, and his face washes over with confusion.
I imagined, for a moment, like, a really oversized hawk, or like a flying dinosaur. Just swooping in and picking him up. Bike and all. Then dropping him into Lake Michigan, which is lava.
I need some time off the bike. I’m becoming an asshole, too.
Pull up a stool. Please tell me the commuter assholery you’ve dealt with. Please.