It was a rainy day at my humble abode the other day. I love rainy days for all their beauty and wetness – but they do always make me think of a bicycle incident that truly needed to be seen to be believed. To get a pre-story visual – imagine an older woman’s undergarments strewn over a trash can in full view of God and country.
I’ll get to that in a minute (now THAT was a teaser, eh?) But let’s talk bicycles for a minute. Not really bicycles I guess, but bicyclists. I don’t have any problem with bicycles, two pieces of round rubber, uncomfortable seat, chains, blah, blah, blah….they’re fine. So why do the people that ride them make me want to thrash every single one of them within an inch of their nattily-attired little lives?
The top reasons why bicyclists annoy me (DISCLAIMER: Not ALL bicyclists do this – but enough fit into this mold that I feel safe to generalize):
1) They truly believe they own the road. Driving right out in the middle of the lane on a busy highway instead of getting all the way to the side. I still see you down there, Biker McBikerstupid from my pickup truck. But only barely…and I wouldn’t really trust my getting-older eyes.
2) Not only do they think they own the road – they think they own the stop signs and traffic lights as well. The belief is that they can completely ignore them and go about their merry little bicycle way without obeying normal traffic laws.
3) They cut up through a stopped lane of cars, instead of waiting in position #8 or #9 where they belong. What gives them that right? Because they’re skinnier than everyone else? What would you do if a motorcycle did that? That’s right – you’d hate his Harley-butt for life. But bicyclists get away with it for some reason.
4) Shoes. I swear that this is true. I was sitting at a gas station one day and some bicyclists dismounted. And you know what? THEY HAD SPECIAL SHOES! Who knew? They walked just as stupidly as skiers wearing ski boots with no skis. Yet they acted like they were rocking some awesome footwear… even when one of them got their foot stuck in a grate. That made me so happy I can’t even describe it.
5) Bicyclist goggles. Yep – they exist as well. Special goggles that apparently give them the ability to completely ignore other cars , pedestrians, small children and squirrels in their path – thereby transforming them into some sort of Weenie-superhero. Congratulations.
6) This is the big one. The bicyclist outfit. The uniform of freedom. The attire of attack. The tight black or white tap pants (for lack of a better name) with pads in the butt – and the colorful, sponsored, tight, slick racing shirt. You cannot see a bicyclist any longer without this uniform. I grew up riding a bike and wore any kind of pants and a t-shirt I wanted. I didn’t have to look like a cucumber squeezed into my clothing. Can you imagine if I dressed in full fire suit attire like a NASCAR driver just because I’m running to Giant to get some milk? Is it because of the decreased wind resistance when these people are going 3 MPH? Is it because they are looking for corporate sponsorship? Or is it what I call the ‘yoga mat syndrome’? You know – everyone ELSE that is taking the class has a thin piece of rubber to go on the floor – shouldn’t I?
So back to my favorite memory of rainy days (and bicyclists). Working for the man in corporate America several years ago, I had the great pleasure to have in my employ a fine lady, approximately 55 and approximately crazy like a loon. Her name was unimportant, because anyone who ever worked with this upstanding citizen would never forget it. Her main claim to fame was that she rode to work AT THE AIRPORT every day on a bicycle. No one knew where she came from….or where she went at night. In fact, rumor had it that someone tried to follow her home once and she was able to ditch them going the aforementioned 3 MPH. Good private investigators there.
All that is fine – good for her, she was probably in much better shape than I was (she wasn’t) and looked fit and trim (she didn’t.) She would come in to the office in her ‘biking uniform’ and then go to the bathroom and change. Still – all well and good. Until it rained. You see the problem here? We didn’t have a Maytag or GE dryer sitting over in the corner – so obviously the uniform needed drying. Hmmm. Where could we do this? I know! How about draping every single piece of clothing (and I do mean EVERY piece of clothing) over the wastebasket in her cubicle??? So that everyone coming to visit (OK, honestly, no one would ever come to visit her) would get a first taste and first whiff of bicycle-wear.
That was bad enough. I was informed of this by another private investigator in the office and told Subject X to stop doing that as it was offensive to some. Fine – she took as well as you can imagine. Until the next time it rained. She didn’t put the goods under her desk anymore. She took all of them and without anyone knowing put them over one of the huge trash cans on the other side of the building in the hallway. In the hallway outside where the Board of Directors were meeting that very day. You can only imagine what hilarity ensued from that point on. We decided that maybe her cubicle wasn’t such a bad place for her and her lady-things from that point on.
So that’s my rainy day bicycle memory. Aren’t you glad you sat through all those complaints to get to the hook? The next time you see a lady – probably about 65 now – peddling to an airport, stop her and say hi to her for me. Tell her she has made an indelible impression upon me for life. That should make her very happy.