Monday, May 01, 2006

Good state, bad state

After a full week back it's easy to remember all the beefs one has with one's regular life. On my way to work one morning (I want to say Tuesday. "Tuesday." Now I want to say "Langenbrunner," but I won't because you're waiting for the story) - OK, commute, Tuesday morning. Narrow city street. Nearly run into by someone jutting out into traffic from the right. Had he hit me he would have driven me into a full lane of oncoming traffic. I think I slipped through with about an inch and a half total on both sides.

Flash forward to Wednesday. I'm heading to the medical clinic to get my foot x-rayed. (I'd gotten hurt playing hockey late the night before. It was a busy 36 hours.) Good news - nothing chipped, nothing ripped. Worth the $20 to hear that, for sure. On the way home, a fellow motorist less lucky than I gets plowed and the two cars slide into the opening of a side street. Many rude words traded through the open windows.

We in the oncoming lanes are stalled out, waiting for the light, but those who came behind the crash are doubly fortunate - not crashed into, and free to proceed unimpeded. EXCEPT for one fellow who decides that this is engrossing theater. I watch, amazed, as the fellow rolls past at the bare minimum, and then, even though he's beyond the crash point, I see him staring steadily into his rear-view mirror for the full effect. Now, really, if you're that obviously a jerk, why not just pull over and gawk? Can anyone think any less of you at that point?

(Oh, and while I'm at it - to the gentleman in the blue Ford Focus hatchback, New York tags, Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker - thanks for swerving across three lanes of traffic to cut me off on I-95 northbound in Maryland, only to swerve all the way back to cut off someone else on your way to the exit. Hope you enjoy the next fifteen years in your parents' basement, you wanker.)

So, as you can see, a lot of my normal life tension is car-related. That's why I tried to cultivate more patience behind the wheel for Lent, and why I should consider going back to full-time pedaling while the weather is so nice. I can't bike to my games, though it's a fun mental picture: me in full goaltender's gear, rolling down the side of the road with my stick slung over my shoulders. But I can enjoy the sunshine and a more leisurely daily commute, even if I can't avoid all the idiocies of motorists.

In the meantime, one good story: the very first full day back, going to work Monday, I turned down a long straightaways with my mind on nothing in particular. Above me, the sky was slate grey, stooping low and still, promising rain and worse. Against this, the bright green of the new growth stood out sharply, in minute detail, narrowing as the road rose up to the crest of the hill, with the later white and pink blossoms dotting the roadside like corsages. At the horizon there was a sudden flash of brighter, cottony-white sky, framed in a near-perfect V.

A photograph would have captured the cars, power lines, strip malls, and missed the point of everything. I'm glad I got it in my mind's eye and not on film.

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