It’s been a while since a complete stranger has made my acquaintance in that thoroughly modern manner of trying to kill me.
Last time, a bloke high on testosterone but low on intelligence failed to co-ordinate a mobile phone, a road junction and his optical collision detection system. Before that, a rather pleasant older gentleman just ran me over
So it’s a bit of a relief to have “one in the bag” while maintaining a firm grip on all my limbs if not my sanity. There is the “Alex Two Bomb Randomisation Theory” at play here; if you smuggle a bomb onto an aeroplane, statistically you’re in great shape as what is the chance of SOMEONE ELSE DOING THE SAME? Pretty damn clever eh?
So by nearly, but not quite, having an accident today makes it statistically improbable that my twitching form be impaled under a set of designer bull bars tomorrow. Oh and before the protractor and pocket protector brigade wade in to explain that this is total nonsense, because each incident operates in a single randomisation context – I KNOW OK, but it makes me feel better anyway.
Hyde Park Corner has been packed full of excitement and danger since the inauguration of my weekly battle with the uncaring motorised killers of our great capital. Short lights on the rotary are balanced by a long set when you’re trying to join, but this is largely irrelevant since everyone jumps each set. I know this but with misery enjoying the company of being pissed on and pissed off , I incautiously speared a front wheel into the lionised tarmac of the apparently red-held traffic.
Not being totally insane, it was a manoeuvre censured with an emergency double take, into which a belligerent taxi driver barged through the long lit red in an apparent attempt to terminate my worthless existence. I parked the bike on his bumper and my face in his window so we could discuss the merits of such an approach.
I was forthright. I may have tended to the frank and possibly even spilled over into vexed. During one diplomatically tricky exchange, there was just the possibility of a stray into quite annoyed. In “Non Violent Conflict Resolution” classes, it’s not clear to me where “You fuckhead, you stupid fucking clown, you arrogant fat, stupid arse” fits into “using passive language to settle the incident to everyone’s satisfaction”. But I tried if not punching the twat counts.
Even above the shouting, I could dimly here a hundred horns belting out their staccato umbrage. The cycle killer couldn’t move since my bike was still resting on his bumper and my hand was resting somewhat more firmly on his jacket lapel. And with all this at 5:20pm on one of the busiest junction in town, not much was moving behind us either. Shame.
We eventually parted, not with kind words, but with threats and promises that next time there would be proper violence. I was properly white hot, vibratingly angry – unable to stop shaking or construct a well argued or even a grammatically correct sentence. I filled the gaps with lots of swear words though and that felt good.
But here’s the thing; it’ll make no difference at all. I can’t be cowed by the motorist however much they try to cattle me, and the guy in the cab will never see cyclists as anything but annoyingly slow bugs waiting to be mowed down and crushed. What’s worse, bugs that don’t even pay road tax.
Got to stay out there though. Otherwise it’d feel like letting them win.
* I always wanted that bloody Klingon to get the fear and heroically intone “today is a good day to get pissed and fondle innocent tribbles”.