Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Giving the finger to Paul Begala.

Yesterday, I was riding home after a fairly long and arduous day at work. I was nearing the end of my 20 mile route. This entails riding around the Jefferson Memorial and getting onto Maine Avenue headed southeast past the fish market. After passing under the highway, there are two intersections, the second of which (7th Street), I turn left onto. I have found that if I wait until getting close to 7th Street, the traffic flows in such a way that I am usually confronted with a surge of speeding cars. To alleviate the risk of maneuvering across this stream of traffic, I have taken to cutting into the left hand lane at the first intersection (9th Street), waiting for the light, and then riding with traffic up to the second intersection. In the past, this has caused no problems, as I am pretty much as fast as most traffic for the 500 feet it takes to get to the next intersection.

Yesterday, though... Yesterday, I was behind a Mustang GT covered with many right-wing stickers. I pulled up behind this dude and got into my track stand. I can see him eyeing me in the mirror, so I wink and blow him a kiss. Clearly this sets him off, because as the light turns green he pops the clutch, spins his back wheels and roars off. Point made: he don't like any goddam bicycling faggots.

Having received this message loud and clear, I take off and proceed pedaling the 500 feet or so to 7th Street. Almost immediately, someone behind me starts honking. I turn around and the person is pointing to the right hand lane and yelling, clearly pissed that I am impeding his way down the left hand lane of an empty 3-lane boulevard. Doing my best impression of St. Pius of the Peaceful Bicyclist, I proceed to salute him with my single-digit traffic calming implement, turn back around, and continue to pedal along. The black Chrysler Magnum roars up beside me and the guy yells something about "Get in the goddam right hand lane!" I lean back, smile, and attempt to calm him down further with a virtuous application of both of my traffic calming implements. As I'm doing this, I realize that the person I am giving the fingers to is none other than Paul Begala or someone with an uncanny resemblance to Paul Begala. My efforts at calming him down, however, clearly failed, as he jammed the gas, got in front of me, and sped off down 7th and then I Street. My brush with infamy complete, I proceeded to ride on home giggling to myself.

All the wingnuts in the world can't piss the inimitable Mr. Begala off, but put a progressive on a bicycle in the left-hand lane and he turns into just another irate driver: a prototypical event in the day of a bicycle commuter.

Finally, if it wasn't Mr. Begala, but his evil twin brother, I apologize forthwith for assuming so.