For two weeks, I've taken the Southwest Corridor to work. I really like riding my bike and all the fears I had surrounding riding in the city are gone. It takes between 15 and 20 minutes to get to work, which is much faster than the train. On very hot days, riding is a cool breeze. At night, it keeps me from the temptation of taking a cab home. So, riding my bike: BFI.
I've gotten so used to the speed of getting around. A ten minute walk takes 2 or 3 minutes on the bike. So, after my 8 am doctor's appointment (you can guess the kind...) and trying to fit 40 minutes of cardio intensity into 30 minutes at the gym, I got ready like lightning and hopped on my bike like the wind. I always follow traffic laws. I haven't done a lot of research on biking rules or anything, but when in doubt, I always imagine I am a car and think, WWJD? If he was driving a car, that is. But on Thursday, I was running late to work.
Consider this map for a moment: MAP See where it says Newbury St? Find Berkeley St. Now Find Commonwealth Ave.
So, I ALWAYS ride down Berkeley (a one-way), take a right on Comm Ave, and another right onto Arlington (a one-way), so I can get onto the sidewalk in front of the former Ritz, which is now The Taj, and park my bike in front of work. This is the way Jesus driving a car would go. But you know, I notice a lot of people riding up Newbury St. the wrong way as a short cut. I know this is wrong. I know. But, A LOT of people do it. Every day, a lot of people break the law and I see them and they look like nice, happy people. So, the day I was going to be late to work, I decided, I would be less like Jesus and more like nice, happy people and go the wrong way up Newbury St, a one-way street. This is where the BFI becomes the WFI.
After about two car lengths of breaking the law, a woman I'd guess is in her early 40's, stepped out from between two cars to cross the street and just so happened to be right in front of me. I screamed, "WHOA" and swerved to miss her. Due to her inaction, we collided and I fell directly on my knee and ankle, ripping my jeans, scraping my knee, and spraining my ankle. When I looked over, she was on the ground as well. Before I could say, "Are you ok?" she started yelling at me. "Just WHAT were YOU doing riding the WRONG way down a ONE WAY street?!!?" I just stared at her, shocked, and said, "What were you doing not in a crosswalk." She didn't say anything. I noticed the rip in my jeans and the blood as I got up. I said, "We are both wrong. Leave it at that. I'm sorry. I have to go to work now." And started walking off in a daze. She followed me yelling YOU SHOULD GET A TICKET!!! In an unusual coincidence, there happened to be a motorcade of state troopers on the block at that moment. A mustachioed, aviator wearing cliche of a trooper walked up to me and asked if a car hit me. I said no, a lady walked in front of me and I fell. He seemed satisfied with that until whatshername huffed and puffed her way over and said to him, "She was going the wrong way down a one way street!!! I think she should get a ticket!" She was seeking justice, that's for sure, straight from the law enforcement themselves. The officer looked at me, the bike, me again and back at her and shrugged, "It's not a very fast bike." "Don't you think she should get a ticket?!" Then he snapped into action, "You know. You're not supposed to do that, you know. It's not a fast bike and you're not a messenger, but if you were going fast, you could really hurt someone." "Oh, I know. I'm sorry." "Don't you think she should get a ticket?!" The woman wouldn't let it go. He just looked at her and deadpanned, "Are you alright." It was not as lost on me as it was on her. She began to answer with her voice all quivery, "Oh, I'm fine. I'm a little shooken up is all. I'll feel this tomorrow." To which the officer answered with a, "Wellp." And we all walked away from each other.
So, I ruined her day by doing something I wasn't supposed to do. She ruined my day by doing the same. We were even. It was all pretty shitty though. Especially the swelling and bruises on my foot and the oozing road rash on my knee. My friend couldn't come get me from work cause his car was broken. Waiting for a minivan cab took an hour and a half and cost me five extra dollars. Nothing good came from being less like Jesus.
Halfway through my first client, I realized I also lost my phone in the ordeal. So, goodbye all those phone numbers I had but rarely used! I'm currently trying to track down the person who found it and is calling a bunch of people. They can keep the phone. I just want my numbers. Seems like the person who found it has a lot of spanish speaking friends, so my guess is one of the construction workers at Brooks Brothers found it since it happened right out front. Or maybe I left it at the gym and the cleaning ladies found it and don't want to return it. Either way, I feel disconnected and as if time does not exist. In other words, lonely.
To take care of any bad karma accrued because of the incident, I have decided to be a monthly donor to Greenpeace. Perhaps stopping to talk to those crazy solicitors on the corners of Starbucks is going to bite me in my butt, but at least I'll help save some indigenous people of the forests up in Canada from having their land clear cut by Kimberly Clark. Perhaps it's another WFI. We'll see how long it lasts.
So, anyway. I haven't been riding my bike anymore.