Almost all of the time, I love Seattle. I love that it’s green and I can see mountains and there’s public transportation and it’s relatively safe. I love that it’s walkable and I hear ships’ foghorns in the morning and I love the coffee. In fact, the things I do not love about Seattle are so few compared to the things I love about it that I hardly ever consider them at all.
One of the things that drives me bonkers about Seattle – my part of it, anyway – is the pansy ass sense of privilege. The sense that anyone should be able to do anything they want to do, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what you’re doing because if it does, they’re wrong and you’re entitled to lecture them about it. And of course they can’t say anything back, because they’re wrong and that’s how the world works. And if they do say something back, anything at all, then they’re “aggressive,” a word that gets misused about as much as does “random” by people of equally great stupidity.
There’s this trail in our neighborhood. I walk on it a lot, as does Graham and our other friends. Part of the trail intersects with the back road coming out of the grocery store, which normally isn’t a problem because a) there’s a stop sign there and b) most people who use the trail are normal human beings.
Every now and then, though, I encounter some fuckhead on a bike who is convinced that he owns the pavement a half mile behind and a half mile in front of him, and anyone who happens to cross the path must be told that they’re oppressing him and his right to ride a bike.
To which I say hey, you can just fuck right the fuck off, pal.
Because if I’m leaving the grocery store and you’re not immediately at the intersection, I’m driving through it. That’s what cars do. That’s how roads work. It’s not my responsibility to wait for you to pedal down the path, across the road, and off into the distance somewhere just because you’re on your bike. We’re in a city where everyone claims a space. If you see a car up ahead, maybe slow down. Don’t barrel through the intersection expecting them to be magically alerted of your presence. That’s how you get run over. In other cities. Actually, in other cities far worse things can happen when you think you can boss a stranger around, but most people in Seattle are so used to this wonderful green space where feelings matter that they don’t realize this.
Today’s fuckhead in question waited until I was already halfway through the intersection before screeching to a stop at my driver’s side door. I paused and looked up because what the fuck, and also he was already maneuvering his bike around my car. Which had had the right of way. Because he wasn’t at the intersection when I started driving through it.
And then he stopped.
Right in front of my car.
So I said, “Go the fuck around, dude!”
And he looked at me, cupped a hand to his ear, and asked, “What did you say to me?”
He immediately said it again before I even responded, which signaled that he wasn’t really asking me what I’d said, he was letting me know that he was entitled to teach me a lesson, and that he was expecting me to be cowed by a middle-aged white guy riding a bicycle on a recreational trail in the middle of a fucking weekday.
To which I say bitch, I am from South City and you just picked the wrong person to attempt to intimidate.
I really don’t have a problem with bikes. Graham rides one. A lot of people ride them. And these people have equal right of way as people in cars. I give bikes a wide berth. I give them the go-ahead. I do this because most people on bikes know how to ride them, and don’t treat them like magical chariots of invincibility.
So while the guy was stopped in front of my car, asking me to repeat myself, I shocked him by actually repeating myself.
“I said GO THE FUCK AROUND, DUDE.” Then I added, “And while you’re at it, GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY CAR.”
He looked taken aback, but recovered enough to give me a condescending teacher look and say “Why don’t you watch the fucking trail next time?”
To which I said, “How about you shut your fucking mouth before I run your fucking bike over, dickhead?”
And then he tried to give me the finger, which was pretty hilarious because he was wearing expensive gloves that didn’t allow any freedom of movement. So basically, he showed me his fist. But he still didn’t move, so I inched my car forward. You want to lecture me, fine, but know that I do not even play.
The look on his face was of such disbelief that a motorist would dare talk back to him, or possibly that a woman would dare attempt to extract herself from a situation of his making. You know, as if anyone in any other city couldn’t just pull out a gun and forcibly remove him from it. “You’re a fucking bitch,” he said as he finally started to pedal away.
At this time I’d already begun rolling down my window, so he heard me loud and clear when I responded with “AND YOU’RE A WHITE BREAD WASTE OF A FUCKING INCOME, YOU COCKSUCKER.”
Because I am from South City, I do not even play, and I don’t feel very well today and anyone who gets between me and my own bathroom is getting told.