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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Would You Turn The Other Cheek?

I am a peaceful person. I don't really know how to fight and have never been in a "real" fist fight with a stranger. Before you get the wrong idea, I didn't get in a fight today either, but the potential was there. For the purposes of the following narrative, **** = the F word. Here's what happened.

London Ontario experienced a blizzard last night and through the early morning, with high winds and some decent snow accumulation, but nothing crazy like back in December. I knew it was going to be a tough slog in to work, so I left extra extra early hoping to see less car traffic. That worked OK, but thanks to backstreets being quite plugged I walked my bike quite a lot.

It was while I was doing this that I passed a man running a snowblower and clearing his driveway while his wife shovelled the steps. I was quite near them and obviously within earshot when he yelled to his wife, "Has this guy got ****ing rocks for brains?" I didn't like that. Had I been riding, I probably would have just kept going and shrugged it off. I was on foot, however, and that made it feel more personal somehow. I stopped walking, turned and looked straight at him for a few seconds and then resumed walking away.

At that point "****ing Idiot!" issued forth from behind me. I couldn't take it. I lay my bike down in the snow and walked back to snowblower man. I pulled my goggles under my chin so he could see my face and asked, "What the **** does it matter to you if I ride my bike today?" To which he replied "Hey man, in snow like this... it's dangerous... there are cars out there. I'm not worried about them, I'm worried about you..." Well, that made sense. I know that when I am concerned about a person, I always let them know by calling them a ****ing idiot.

As I play it back in my mind, of course there are all kinds of reasonable and informative things I wish I had said. As it was, however, I replied "How about I just take care of myself, OK?", to which he replied "Alright, whatever" or something like that. I returned to my bike and as I picked it up he yelled "It just seems crazy..." and then some unintelligible stuff to his wife.

The smart me knows that the guy could have been a total nutcase who was looking for a fight, but I just could not let his comments pass. It worked out OK, I guess, but I am curious what you might have done. I mean, would you just keep walking? Would you do what I did? Would you throw a snowball at him and run? Would you punch him for being so in your face?

I'm still pretty mad. I know some people think I'm an idiot or worse. That is truly OK, because I know that what I do looks pretty crazy. My question is, why do some people feel the need to yell it at me? Why can't they just shake their head and make fun of me over dinner or at the water cooler? I know I need to learn to just let go of these bad vibes. I am finding it difficult.
R A N T W I C K

17 comments:

Mighk said...

Treat him like a child. "Does your mother know you talk like that to total strangers who've done you no harm whatsoever?"

RLD said...

Sounds like your response was a good one and quite possibly the best under the circumstances. I might have been tempted to make some sort of comment about people who can't seem to do anything for themselves without an internal combustion engine doing all the work. But that would be entirely counterproductive and I have long since given up trying to have rational discussions with the deliberately ignorant.

Take care, man. You weren't the only one out today as there were several of us Kitchenerites trucking around. :)

RANTWICK said...

Mighk - Are you at all interested in my keeping my teeth?

RLD - Hey thanks for the vote of support... you are right, any discussion of internal combustion engines would have been a waste of breath with this guy.

christopheru said...

I think your response was not over the top or anything either. I suspect that he was a bit taken aback that you said anything. It might have been helpful had you said to him what you said to us, more or less. "Thank you for you concern. I am taking care of me just fine, but thank you. However, how is calling someone a ****ing idiot a good way to express that concern?" Then leave. Don't wait for an answer. Just leave.

People like that won't change willingly, and will always spout off against something that they see as outside the norm. Personally, I think people acting outside the norm are refreshing, be it a person riding a bike in the snow, wearing a silly hat, or smiling and saying hi to total strangers.

So would I turn the other cheek? Yep. Or at least I think I would. I would, however, say something to him before leaving him to his snowblower and high blood pressure (from all the misplaced anger.)

Oh, and it wasn't even that bad here in Waterloo this morning either. Not bad at all.

PaddyAnne said...

Ha, he thought he was being pretty smart to his wife and you unknowingly embarrassed him when you walked back to tell him to mind his beeswax. Then he had to put the final word in, otherwise his wife would think him a big sissy and would be tempted to run off with you.

I think in situations like this you just have to rise above them by putting a "Chandra" in front of your vision, and when suitably calmed just say one word to him ... "Peace" !

But thats sorta hard to do when you want to sock him!!

Anonymous said...

Your lucky you didnt get your ass kicked. If your such a biker why were you walking not pedaling. Stay on your bike and you wont hear things like that. You really are full of yourself and I think you need your little blogger friends to stroke you about everything you do.

Steve A said...

Why would you let an ignorant American expat rile you? While any response was less than optimal, yours at least avoided the really tacky end of the possible ones and also avoided an unplanned trip to the dentist - so it was at least a partial success.

Did he happen to have a red pickup with an "OU" sticker in the back window?

John Romeo Alpha said...

When people play their "lash out at cyclists and throw around the f-word" aggression game, I try to avoid playing, and instead stay on my blissed-out cyclist game as much as I can. What does a blissed-out cyclist player say to the lashing-out f-word thrower with a snow blower? "Hey, you want to build a snow fort together? I really want to build a snow fort. The last time I built a snow fort, I think I was seven years old, and we had hot chocolate afterwards. Do you have any hot chocolate, brother?" Yeah it's a little bit crazy, but I guaren-f-word-tee you that you wouldn't be carrying any stress around about it.

lifein360 said...

Considering that there are more driving related accidents in snow like that, you should have told him that everyone should stop driving instead. If that didn't work, I would have jumped him.

RANTWICK said...

Anon 7:33 PM - I love you, man. peace :)

Skyers said...

Sorry to hear you had such a rough ride. I wish I could feel your pain but I have been in Costa Rica all week. It will be hard to get back to riding after temps of 32 every day.
My response to your snow blower dude would have been "are you sure you want to mouth of to someone you think is crazy?"

Apertome said...

I'm just here to stroke you about everything you do.

RANTWICK said...

Apertome - You ****ing idiot blogger stroker.

Jim Phillips said...

You could probably spend hours and hours trying to get someone like that to understand why you were out there, but I don't think he would ever really get it.

saskboy said...

Anon 7:33 must be pissed you stood up to his big brother.

Anonymous said...

i agree with 733

Anonymous said...

i agree with 733

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