Shamelessness

Not to belabor the point from yesterday, but I was still thinking about it on my ride home today.

I realized another thing about some drivers. They have such a deep hatred of bicycles that they don’t realize how dangerous they are. When you are on a bicycle, a car is the Nemesis, the Big Bad, the Terminator.

Driver’s don’t seem to get it.

When I violate a traffic law on my bicycle by mistake, I feel real shame. If it works out then I feel like I let the whole bicyclist community down by making us look like a bunch of outlaws. If there’s a near accident. I apologize to the people who would have hurt me. I realize that I really messed up and I almost paid a big price for not paying attention. That’s totally on me. I want to crawl in a hole.

My question is, why do drivers,when they break the law, and almost kill me, get angry at me? What’s their problem? Don’t they have a sense of right and wrong and the notion of shame? Don’t they care?

I have come the conclusion that no matter what I do, I’m always going to appear to be a criminal to many a driver. I could be the caregiver for their grandmother. I could support their favorite cause.

They just don’t get it. They think it’s all a big joke. Or they get really pissed. “Bikers why can’t they stay off the street.”

This knowledge is not depressing to me, it’s a big relief. I feel a big weight off my shoulders. It means that I will be hated by some NO MATTER WHAT I DO. I read in a book called The Science of Fear by
Daniel Gardner that people fundamentally think different when they think in political terms or are emotional. That’s why the guy didn’t even hear me yesterday. I could have been offering him a million dollars no strings attached, it would have all been nonsense to him.

When people are driving, and they encounter a cyclist, the cyclist is a nuisance. They are vermin. They are terrorists even. Not people we can talk to. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Closed door. End of story. Good-bye.

That’s great. I don’t have to feel a big burden to make people like me. I don’t have to make excuses for riding a bicycle because no excuse will be needed.

Oh, I’m still going to carry out my plan of yielding for everyone no matter who’s right or wrong. I’m still going to smile to everyone I see. I’m not going to let a few assholes turn me into them. I’m not going to lose this fight.

Right now I’m going to turn to my favorite text that always makes me a better person: The Perfection of Patience.

“Anger destroys all the good conduct, such as generosity and worshipping the Sugatas, which has been acquired over thousands of eons.

There is no vice like hatred, and there is no austerity like patience. Therefore, one should earnestly cultivate patience in various ways.
The mind does not find peace, nor does it enjoy pleasure and joy, nor does it find sleep or fortitude when the thorn of hatred dwells in the heart. “

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