Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cycling and the Middle Finger

Have you ever been riding only to be honked at for no reason? Then suddenly you feel your fist rise and before you know it your middle finger perks up and you’ve just successfully pulled a move equally a-hole like as the guy who honked in the first place? What is it about raising that finger that just becomes automatic when you’re cycling in a big city? Is it because the action has become so ubiquitous on the road that it has lost all meaning but somehow remains ephemerally satisfying for the finger-flipper? Can I try to cram any more big words into one sentence!?

If I could talk to the drivers that honk because I’m not riding as far to the right as possible, I’d say, “Have you ever been hit by a car door?” to which I’d imagine the typical response would be “No.” to which I’d reply “Then you wouldn’t understand why I won’t ride any further to the right.”

Even though the man in a hurry who feels like my presence in his lane is going to somehow make him late for his very important life (importance emphasized by the white ’89 Camry) ends up right beside me at a stoplight, this conversation never happens. Hence the immediate satisfaction of the finger flip.

But you know what’s an even better solution that I’ve been working on? The ginormous smile. That’s right. This baby will piss off that very important man more than any middle finger. Why? Because mean people don’t know how to deal with smiles…even if they’re not completely genuine. And you’ll feel better, too, because smiling releases serotonin and makes you happy. The finger? Probably makes you feel a little poopy inside.

So smile cyclists! Smile away at all of those evil drivers! (Unless they hurt you. Then finger flip away!)

Happy Cycling!

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