Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a Nice Day, So Be Nice

After weeks of forcing myself to ride in to work on hot humid mornings, the weather finally broke here in middle Tennessee. It was actually “knee-hurtin’” cool this morning – probably 67 degrees or so – with a light breeze from the north keeping the air pleasantly dry.

In short: Nice weather.

So why was everybody so pissy?

Well, okay, maybe not everyone … but a lot of folks out there this morning were definitely irritated about something. Here’s how it breaks out:

  • 13% were nice
  • 11% were irritated that they were stuck in cars instead of biking in to work today, and were wishing that they could head home and grab their bikes
  • 17% were irritated that they were stuck in cars instead of biking in to work today, but knew that they live too far away to drive to work
  • 12% were irritated that they were stuck in cars instead of biking in to work today, but knew that they had other things to do either on their way to work or on the drive back home that would preclude them from biking in to work today
  • 18% were irritated that they were stuck in cars instead of biking in to work today, but knew that they were just too darned fat and/or lazy to do anything else
  • 15% were happy as clams to be stuck in their cars, but were irritated that I was outside enjoying the nice weather (it's a strange phenomenon, but there are a lot of people that cannot understand how anybody could possibly be happy without creature comforts that these people take for granted -- if you want to see this in action, just tell somebody that you don't have a television)
  • 10% were just irritated -- their kid missed the bus, there were only four Crunchberries in this morning's bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, they were late for a 7 am meeting (and who the hell calls a 7 am meeting anyway ... just because we have to conference in the off-shore development team ...) -- or maybe irritated is just the normal state for those people
  • 4% were irritated because they don't like bicycles
Now, here's the really perverse thing about that last group -- the ones that hate bicycles: One of them was riding a bicycle!

Seriously! I'm going through one of the usual neighborhoods on my way in, and this guy is going the other way. Now, it was nice weather, so I'd already seen two other folks on bikes (they were in the "nice" category), and when I see people out walking or riding or just taking their garbage to the curb, I usually call out a nice friendly "Good morning!" Everyone else that I called "Good morning!" too had waved or smiled or said "Good morning!" back at me.

But not the sour-puss riding the other way. He scowls at me. And it's not the small scowl of "What are you, some kind of smart-ass?" It's a big scowl -- a major-league James-Bond-Villian kind of scowl. The kind that says "I hate this world, and I'm going to blow it up or poison it or flood it from my Giant Zeppelin of Evil."

Now, who can possibly hate this world when he's on a bicycle? (For that matter, who could hate the world from a zeppelin? They're kind of cool.)

We all have bad days on the bike. The wind has been against you no matter which way you're trying to go, or it's blazing hot or toe-numbing cold, or it's been raining all day and now it's going to start hailing. Maybe your shifting is all messed up and you're stuck in the big ring, or you keep getting flats but can't find that piece of glass in the tire's sidewall. Being 25 miles in on a 125-mile ride and developing a saddle sore that feels like it's as big as Newt Gingrich's head and twice as caustic ... that can be a bad day.

But weather like we had this morning could easily make you forget about a skipping chain or a massive Gingrich in your cycling shorts. It was just the perfect day for a ride, and the cranky motorists with whom I had been jousting all morning had been unable to kill my buzz. But that one sour cyclist ... his lack of appreciation for what I consider one of the best things in life really put a damper on my good morning.

I rang my little bell at him as he groused past, and I hope that this changed his mindset a bit. If it didn't, I hope he finished his ride soon after, because he wasn't doing himself or anybody any good this morning.

If you just don't want to be on a bike, then don't get on the bike. But if you're going to go out for a ride on a nice day, be nice!

No comments:

Post a Comment