It began above,  southbound on Vendome coming through HiFiTown, when the blue Honda sedan practically redlined it past, driven so ridiculously fast that the driver had to start braking almost immediately beyond me in order to be able to stop at Beverly Boulevard without laying down some rubber. On the plus side, he gave me ample room in passing, but the sound of the high-revving engine barreling down on me from behind raised hackle and heartrate.

It ended above on 4th Street when The King of the Nutbags saw me in his rearview mirror and didn’t hesitate to make a left onto Shatto Place against a red to keep some distance between us, which was fine by me as I kept going on 4th. Good riddance psychoclucker!

In between we traveled the same route — Beverly to Dillon to 2nd to Commonwealth to 4th — and I kept him in sight pretty much the whole way to where the confrontation went down at 4th and Virgil, when I finally rolled past the guy stuck in the stack at the light and in passing curiosity looked over my left shoulder to see if he looked as much an asshole as his driving style dictated. He did.  And with nothing more than looking at him directly he decided the appropriate response was to give me not one but two raging middle fingers — quite troubling, especially when I did nothing to warrant it other than show the speedster up by pacing him for a few blocks.

As is not too hard too imagine such a display did not go over too well with me. And whether I appeared to host a casual veneer or looked to be in ready-to-rumble mode, I dismounted my bike carried it off the street and onto the parkway grass, where I laid it down and then turned to do some redecorating. But dang if the driver didn’t grind it into gear and break right to go past me at the curb and hang a right onto Virgil, where I yelled a few unpleasantries from the corner in between encouragements to not be a runaway sissyboy.

Why he flew me the double birds is something way beyond me. But if I were to guess why he didn’t back it up with anything else, I’d say he came to the stark realization that he dreadfully over-reacted to a cyclist made exceptionally ragged by  the influx of asshats on the road this last week and he decided now was no time to do anything be back down and exit with as little physical damage as possible.

Except he got up to the street north of 4th and hung a u-turn (almost causing an accident) to come back down to 4th, where he rolled his driver’s side window down and started wagging his finger at me and saying something I couldn’t discern> Here we are in the middle of that moment:

I invited him to shut the fuck up and bring his sorry ass and his wagging finger across the street to me but he declined the invite.

Then he yelled me this question: “Are you a USC fan?”

And in dumbfoundment I asked him this in return: “What the fuck?”

And he asked me again.

And I was completely and utterly nonplussed. “An ‘SC fan?” I asked incredulously. “Why the hell does that matter?” And I laughed in clueless exasperation and turned back to my bike as he turned onto 4th. Was this dude the most idiotic and aggro UCLA fan in the world — and blind too as there was nothing in my black-and-white clothing/bags/bike/helmet that had even the slightest to do with being a Trojan fan?

Could it be he was just a total nutbag or perhaps he cagily tossed that unrelated and meaningless topic into our altercation to successfully throw me off track? Unfortunately I’ll never know. But given how he busted a hasty left on that red when he saw me coming a couple blocks later I’d bet on nutbag.