So I checked email this morning and found a comment to a two-year-old YouTube video clip I posted of an encounter with wrong-way cyclists, one of my random and occasional “This Is Why I Hate” series.
YouTube User “Berlitz777” wrote:
@wildbellÂ I live in L.A. and it really irritates me to see you people riding all over the right hand lane in traffic. I often imagine running you over and speeding away. I think if I ever have the chance to hit one of you on Sepulevdaï»¿ blvd; you know, that long stretch of road near Skirball Center where it sometimes get’s lonely? If I ever have the chance to hit one of you and get away with it — I’m gonna do it. Free Christopher Thomas Thompson.
To which I responded:
Thanks for the comment Berlitz, but I don’t think it’s going to help free Dr. Thompson. It does reinforce the need for me to be triply careful when I ride. I’m pleased you haven’t yet acted on such an irrational and violent impulse to injure or kill someone simply because they ride a bike on the streets that you do, and I hope for your sake and for the sake of bicyclists in Los Angeles that you continue to vent yourï»¿ hate-filled venom online rather than on the streets.
As you can probably tell my considerate reply was through clenched teeth, but one executed successfully because of my personal goal to promote peace — too meet evil, with good.
But don’t goÂ congratulating me for my insane ability to meet fire with nice,Â because I am no Ghandi. Not by a loooooooong shot, what with my first impulse being to invite Berlitz777 up to that lonely stretch of Sepulveda near Skirball Center where I’d promise he’d have no trouble finding me because I’d be the determined looking motherfucker with the bike on the side of the road and a crudely crafted cardboard sign hoisted over his head of which one side would read: “Hey, Berlitz777! Your Momma Rides A Bicycle!” and the other side: “Berlitz777! Queen Of The Gassbags!”
And the main reason I didn’t go that route? Not for lack of hackle-fed motivation, but rather because taking the hate bait from such chickenshits of the city accomplishes nothing but a waste of my time. So instead of behaving reactively and meaninglessly calling him out, I opt to proactively recognize that he did me a favor in reminding me that he and other 120-pound cowards driving 3,000-pound egos like him are out there somewhere, and to be that much more alert, cautious and considerate when I ride.