And by “funny” I mean not at all. Unless contriving a conflict is funny.
As teflon-coated as I like to pretend I am, I do get and remain peeved by trivial affrontations for far longer than necessary or required, and my rule of thumb is if I’m still stewing more than a day later, then it’s time to vent. Well, here it is a day and a half later and in my head I’m still telling the jackasses to fuck off, so of course it’s time to loosen up the pressure valve.
I had just started my pre-ride spiel to the awesome group of cyclists who had gathered in the parking lot of SilverSun Plaza for the Watts Happening ride when this semi-haggard, possibly hungover guy who looked foul-mooded enough to have been able to find easy fault in butterflies or a beautiful day, interrupted me with a demand for my attention as he passed by.
I obliged Sir Surly who then wasted little time in condescendingly chiding me for what he perceived as my obvious lack of consideration in allowing my fellow cyclists to loiter directly in front of SilverSun Liquor the overpriced booze farm that anchors the east end of the garish stripmall. He instructed me that our presence there in the lot along the front of the repository of drowned sorrowsÂ at such an apparently high alcohol-demand hour of 10 a.m. was bullshit because it was preventing patrons from accessing the store’s two nearest parking places and thus in the span of the 30 or so minutes spent gathering there we had dramatically impeded its sales and thus were in the midst of inflicting great negative impact both upon the proprietor’s livelihood and the phantom patrons’ convenience.
His advice, in so many words, was for us silly cycling second-class ingrate lot hogs to stop being dicks and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around us, because it more appropriately revolves around his and the booze dealer’s sour grapes.
Let’s go to the neverminds, shall we?
- That there were plenty of empty parking spaces in the lot.
- That we obviously would have moved had a driver chosen to park in one of the two in front of the store where we were â€” but none did.
- That several of the assembled cyclists had actually patronized the liquor store.
- That by delaying my opening remarks the idiot was actually keeping us there longer.
- That the grumblebum made an argument that didn’t at all pertain to him when he showed himself to be aÂ pedestrian when he walked from me to the corner in order to cross Sunset Boulevard — perhaps to see if there might be an impromptu Alcoholics Anonymous session taking place on the other side of the street at Cafe Tropical.
I wasn’t sure what this jerk’s vested interest was or what motivated the blindside, butÂ in the interest of not really caring and also not wanting to provoke the assbag into provoking me into getting all foul-mouthed and demonstrative, I basically shooed him on his way with “You are absolutely right, sir. Cars rool. Cyclists drool. Have a great day!”
Then I turned back to my riders, trying to remember what I’d been saying before being so rudely interrupted, and dang if the liquor store’s Sikh proprietor in all his mustachioed, bearded and turbaned glory was standing in the doorway skewering me with a glowering glare as if I had insulted something dear to him.
I tried to ignore the burn of his stare while getting back on track, but I could only withstanding the searing heat for a few moments until I diplomatically offered to the elder not to get his headwrap all in a bunch because we would be on our way in a matter of minutes. The contemptuous codger kept his laser gaze leveled at me for several deathless and silent seconds before finally nodding almost imperceptibly, as if it took every fiber of his arrogant being.
True to my word, I finished up my speechifying shortly thereafter and we were soon on the road away from the assholes of the morning and on to what turned out to be a most awesome 32-mile excursion to South Los Angeles and back. In leaving I did none of the below, but had toyed with letting the owner know that:
- As an area resident and past patron he’d never have to worry about me buying anything from his store again ever.
- That I’d be back next Saturday morning to gather riders together in exactly the same place for the Frank Lloyd Wride. And the Saturday after that for the Two Rivers Ride. And the Saturday after that for the Black Dahlia/West Adams Ride. So get the hell used to it.
- I’d be strongly encouraging that all of my fellow riders set neither a foot or spend nary a nickel there.