Welcome to Matter Anti-Matter, a site about nerd stuff. By day, I'm Head of Community at Kickstarter.
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I’ve been so busy lately that writing and posting here has fallen to the wayside, and today is no different. So rather than reblog a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch, I’m just going to go ahead and post this thing I wrote a year ago and never published:
I like riding my bike to and from work. It’s the most time I get to spend outside during the week, and it makes me feel like I am the agent of my own destiny, rather than a pig awaiting slaughter on the subway platform or bus stop.
Yesterday, I headed home on my bike as I usually do. It’s only about 3 miles and a quick 25 min. ride. Half the ride is on the Williamsburg Bridge, which is nice because it means I’m not in traffic. The other half is through Williamsburg, also not bad because trucks and buses tend to stick to two main streets.
Nevertheless, by the time I made it home yesterday I had become one of those psychotic angry people who shouts obscenities at cars, waving both middle fingers as dramatically as I could at two middle-aged ladies in a convertible, trying to figure out how best to convey moral indignity while repressing the urge to cry and throw my bike into their windshield.
I try to be a level-headed person in general, but lately I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated with my simple 25 min. bike ride. There are the little things that irk me — cars that insist on using the bike lane as a loading zone, drivers that never check for bikes in the bike lane, delivery trucks and buses that blow past you seemingly unaware that they’re inches within ending your life, getting stuck behind garbage trucks that bathe you in a cloud of rot and decay. You have to learn to read traffic signals and rules contextually, because the cars around here don’t care. They may have a red light or a stop sign, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still plow through an intersection.
All of these things I’ve come to accept as part of the deal. I ride my bike, you try kill me.
Then there’s the two ladies in the convertible yesterday, who didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t speed to the stop sign a half a block ahead because they were stuck behind me, the lowly bicyclist. So they laid into their horn, alerting me that I should get out of their way. For a HALF A BLOCK. Out of the way meant either swerving left into oncoming traffic, or swerving right into a ditch (narrow, local road). I stayed the course and listened to their horn at my back and thought about the non-choice they had offered me with that easy, blast of the car horn. Get out of the way and die, is what that (fucking)horn said.
It’s stupid that this silly, meaningless message broadcast from some stranger’s car made me contemplate the virtue of human existence. But as they passed me by, clearly unconcerned that I was shouting “FUCK YOU” and making lewd gestures at them, I realized how unfair it is that I can’t push a button, rip the doors and hood off a car, and blast a horn into the driver’s face. I can’t say, “Dear Stranger in Car, you’re life is worth less to me than getting to this stop sign faster.”
And you know what? I would never say that to someone, and quite frankly, I imagine most people, even idiot drivers in cars, wouldn’t think themselves capable of saying it either. But that, in effect, is what has been said, and yesterday it pushed me over the edge.