This morning I made a pact with my inner loony that, whatever the provocation, I would turn the other pedal when tested by the killing zone of the commuting blacktop. This lasted precisely one hundred and seventy yards – I never even made it out of the village.
Yes in a distance that’d struggle to trouble even an arthritic tortoise, my cup floweth over with angst and bile. For – and let me just insert a hollow laugh here – safety the road out to the badlands of the A418 is bollarded at regular interval to prevent desperate cagers from ploughing through fleshy pedestrians. The road narrows to a car width and a bit so thereby posing the equation “aggressive car driver + trembling cyclist > road available”
The man (it always is), determined to save the two seconds he’d have been stuck behind me at 20mph (rather than the 30mph limit through the village), attempted to solve the equation by gunning his engine and banging his horn (is that allowed even in the comfort of your own car?). I responded by plotting a CTC approved route five foot from the curb in case his impatience licensed an attempt to drill me into the curb.
Bollard dispatched, he accelerated past about one inch from my ear throwing out random words and gestures like a man missing most of his frontal lobe. The inner loony was screaming to be unleashed in the form of some international finger language but I was strong. Then the bloke slowed down, pulled along side and starting dishing out supplementary verbals.
The loony rose like an unstoppable curry powered by ten pints of gassy lager and the game was up. Normally, I allow the car driving nutter to make some preposterous statement giving me time to calm down and formulate something close to a rational response. Not today, the loony spluttered like a cold engine before unloading an verb laden invective on wide ranging subjects to whit: Bollards, Fucking idiots, Golf Drivers, Wankers, Impatient tossers and pointless fuckhandles were prominent.
His ire was almost as spectacular, fuelled by my fist waving rant. But the loony went properly beserk when he made – what he felt – was a winning point regarding car tax, him paying it and me not. After explaining that it is actually vehicle excise duty and, anyway, it isn’t a carte blanche to exterminate two wheeled road users – and even if it was I pay it too, so would it be ok for me to fetch my car and run him over?
Things went somewhat downhill from there. He offered to fight me in lieu of having anything intellectual going in his favour. This caused a brief internal hiatus as I battered down the hatches and refused to allow el loono to start swinging. It was close though, very close indeed but I was bloody annoyed to be dragged down to a insult trading level, yet I don’t think any calm logic would’ve changed his base position of “you fucking cyclists are the scum of the Earth“.
Coming home, another hot hatch (translation: small penis’d driver) screamed round a slower car and nearly totalled me as I was minding my business on other side of the carridgeway. He even had time to flip me the bird as I headed for the bushes.
It’s starting to get to me now. I don’t think 2007 will finish without punches being thrown because I’m running out of other options.