Friday, May 4, 2012

I, Rage Robot

When I first learned to ride motorcycles, each spring it would be a contest to see how many days I could be on the road without some moron running me into the ditch. At the time I was over both 200 pounds and 6 feet tall, certainly after adding a crate full of steel and rubber I was as large a package as say, a Volkswagen Beetle or the dreaded AMC Gremlin; yet within a few weeks of my yearly re-initiation to the orgasmic pleasures of two wheeled travel I would find myself spraining ankles and tearing flesh from my palms trying to stay upright while passing through a roadside bramble patch, after your average idiot mistook me for a gum wrapper and pushed me aside.

Then, I was spry, strong and riding machines between 3 and 5 hundred pounds so throwing them around was, while not easy, at least doable. I always took the slight seriously, but I was rarely more angry than only percolating with adrenaline; and so I generally wrote off the dangerous and thoughtless mistake, thinking of it as a "forced adventure", rather than a near death due to driver stupidity.

Once in while it's been over the line, an error too egregious to ignore, a deliberate act that put my life at risk to satisfy their selfishness that's based in "60 seconds is 60 seconds, no matter who has to pay for it, so long as it's not me."

I was once riding my chopper in the left lane of a freeway, separated from oncoming traffic by your standard concrete divider. I tend to stick to the right hand side of whatever lane I use, following the right tire track so as to have more room to move either way in an emergency. I was so comfortable with the day that I lay down on my gas tank and hooked my feet over my rear footpegs as if I were racing on a grand prix track, as that position helped soothe my back which was giving me trouble at the time.

I had full control, was well within my lane and even driving no more than 10mph over the speed limit, when between me and the concrete wall (in the unused portion of my lane) at a speed at least 20 mph over my own, blasted a Toyota 240z, a cute little sports car often bought by big daddies for their high school graduating little princesses.

Between her wind energy contrail and my shock that someone would drive a six foot wide car through a six foot six inch opening at 90 miles per hour, I wandered to my right as if I were a kite in a crosswind; and by the time I caught the bike's movement I was firmly in the next lane. It's this simple; had there been a car already there or coming fast, I'd have been dead, I never could have recovered. So I was...umm...miffed.

I'm sure it surprised her to see me coming up behind her as if she were the death star and I was piloting an x-wing fighter, not many bikes on any road anywhere were as fast as mine at the time; while I wasn't a race kind of guy I never let a challenge to my masculinity go without kicking some Ninja or Harley butt, and using my lane and nearly killing me was a definite challenge to my masculinity. I'm guessing it took me a mile to step up next to her window and begin my assault by shouted vulgarity, and in response she never blinked an eye, but only sped up. (Yes, "she", as in daddy bought me my little pony, Gidget goes to college and chucks four years into the porcelain goddess, needs an abacus to keep track of one night lovers-she)

So now we're doing 100, maybe 110, and for a mile or more she's not once looked in my direction, not mouthed sorry, or screw off, or wasn't that a trip; she's only stared straight ahead as if she's a Stepford wife and her neckbone servo motor is on the fritz.

Maybe it's unimaginable, but think about how crabby one might be when someone takes your life in their hands and spits on it, and then refuses to acknowledge your existence much less apologize. Her staring straight ahead when I was demanding she chew her driver's license into small bits and snort them along with her next dose of cocaine, was enough to really make me mad. So I kicked her car door, after I'd pulled within a few inches, at a hundred ten miles and hour. And then she sped up. And suddenly, I had an epiphany.

Now maybe it was the expansion joint on the bridge we were crossing that sent me airborne long enough for me to change lanes in flight. Or perhaps I was guided by the bumper sticker I could plainly read now that I was riding inches from her tailpipe that read and your little dog too!

Either way, for the first time in six miles I was well aware that she (as in she-witch "Deathbringer"; apprentice: Horsepersons of the Apocalypse) was driving an automobile, and I (as in I, Rage-Robot, Master: Morons of the Universe) was on two wheels. Her frame was steel and glass, mine was flesh and cheap cotton muscle t-shirt. She could simply bump into me and I'd be sent to meet my maker, just as an ambulance chasing lawyer and freelance photographer collided while trying to shoot the most artistic picture of me as a rocketing ball of fire.

So I backed off, reluctantly, and let my footprint in her door be my only cause for pride. I'd taught her a valuable lesson; if a great big ugly mean lookin guy on a dirty, black chopper rides up next to your window and starts screaming all those words your father used to scream at your mother, turn to him and wave so he sees how cute you are cuz cute might just go a long way in keeping his footprint off your driver door.

Actually, this tale has a point, unlike many I write. Linda and I actually went somewhere fun today, on the bike. It was a local art fair and afterward we rode into my childhood neighborhood where I pointed out the places many of my comic/tragic anecdotes have taken place. Then we stopped at a favorite Greek eatery before starting on our 20 some mile drive back home.

And as I was driving along in my very own lane, a woman next to me in a four door sedan turned my way, looked directly at me and smiled, and then pulled into me as if I was cellophane and she was trying to wrap her car to lock in freshness.

Now, I was in a good mood, it had been a fun day so it's not like I was lookin for an innocent stranger to rage all over. In fact, had I been alone I might have just slammed on the brakes as I did, flipped the bird as I did, and let her off with a stern, telepathic warning. But I had my wife's well being in my hands, my wife whose well being has already been a sore spot lately. Add to that, in deference to when I was a delinquent, I'm now old and slow and weaker than I should be, and toting around 700 pounds of bike or more; it's not so easy to just whip the wheel and throw down a leg and pick the bike up like it was a Flintstone car. So as I had long ago, I got a little miffed.

This time though there was no 100 mph chase, we only got a block or so; and though I was aiming to put my signature footprint in her passenger door so she'd always remember that running motorcycles off the road is a maneuver ill advised, Linda screamed at me to calm down before I could get into the perfect position. Damn!

So instead I got in front of her and hit my brakes and called for her to give up driving forevermore and called her mother names and flipped her not only one bird but a dozen or even more and with relish too. And then we hit the freeway entrance ramp and we were gone cuz both Linda and I like to go fast so long as it's in a straight line.

Of course it wasn't until we were at least a few miles ahead that Linda said "she probably just didn't see you". And I replied "She looked right at me and smiled!", (peppering sailor words in between the civilized ones). So Linda said "You should have kicked her car door!" Damn! Sigh!

I can only guess the doofus was thinking about a cell phone call she had to make to find out if errand-running hubby bought the right feminine hygiene product, or maybe she was remembering a new blender recipe for Margueritas she wanted to try the moment she got home. I'm betting once she noted that she had looked right through 300 pounds of me, 700 pounds of bike and ^%$ pounds of Linda and then driven into my left leg, she felt all oogy and apologetic; but since it was a busy street she just kept on coming', cuz, what the hell else could she do? "I've almost run him over already, what's the harm in finishing the job, if I don't I'll miss this turn and have to go around the freaking block!"

But then I can only guess that 300 pounds of me on 700 pounds of bike screaming at her may have put the fear of higher power in her, unless she's an atheist and then I can be credited for the fear.

I may not have put a footprint in her door, but I can only hope I made her wet her pants. I had 3 lives of nine left as of this afternoon, now I have two. Her having to drive home in shame and the discomfort of a bout with incontinence, would only be fair. The next motorcyclist she ignores and drives through, likely won't walk away.

1 comment:

  1. Good story, but a tale with a good ending. You're still alive.