I'm up to two idiots 6 Aug 2013
I don't know who will kill me, but when they come, I'll know exactly how many there will be.
I ride. On my bike I am a gay schoolgirl. I invent 'La la la' tunes and hum as I go.
But how I ride … I hammer the pedals. I weave and dodge. tilt and turn, cut corners. I pound through the oranges and run the reds.
And I'm a scanner. Once I spotted a car door open in front of me. An elderly woman – in a floral dress on an otherwise ordinary spring day – almost took me out.
But what almost killed me wasn’t the door, because I had the door in my sights. What almost took me out was that when I swerved to miss the door I almost collided with a truck passing on my right.
I learned a lesson that day. Context is king.
After that, I quickly taught myself how to dodge car doors, look for lazy drivers who never indicate, and spot the morons who run the reds.
Until one day, when I came to a hair’s breath of losing my life – to two simultaneous idiots. He was opening his drivers’ door without checking, she was cutting me off without indicating.
I walked away with both my life and an important lesson: when you see the sign of one idiot, look wisely … for a second is not far away.
Over the next several years I refined my ability to simultaneously scan multiple zones of my riding sphere.
After that I started building patterns of car behaviour. Stop-sign intersections are okay, but they’re killers when someone’s turning right in front of me. Trams are my friend, until someone double-parks in the bike lane.
I’m now confident that I’m safe with two idiots. Come on, I say, bring forth this dual Diablo.
All was fine until – as unlikely as it is – three simultaneous idiots almost killed me. One: a pedestrian crossing a red right in front of my path. Two: a van coming the other way on my side of the road. Three: a taxi double-parked in the bike lane.
“Fuck fuck fuck” I yelled. I braked, turned my wheel and was lucky to only twist my ankle in the process of stopping.
It’s statistically much less likely to experience three idiots at the very same moment. That said, if they do appear, they will come with incredible force.
So now, having mastered two, I must prepare for three. My task is greater than ever. I am left examining every aspect of my vision.
Of course I cannot possibly handle all this processing in my awareness at once, so I need to rely on old auto-pilot.
Slowly, with experience, I hope to bury some of this scanning into the more automatic processing parts of my brain. The task will not be easy.
For now, though, I’ll keep singing like a schoolgirl and running the occasional red.
And that makes me think. If I count myself in the mix of idiots, then hey … I’m already up to three!
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