Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tools of the tirade

Two summers ago I was at a stop light waiting for it to change. Across the street was a Jeep and in the jeep was some big hairy tool with several dogs in the back.

Soon I was off on the green. The big hairy tool was turning left and apparently I wasn't moving fast enough because he gunned it directly at me and at the last second swerved to miss me, giving me the finger as he passed.

Considering how many incidents occur as one rolls along you might wonder why this particular one sticks out in my mind. As the fates would have it me and this same tool with the same jeep and (I'm assuming) the same dogs had a chance to cross paths again.

I'm returning from the store in the dreaded car and stopped to back up into a parking space when this jeep comes racing toward me, comes inches from my mirror and the driver is giving me the finger. Well I'll be damned. I recognize him and the jeep and I'm all beside myself. I just thought he was just another tool towards bikers but apparently he's all about equal opportunity.

So this tool passes on and a few houses up pulls into a parking space.

Ever have those moments when all goes black and you don't really know what you're doing? Where you're rabid and foaming at the mouth and you're not even aware of it? That was me. I had somehow parked, left the vehicle, marched up to his jeep and had my face inches from his through his window. I'm guessing that's what happened but I can't say for sure.

He was muttering something but I can't tell ya what because I was too busy screaming "GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR!". Why I wanted him out of the car I hadn't a clue. Was I intending to fight him (uh, what? Fight? WTF?)? Sure, I was in a scrap or two back in high school but that was when you could throw a punch and not get shot. Besides if I threw a punch it would be an old man's punch and nobody wants to see that.
As mentioned he was a big hairy tool, and though I wasn't sure if I could take him in a fight (ok, I was sure I couldn't) I felt quite certain that if he emerged I could outrun his fat ass. Did I want him out of the car so we could engage in a foot race?

It was all quite confusing to me as I repeated my mantra and he kept muttering something about why would I want to fight him for giving me the finger. He seemed genuinely shocked by the very idea. Actually, so was I.

Well, as these things are wont to do, the crazed anger was quickly subsiding as he kept pursuing the "let's chat" avenue and I was loudly repeating my increasingly pathetic battle cry. While my mind was trying to maintain some kind of tough guy persona and deal with the subsiding craziness I was also struggling with the dogs in the back whom were panting and looking at this spectacle with mild curiosity. Being a lover of the 4 legged creature I was mightily fighting the urge to go "who's a good boy? who's a good boy? you're a good boy! yes you are, oh yes you are! what a good boy!".

All of it proved more that I could take. I knew that I was in a no win situation. I didn't want this crazed anger anymore, he, thankfully, wasn't going to get out of the car, the dogs looked so darn cuddly and I wasn't about to chat. So I decided to just walk away. I reminded him that he was a goddamned candy ass, a phrase I once heard from an Admiral that I swore to use some day, and headed home, feeling quite pleased that I got to use it and not get my ass kicked because of it.

As I walked home I saw him get out of his jeep, drop something off at the house he was parked in front of, get back in his jeep and just as I was about to go in the door he honked as he was passing. I turned and he was giving me the finger.

And just when I was starting to feel stupid for acting like a total tool.  I'll be damned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I love the fall. Love the air and crispness and the colors.

Having just finished a long project at work I've now officially semi-retired. The free web dictionary defines that as working part time because of health issues or advanced age. Merriam-Webster says because of health or age. I'm going with Merriam.

Isn't advanced age some kind of a health problem by definition? My knees have hurt for years. I can't hear, I can't see that well, my back hurts, my neck hurts, parts are failing and I'm not anywhere near advanced. I swear.

Anyway, now that I'm semi-retired I can do some serious rides. I'm all about the serious rides.

There's nothing quite like a frisky ride on a cool morning. You start out with a lot of clothes and 5 miles later you've opened up the jacket and a few miles after that you've switched from the 35 degree gloves to the 45's. Soon the ear band is gone and the outer layer is tucked away.

There's something different about the effort. The attention you pay is more focused. The cat and mouse between sun and shadow make cracks and pothole spotting a thrill ride. The low sun blinds you, and more importantly the pilots of those 1 to 3 ton missiles. A blinded pilot will grab your focus quick.

Soon the weather will impact the time out and miles gone by. The summer goals not achieved this year will have to wait. Soon I'll semi-retire the trusted steed and spend long cold evenings in magazines and articles on what the new year holds.