Monday, December 12, 2005

You Wanna Ride?

You know how you think of the witty thing to say right after the moment has passed? I had one of those situtations this morning. It has been cool and still the past few days and that's held fog in the valleys at the base of the "Issaquah Alps", the low foothills of the Cascades.

This morning it was 30 degrees (F) at 6:00 AM and the cool temps had crystallized the fog on the roadways. As I rode my bike along the northern edge of Cougar Mountain the ice crystals twinkled in my headlight beam. By the way, the northern edge of Cougar Mountain is a fine paved suburban road that parallels I-90 so it's not like I'm out in the wilds accompanied by some guy named Tenzig. The road surface looked slick but traction was actually fine.

A fellow in a pickup truck drove past me and then pulled over to the shoulder at the next wide spot in the road. I always ride with the operating assumption that most of my fellow road users don't see me and that those that do don't always like me. So I approached with caution. But rather than getting yelled at to "get off the road!" the fellow merely asked "You wanna ride?"

I try not to be shocked by civility and I just smiled and said, "No, I'm fine. Thanks." It was probably the right thing to say and less confusing than the witty response that came into my head a few minutes later.

I wonder how the guy would've reacted if I'd said "Yes, I do wanna ride. That's why I'm riding."


DK said...

Hi Ken,

Congratulations on your new position!
I'll have to try the cougar Mt. road next time on my way to Seattle.
As for todays post, you are right. Use caution, but most people just want to help.
I commute on the other side of the Cascades, have been for the last four years. Its pretty cold over here now, in the 10 degree range every morning for the last couple of weeks. I leave my house around 6:00 every morning. The other day I had forgotten to turn on my rear tail light on my cargo bag. I pulled over in the snow to start it up. A couple of cars went by, and then I took off. About a quarter of a mile up the road, a pickup turns around in a school parking lot and approaches me. I'm thinking, oh boy what do they want? So I slow down and this tiny voice eminates from this huge truck asking me if I'm okay.
It sure beats a whole lot of other remarks I've heard!It is nice to know there are people out there who care.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Kent. Civility should beget civility. I always try to give what I get, and so far no one has yet run me down for being as rude to them as they were to me ... it has gotten a little hairy a time or two.

About that mental Tivo: I can't tell you how many snappy retorts I've come up with ... about a minute after the moron has walked off with the last (and usually) best 'last word'. Am I Don Quixote or Howard Stern?

Anonymous said...

The French refer to this as "l'esprit d'escalier": a witty remark you think of too late, as you descend l'escalier, or staircase, just after you have left the party.