Yesterday, my daughter and I went on our first bike ride together. She has just learned to ride, and we thought we would take the bikes to go the video store. It was supposed to be a fun time. An empowering time for her. After all, this was her first real big foray other than around the block.
To get out of our neighborhood we have to go through two busy underpasses on a busy street. One of these underpasses is under construction and one of the sidewalks is blocked off, which means that most of the pedestrian and bike traffic ends up on the other side. It is nerve wracking at the best of times, but the deafening noise of the jack hammering reverberating through the tunnel does not make anything better. It is a bad situation and you either suck it up and make the best of it or you go ballistic.
We had no problem on the way to the video store- people were aware that my daughter was coming and compensated accordingly for her. She is still a little wobbly, especially when she starts up and people were really nice about waiting for her to get going. I rode just a few paces behind her to make sure that she was okay and that we were not taking up too much of the sidewalk.
We get to the video store, we get our videos and we start on our way home. All is well until we are coming out of the last underpass, the one under construction. I am actually still shaking when I think about this. My daughter is sturggling on the uphill, working hard to get to the top, and I am right behind her. All of a sudden, a young guy on his bike passes me very closely and cuts me off. I thnk I spat out “Jesus”. I think I heard a “what” from his part which makes me say out loud “It’s just because she is still not that comfortable on her bike.” At this point he is in between me and my daughter and we are all going at a snail’s pace so I know he hears me. He tried to pass my daughter, who has made it to the corner and is getting off her bike like I taught her to when we are about to cross the street. He runs into her.Not hard, but just stupidly. He could have waited the extra thirty seconds for us to get out of the way but no. I make an exasperated noise.
The guys goes ballistic. He starts laying in to me about how it isn’t his fault how it is my DAUGHTERS fault and that I shouldn’t make eyes at him. At this point he is in my face and I find myself in some sort of primitive intimidation game. Well. And here is the part where I don’t recognise myself. I don’t back down. I push my face right back up to his and SCREAM at him. We switch from English to French to French to English and basically the guys is telling me that my daughter should be on training wheels in the park and that I shouldn’t be on the road. He starts telling me to F off. I start swearing back at him and yelling that he is an ahole who could have just showed some patience. I think he actually starts laughing at some point when he sees I won’t back down and then finally rides off yelling that I am a butch and should try getting laid (which is an absurd thing to say to a mother- obviously that is not a problem). I yell at him at the top of my lungs that he is a F#$@$@%ing Psycho.
My daughter is bawling her eyes out. She was already scared about the underpass, but then this guy runs into her and yells at us saying it was her fault.
The thing is, I don’t really like this side of me. I thought I would be proud of myself when I stood up to people but this was just pure rage. I wanted to rip the motherf&^$%^%er apart. I wanted to kill him.
That is not good. As my husband said when we got back, I just might meet someone one day who out-psychos me.
So here is to attempting some anger management. Some spirit canoe portageing. For going monk when faced with young, clueless aholes.