Had a Bruce Banner moment yesterday on my ride home. It wasn't entirely the motorist's fault, although he was definitely being a big asshole. But it's also true that I came to the scene in somewhat of a funk. A couple hours before, my wife had phoned to tell me that some lowlife had busted into our building's storage shed and stolen my son's new bicycle. What kind of vermin steals a little kid's prized possession? It made me so mad I wanted to rip someone's head off.
So when this cookie cutter suit in a white BMW/Mercedes/Audi (Why do people pay such exceptional sums for things that are so patently unexceptional??) plants his ass smack in the middle of the crosswalk while WE got the green -- well, he seemed like the perfect stand-in for the jerk who stole Lance's bike.
As I followed the serpentining queue of walkers and cyclists in between the cars and around the butt end of the asshole's coupé, I gave his rear window a good thump with my fist and sneered provocatively around my shoulder as I got through the intersection. I fumed and cussed as I pedaled along the bikepath next to the road, and who should appear again for a little point-counterpoint, but Dickhead úr, pulling up to the kerb and shouting through the passenger window to find out why I had pounded on his BMW/Mercedes/Audi.
I threw down my bike and invited him to get out of his car so we could discuss it. But he kept in his coupé (or should I say chicken coupé) and kept shouting. I was just in a rage. I think I'd just primed myself for a punch up, and now I was reduced to trying to make an argument about the Hungarian traffic code with some guy who obviously didn't care. Anyway, trying to argue in Hungarian was beyond hopeless. I couldn't speak straight in my own tongue.
Anyone who can't grasp why these things make me so mad is as brainwashed by car-culture norms as Dickhead úr. I look at it from the point of view of space allocation. The scene was along Arpad fejdelem utja, just north of Margit Bridge. Here cars have six wide lanes plus a big median for turning. Pedestrians and cyclists have one sidewalk and, in certain sections, a skinny bike path to boot. You could state that cars have, conservatively, seven times as much space as either pedestrians or cyclists.
And here's a motorist telling me the reason he was on the crosswalk when pedestrians and cyclists had the right of way was because, "I had nowhere to go."
The way he reasoned it, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic and he simply could not get through the intersection. Of course, by law, if it's bumper-to-bumper traffic and you can't get through an intersection, then you shouldn' t enter the intersection in the first place. The proper thing to do is wait behind the stop line until there's sufficient room to get all the way through.
I didn't have the patience or clarity of mind to explain this to Dickhead úr. I hope I succeeded in insinuating it by giving his car window another hard wallop as he burnt rubber to leave me -- and get out of the bus lane he was blocking.