Friday, October 19, 2018


I can be pretty judge-y. I rationalize this behavior by turning that laser focus on myself on a regular basis. It's that little voice in my head that barks at me for running a stop sign when riding my bike, or walking past a piece of trash instead of simply bending down and ferrying it to the nearest receptacle. So I go back and pick up the trash, grumbling at myself. And you can bet that the next time I roll up to that stop sign, I make a conscious effort to come to a complete and full stop in order to make up for the one I missed.
Which is why I feel the need to correct others making similar faux pas as I wander through my day. Like the gentleman who zipped past me early the other morning as I was making my way out into the darkness. I was getting on my pedals as I heard the whir of his sprockets bearing down on me. Then there was the conciliatory whistle as he sped past me, which is the moment that I made my full assessment of this fellow bicycle commuter.
He had no lights, not even a reflector, even though the sun had yet to peek above the horizon. My glimpse of him was aided by a streetlight under which we found ourselves for that moment. He had no helmet. This is a lesson I had impressed on me early in my teaching career. Not only was it a proactive safety measure, it was modeling for all those youngsters with whom I had contact each day. I was an example. Hopefully a good one. My guess was that this guy was not on his way to teach elementary school, so that obligation may not have made his list. But what about safety? This question was answered in my last impression before he disappeared into the dawn: He had his earbuds in.
I decided that I was obviously dealing with a person who expected others to clear a path for him. The whistle I got was more "out of my way" than "look out." Untouchable and Indestructible. I decided to refer to him as "Lightning." It was not a term of endearment. It was the grist for the mill as I made my way, carefully and considerately, to school.

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