Weather: Troubled skies, cold but dry.
What a difference 100ccs make!
Though they look almost identical, Scarlet is a completely different animal from the Red Baron. In traffic, we scoot and we squirt and we zoom past somnolent motorists with the greatest of ease. We can even keep up with traffic on the city freeways if we want. But we seldom want that.
Gone is the Zen sensibility I had developed with the Red Baron. I don’t have to simply accept any situation in traffic anymore. Passing on city streets is simply a matter of twisting the throttle and swooping around the obstacle. We beat out all cages in the stoplight drag races. Scarlet and I have the power and torque to make moves I only dreamed of on the Red Baron.
But these moves have their consequences, as I learned on the way home tonight.
There has been an explosion of road destruction projects around my home this autumn. I think it has a lot to do with the new condos they are building on Robert Street. Somebody paid big bribes to the city to make the surrounding thoroughfares more attractive.
As a result, Scarlet and I cannot ride all the way down our home street anymore. We have to make a detour, which takes us down a much busier street than we normally like to ride. Tonight, we found that street choked with cages, as the “Road Closed” signs channelled all traffic into a big bottleneck.
Approaching this mess, we came to a stopsign. A large, black 4×4 pickup pulled up to the street on our left. Since we were to his right, and were going straight ahead, I assumed we had the right-of-way. We started to go, and this guy roared out into the intersection ahead of us. Jackass… Yes, but there’s more to come.
There was a stoplight up ahead, as this street crossed the busy Robert Street. There are two lanes on Robert, but only the left lane was moving. One hundred yards up from the light, there was a car parked in the right lane. This stopped the cars from using it, but for a scooter it was an open invitation.
Jackass in the pickup truck had bullied his way to the head of the right turn line, but found himself stymied by the bumper-to-bumper traffic going by. Scarlet and I crept up the right side, next to the curb, and made the right turn ahead of him. We had gone about fifty yards when I heard the most gawd-awful racket of bellowing V-8 and shrieking, tortured rubber behind us.
In my rearview mirror, I watched this moron light up his tires and spin a complete 180Â° turn into cross-traffic, ending up with his front tires over the curb and his front bumper blocking the sidewalk. The cars all around honked at him, but Scarlet and I merged into the left lane and continued on home.
Safe in my driveway, I contemplated what had just happened. Obviously, this jerk had wanted to come roaring up behind us, probably within a couple feet of our rear tire, or some such juvenile tactic. But the truck got away from him, endangering innocent people in the process.
If the nearest motorist in the left lane on Robert Street hadn’t been paying attention, there would have been a collision, possibly with injuries. If there had been pedestrians on the sidewalk at the location where his bumper intruded, there may have been casualties. Would I have been the cause of all that?
Indirectly, yes. My ego drove me to take advantage of our single-track footprint and slip ahead of him in traffic. His ego pushed him into a temper tantrum that could have killed or injured innocent people. All so I could arrive home maybe a whole minute sooner?
Let’s be honest; I wasn’t trying to save time. I was just trying to tweak this Jackass. I hate people like that, and here was my chance to prove… what? That two-wheels are better than four? We all know that. But we will never convince people like him. So why take a chance on provoking them?
Well, I guess it was just like every other split-second decision I make in traffic. I almost always err towards the aggressive. That’s a legacy of my time in the Marine Corps… attack-attack-attack! It has worked for me so far, but I fear I may need to rethink my strategy. If something had happened to somebody’s little child because of this, I would have a very hard time living with myself.