Learning Experience

Well, you can lead me to water, and if you kick me in the stomach to get my attention, sometimes i’ll drink.

See, last Thursday afternoon i was going to my regular meeting with my volunteer group at the GLBT Center and was in a rush owing to my hysteria about being a single second late.  Whizzing down Market in the bike lane, i was concerned about getting to Octavia Street in time to screech to a stop in the crosswalk, execute a Left Face, and still have five seconds to get across both lanes before the countdown ended and cross traffic resumed.  I mean, what if there were only two seconds left in the countdown?  I’d have to wait two and a half minutes until the light changed again.  Oh please.

A plan sprang full blown.  Glancing over my left shoulder, i saw that, oh joy, no traffic was coming up behind me.  So i swerved over into the far edge of the left turn lane to run to the left of the vehicles waiting before the crosswalk, where i’d have only one lane of traffic to cross and thus would need less time.  As i started the run i realized that the damn second vehicle, an obese pickup, had positioned its fat butt too far to the left for me to squeeze between it and the raised divider, and after my December Incident i’m touchy about raised dividers.  No problem.  I’ve been on the Segway over ten years and am at one with the machine, so it was easy to slalom around the pickup, pass the vehicle in front of it into the crosswalk, Left Face, and see that a full six seconds remained on the countdown clock.  Three seconds to spare.  Success!

So i whirred across to the southbound Market Street bike lane, transitioned into the crosswalk across the eastbound right-turn-only piece of Octavia and up onto the sidewalk in front of the Center.  All glassy smooth and exquisitely executed but for one little problem.  A motorcycle cop was sitting there in the lee of the Center watching for rush-hour miscreants, and somehow sticking me into that category, beckoned.

Couldn’t he see i was in a rush?

I grudgingly accepted his invitation, but the moment i dismounted in front of him he accused me of “running a red light.”  What!?! I rushed to defend myself against this outrageous charge, pointing out that i’d not gone beyond the crosswalk and that i could legally use the crosswalk since i had a complete set of disability permits, fumbling for the permits as i said this.

I was interrupted by a Great Light shining from the heavens, illuminating me like a squirming spirochete under a microscope.  I burst into laughter at the absurdity of my denials and blurted to the cop that while i might honestly argue that i didn’t think i was breaking the law, the blunt bottom line was that what i had just done was a bit antisocial, quite dangerous, and utterly foolish.  Not to mention hideously, sarcophagicly embarrassing.  He was mollified, i was mortified, and thanking him for giving me an Aha moment, i slunk off into the Center.

Afterwards, i got to thinking about the incident and how, the last year, i’ve been riding on the wild side.  I haven’t been doing it consciously, really, but what’s going on is that my body is wearing out and my mind is doing its best to keep up.  Part of my perversity is that this has not depressed me.  I still have dear friends, i’m having a good time when i have the energy to do things, i like going out to eat, i’m reading with increased voracity and great enjoyment, and i’m even still preserving things.  On the other hand, my affairs are in order, i’ve given away most of my non-essentials, and i’m ready to die.

Actually, that’s the problem.  I have so totally lost all fear of dying that i’ve fallen into the trap of not exercising reasonable prudence and have been, i realize, courting death.  Need to work on that.

Since last Thursday i’ve been paying attention to how i’m riding and have been upping the caution level.  After all, i’d like to stay alive a while longer so i can get some tales written for my new menu, not that i expect it to draw many readers.  Ummmm, yes, and to eat some more at Company and other favorite restaurants, hang out with friends, raid Carol’s Rangpur lime tree so i can make  more marmalade, that sort of thing.

Thanks again, Cop.  I hope you see me again so you can admire the enhanced wholesomeness of my riding.

Coming up 24th Street the other day with Pomme d’Amour crumbs on my face, i took a little detour down Balmy Alley.  It’s all been redone since my last visit, and although i was saddened at the departure of Sirron Norris’ Victorion, Defender of the Mission, it had a good run from 2007, and i was pleased that there were some new ones i liked.  Love how this one incorporates the ivy, or vice versa:

on Balmy Alley



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  1. Skulldugger
    Posted 5 March 2014 at 18:44 | Permalink

    Always the rebel, Matte! Great nature meets humanity Balmy Alley mural, by the way.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 5 March 2014 at 19:05 | Permalink

      It was a great experience, and glad you liked that mural.

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