The following is just a story I felt like sharing; if you're not interested, move along. I chose this forum because it wasn't part of any regular commute, and because it involved an encounter with a motorist who seemed to be endangering my safety and who thought I belonged on the sidewalk. End of disclaimer.
The other day (Sunday afternoon) I'm riding along a two-lane city/residential road with cars parallel parked on each side. I was riding in the lane and out of the door zone. There's oncoming traffic, and a car approaches me from behind, honking impatiently. I can see not far ahead to the end of the line of parked cars on the right. So I give a "slow/stop" signal to the driver behind me, hoping to indicate that I'll get out of the way asap and please don't pass me unsafely right now.
Just as I'm passing the last parked car and moving out of the lane, the car passes me (close but not threateningly so), but rather than speeding past, the driver slows to my speed with the window rolled down. It's two women, driver and passenger, and they yell something like, "If you want to park, go on the sidewalk, like that guy!" (In retrospect, my slow/stop signal probably made them think I was getting ready to park, rather than communicating "back off", as I had meant.) They wait briefly for my response, but I'm already riding fast and slightly up-hill, hence breathing hard, and I don't feel like responding, so I say nothing, and they hit the gas.
About a minute later, I arrived at my destination, whereupon I locked my bike and took a walk through a trail in the woods, as I had planned. I was going over the incident in my head, thinking "maybe I should have gotten their license-plate number; then I could call the cops and report reckless driving or something". As I was thinking like this, a white bird, something like an albino robin or sparrow, flew up from the ground a few yards in front of me, and landed a bit farther away, in the bushes to the side of the trail ahead of me. Evidently I had startled it, and it was flying away from me.
I took this as a wake-up call, imagined that it was a bird of peace, and that I had scared it because I was (in my mind) anything but peaceful at that moment, and certainly not aware of my surroundings or enjoying what might have been a beautiful walk in the woods. So I reflected, and came to realize that the two women who had yelled at me must have been in a bad mood before I entered their world -- in other words, I did not cause their bad mood, but was merely one of innumerable excuses they were looking for which could help to justify their bad mood. I then felt sorry for them, and wished that whatever was the fundamental cause of their irritation would be healed. I furthermore saw them as not the cause of my irritation, but rather as potentially a wake-up call, a blessing in disguise. Though I'm glad I didn't respond to them rudely, with "f--- you" or something like that, I wished I had responded more compassionately than with a blank stare -- perhaps with a two-finger peace sign, or less ambiguously, "have a nice day".