There was a fire in my neighborhood this morning, so all the traffic was snarled. Rows of SUV's trying to be patient, which is against their nature. And at every gap in the lane, one of them revs up and gains 4 inches and then must stop again. I slowly pick my way up the Avenue of Mounting Frustration. The light turns, and the SUV I find myself next to lurches forward. But she also hesitates, because — paradox! — there's nowhere to go...even though the light is green!
Now, I'm sure that the driver doesn't know I'm there. And if she suddenly turns, she'll crush me against a parked car. So I give a little rap on her window. A courtesy knock. Like you do before entering a bathroom you're pretty sure is unoccupied.
The SUV slams its brakes on.
I'm happy to let her roll ahead, but the car doesn't move. So I pass by, giving a little wave of thanks. The window goes down and the driver is saying something to me. I can't read her expression. She's not mad, and she's not apologetic. So I come closer and she's mumbling, "You scared me. I was so scared that I hit you. You shouldn't scare people like that..."
I told her I just wanted her to know that I was next to her. "You shouldn't scare people like that," she said. "I thought I hit you."
How do you communicate that she would have hit me if I hadn't tapped her window...?
They're in a different world, those car people. And they're, like, everywhere. When do bikes take over again?