Ok, I'm sorry to those of you who read this and know me in real life but Albuquerqians - Jamaican Me Angry!
I have not bothered to ride a bike in our great Duke City for quite some time on the basis that at 12 years old you are unable to protect yourself from 2 undeniable sources of harm: The Law and Everyone Else.
First of all, the Law does not allow for bikers to ride on sidewalks because bicycles are considered motorized vehicles. Yeah, at the athletic age of 12 at 5'0'' I was considered a threat. I was issued my first warning ticket for riding on the sidewalk at Juan Tabo and Lomas on my way home when I had to jettison myself up a curb to avoid being hit by a gasoline-powered motorized vehicle (most of us call them CARS/TRUCKS/VANS). Yes, this copper-buttoned fool stopped me after watching this guy almost hit me to let me know that I was not allowed to ride my bike on the sidewalk in the eyes of the law. But as it was then and still stands today, there are no designated bike lanes and that means you live with the risks you take. At that age, what choice did he really think I would make? (Don't get me started on my track record with APD... ARGH!)
The second part of my complaint has to do with the reason that I wound up on the sidewalk to begin with: an impatient driver. I know, I was young and it's been almost 9 years since the incident, but some jerkwad with a hunger for McDonald's (those of you who don't know the area, you turn West onto Lomas and it's on the south side next to the Chevron) hit my back tire. It was either fall into the next lane or pop a wheelie onto the sidewalk. Now, I've been driving for the last 4 years but it doesn't take rocket science to know that if you're that close to a car that you can't stop you're going to get in trouble for tailgating (if the police aren't busy hassling me on the sidewalk) the car in front of you or you're going to hit them and wind up in some sort of skeezy court sham. I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I fell over into the next lane; would that guy be in jail? Would people have seen biking differently?
But the reason I'm on this rampage is that this morning I practically had PTSD. This poor guy was biking down Lomas as fast as he could. You know where the Hastings
is on Lomas? Just west of that intersection passing that area the guy was going as fast as he possibly could in the right-hand lane because there are no bike lanes. So it's him VS every jerkwad in Albuquerque. You could see the guy was out of breath and desperately trying to make some headway while waving people to go around. But this one asshole (pardon my language but there is no way to censor my feelings on it) rode this biker's tail for a full mile. That's right, from one intersection to past San Mateo this asshole in a burgundy (excuse my stereotype) poor gangbanger's car (and all that it implies) was inches away from murdering this guy for a full city block. What kind of "special" person do you have to be to be like, "My vehicle weighs 2 tons and this behavior is completely acceptable because this one man at 6'ish 160lbsish will put out the equivalent power of my ride when I'm going just as fast as him." Now, I have worked with the developmentally delayed and I have to say that they're much smarter than the asshole doing that. I even slowed my lane to a crawl to let the asshole into our lane so that he would leave the guy alone and he's giving everyone else the eye like they did something. Then he had the gall to fucking honk at the guy! SERIOUSLY?!
As if that wasn't enough, this poor guy is trying his hardest. There is sweat beading down his face and dripping as he's panting and peddaling as fast as is humanly possible on a mountain bike downhill on Lomas with assholes tailgating him. No doubt he was completely dehydrated and scared out of his gall. The asshole finally has the good wisdom to cut in front of two cars in front of him to get out of the turning lane at San Mateo and Lomas because all of a sudden he doesn't want that lane. Bad enough, right? But then an even bigger asshole decides that my lane is going too slow and he bolts out into the turning lane where this biker is just praying to GOD that he's going to make it past the intersection. Oh, he didn't hit him--that would have been too expected. But this biker is completely blindsighted to the fact that a bigger idiot of an asshole has jumped the line and heading straight for him. And as if the biker had previously been completely invisible has to hit his brakes at the last second. I about near had a heart attack! I couldn't get over to turn around right away to offer the biker a ride but by the time I got there I had lost him. I hope no one freaking clipped him and kept going--not that I would expect anything any differently.
So this is all happening on my way to find the building where I can get my TB test so I can start with Cuidando Los Niños. I get to University and Lomas and turn South onto University so I can get to Central. Then some guy blasts through the intersection almost hitting three people and hits his horn like I'm in the way. My bad? Excuse me for not running a red like some idiot. You know those traffic signals? I'm certain they're there because they do bring some expected order to the chaos that is driving. You know, when everyone else is going East-West you shouldn't be going North-South: DRIVING SAFETY 1-0-FREAKING-1. Normally, I'd be willing to give people who do that kind of thing the benefit of a doubt. But I'm sure that because it's the first week of UNM summer school and the third or fourth week at CNM that it was some chick (and oh, yes, I'm going there) putting on her MASCARA in the rear-view mirror on her way to school because she's late. Since she passed three medical facilities on the way to that intersection not to mention UNM Hospital itself there's no doubt in my mind there was no one dying and bleeding in her backseat. And of all things for her to be listening to...Brittney freaking Spears. That's right.
So I survive the PTSD of the biker incident only to get almost rammed. I don't have high blood pressure and Thank GOD because otherwise I'd be dead right now. If I wasn't riding around in a 1990 Ford Tempo whose transmission needs to be replaced I might have been able to go after her and make it at least a little interesting for me. But she sped off and even in that state I knew getting arrested for it wasn't worth it. So I made my way to Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez. That's where the instructions provided to me say to go. There's a grocery store and some other unmarked buildings and evil stares. People are looking at me like I'm a freak. So I went all the way to Gibson and flipped a U. Couldn't see it on the second pass. I went one more time and I'm getting even weirder looks. One guy pulls up next to me and says, "There's nothing for you here!" and drives off. WTF did I do? WTF is my broke-ass Ford Tempo going to be packing? What kind of status symbol is it when everyone over there is driving at least newer cars if not ones that are clean and in good repair. I know I don't look like a drug addict since I'm way too heavy for that. And why would I be casing businesses anyway? Like this hair salon that couldn't have been any more stereotypical if it tried... I mean...WOW, seriously? WTF did I do?
So, Albuquerque, I have but one thing to say to you: JAMAICAN ME ANGRY!