* * * BEGIN RANT ALERT! * * *
In today's entry I launch into another of my wholly justifiable rants against stupidity. Please do not read on if you do not want to be enlightened as to how stupid and rude some people can be.
You have been warned!
* * * END RANT ALERT! * * *
It was a lovely morning. The kind of morning that makes one want nothing more than an open path, a bottle of water and the time to ride wherever the mood strikes them. At least it was until she stepped in front of me and... Wait. I am getting ahead of myself.
Sure, it is a bit windy this morning, but the temperatures are pleasant and it is a lovely day to ride. I got on my bike and headed west into Kingston. Then, carefully avoiding the crowds who infest my area of London at this time of year to descend upon the Hampton Court Flower Show (like a plague of locusts), I headed around the north end of Bushy Park and rode off toward Richmond. I circled back through Hampton and entered Bushy park via the Hampton Gate and rode along Lime Avenue until I was able to get around the Woodland Garden and ride the path that more-or-less circles the inside of the park.
I was ambling along this path enjoying the shade and the relative quite when I came upon her. She and her husband and a second couple were walking two-by-two and, although they largely obscured the path, they did leave me enough room to pass on the right. So, as is my practice, I called "Caution, Passing to your right." It was at this time that she revealed herself to be an absolute harpy rather than a mild-mannered Brit.
She swung about to glare at me, standing arms akimbo all but blocking what remained of the path. "Huh!" she puffed all but actually belching brimstone as she spat the syllable out at me "Here we practice that pedestrians have the right of way on the paths. How's that for an idea?" she snorted.
I had to reduce my speed (from the legal ten miles per hour to something closer to walking speed to negotiate the way into the narrow gab she was leaving). What does one say to such obdurate bluster. It was not as if I had, for example, screamed "Out of the way you cow!" or something. I had simply advertised my presence.
"Huh!" I retorted, "Were I am from, a cyclist announces his presence so as to not startle the pedestrians on the path. Next time, I'll zip by unannounced and see if I can't cause a massive coronary! How's that for a more entertaining idea!"
By then I was shouting it over my shoulder. But that ten-second exchange spoiled the ride. I decided that with the ride already sullied, even dealing with the flower show crowd could not irritate me further. I popped into the King's Arms for a pop and then headed home.
Why is it some people just do not seem happy unless they are making other people miserable?
I hope that wherever you are, you'll try and make someone's day more pleasant today!
Don Bergquist - 08 July 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK