Really!?!

Sometimes drivers completely baffle me. Case in point from this morning’s commute…

Asshole? Really!?!

I stopped behind three cars waiting for a red light. When the light turned green, we each went through in turn, me last. Meanwhile, a driver from the other direction was waiting to turn left. After I passed and as he turned, he called out, “Asshole,” through an open window.

Really!?! Huh? I looked around either for commiseration or to see if there was someone else he could have been talking to. I was alone out there. So I continued to repeat in my head, “Really!?!” in a Seth & Amy SNL voice the rest of the way to work.

Baffling. Not only did I do absolutely nothing wrong, but I am obviously a woman, in a skirt with long hair and a pink helmet. Since when do men go around calling women assholes? Really!?!

gif

*Photo from last year, but setting and outfit very similar to today’s.

  • http://my2010ishere.blogspot.com Amanda Z from NYC

    That SUX! What a @#$%^*&*! Hee hee. Jerk.

  • http://www.anaphase.com/blog Annalisa

    That very same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, only the person who called me an asshole wasn’t even waiting to turn left. They were just going straight, so I wasn’t even impeding them in ANY way.

    I’m so sorry that people are jerk-faced jerks.

    Next time, wave and wish them a cheerful “Merry Christmas!” :)

    • http://www.tuttletattle.blogspot.com JTuttle

      I like the Merry Christmas comment. I’ll use that.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I don’t think you should consider having the right of way an impedance.

  • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

    He must have frozen his brain with his window open!
    Drivers can be so entitled some times, and civility is the second casualty of being imprisoned in a metal cage. (empathy is the first).

  • david…no the other one!

    Sorry you have incured the spite of an uneducated jerk. Everyone knows you don’t insult a lady, but more inportantly dick’s are in front, assholes come from behind.
    Since you are clearly a Lady, and were statedly in front, the appropriate responce would have been “Don’t be a d**k!”, since you are a lady you could have said, Have a nice day, bye! while waving you hand goodbye.

    • http://carolynsflightoffancy.blogspot.com/ Carolyn I.

      Oh, that’s a good one! :)

  • http://thejulieblog.com Julie Hardee

    SURELY they weren’t speaking to you!

    I’m proud of myself lately at stop lights making eye contact with the car next to me, and when making a left, I gesture that I’m going that way and the driver usually nods in acceptance and they usually wave me ahead.

    • Dick

      The eye contact and signaling my intentions, even when not required, seems to work well most of the time in Pekin plus in toss-up situations; wave them to go ahead which never slows me down. I also try to be close behind the car ahead (hit a pickup once while tailgating :-) ).

  • http://blogan.net Brent Logan

    My guess: he was listening to talk radio and a caller (or the host) said something really stupid. He was checking out your stylish garb as he passed and yelling his commentary at the radio.

    Yeah, I’m looking for the best in the driver, but I can imagine myself doing the same, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, it’s getting close to Christmas.

    I just hope he changed the station.

  • http://thewoollentypist.blogspot.com/ Angi

    Urgh! How rude and unnecessary.
    I guess no matter how hard you/anyone else tries, some people will be forever morons!

    You should come and cycle in London…abuse towards cyclists comes at a constant rate here.

    Sorry you had to go through that though.
    :)

  • http://www.spaceridergal.blogspot.com Space Rider Gal

    I’m sorry, that’s is really really sad.

    • http://girlsandbicycles.blogspot.com Miss Sarah

      Drivers have lost all sense of propriety! You’re such a “lady” :)

      The sucky thing about moments like that are when you’re so shocked that you don’t have time to peel off your mittens to give him the finger.

  • scott t

    but 1) don’t feed the animals by returning their meanness,….

    maybe its all they know.

  • Iyen

    Nothing beats the time some lady at a bus stop called me a faggot for not owning a car and holding up traffic. (I’m not making this up.)

  • Clare

    Since starting to commute by bike this spring, I had an insult yelled at me for the first time a few weeks ago. His choice word was “dickhead”. After the initial shock, upset, anger, incredulity etc subsided I concluded that I’d probably much rather be called a dickhead that some other gender-specific insult, and took some comfort in that it was a sign that we were moving closer to sexual equality, since like you I was also wearing a skirt, pony tail etc… :)

    • dukiebiddle

      Exactly what I was thinking. The guy was totally unnecessarily obnoxious; but female gender specific insults are arguably more abusive and a man that uses them likely needs a good therapist. ‘Asshole,’ on the other hand, is just an uglier way of saying ‘jerk.’

      Riding in the snow always seems to illicit more of these ‘stangers’ greetings’ for me. I’ve been called some nasties from even pedestrians while riding in the snow, as though my action is irresponsible and antisocial and proper society has a duty to give me a piece of its mind.

  • http://www.knittingneels.com Aileen

    I’m sorry you got called that – it’s happened me too – but isn’t it sort of funny?! I mean, a certain level of preparation had to go into shouting that out the window. People who do things like that are always funny to me. Like they live in a completely different world that I have no clue about at all at all lol…

    Anyway glad to see you’re staying warm there and rocking the Basil pannier while you’re at it ;)

  • http://southernspokes.wordpress.com Lynnety

    It was not ok for this asshole to call you an asshole, but for equality’s sake don’t play the gender card. The fact that you were not doing anything worthy of the insult is what makes it wrong.

    There are a lot of jerks out there. Nothing we can do but refuse to sink to their level and be happy. Living well truly is the best revenge.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Given the complexities of the reality of “equality,” I find a blanket phrase like “gender card” problematic. Regardless, my point was that being called an asshole made a strange experience even more strange. Just an odd word choice.

  • philippe

    He was hitting on you and introducing himself.
    The correct answer should have been : Nice to meet you, I’m Dottie.

    • Emma

      Ooh, I’ll have to remember this one. I always think of good comebacks about a day too late!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Ha – love it!

    • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

      oooh, oooh, oooh, that PERFECT- am gonna use that one!

  • NancyB

    Just more evidence of the general coursening of our society. What people used to think in their heads, where it would remain, now just comes flowing out. I’m sure other drivers have been lucky recipients of his name calling too. But Lynetty, I respectfully disagree, gentleman do not call ladies those names whether they deserve the name or not. This man was clearly no gentleman and was unaware he was in the presence of a lady. Have a better day, the sun is shining!

    • dukiebiddle

      Gender specific chivalry is often very infantilizing. I generally disapprove of it. It’s a holdover from a bygone era when women were treated like children. People shouldn’t yell at strangers for nothing, but I don’t think ladies should be insulated from the epithet ‘asshole’ as a general principle. All people? Maybe, but not a specific gender.

      • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

        Is a man telling women what they should and should not be especially insulted by also infantilizing?

        I’m just giving you a hard time for sport, DB. Don’t mind me. :)

        • dukiebiddle

          *shrugs shoulders* Would it? If anyone voiced an opinion that men and women should be treated differently I wouldn’t hesitate to disagree. I’m not sure that holding my tongue due to the gender of those who disagree with me wouldn’t itself be infantilizing.

          • dukiebiddle

            But I think it should be noted that I successfully alienate men and women equally through my contrariness; as does my sister. It was the way we were raised. ;)

  • bongobike

    Something very similar happened to me one time. Only this jerk blew the horn at me and then called me an asshole after I flipped him the bird. There are people out there who really, truly believe bikes don’t belong on the street and are just as baffled at us riding and behaving like vehicles as we are at their stupidity and ignorance. The only solution is more bikes!

  • http://www.tuttletattle.blogspot.com JTuttle

    Sorry that happened to you Dottie. I’ve also encountered some angry people in cars while riding my bike this last couple of weeks, but I attribute it to the fact that holiday stress is mounting every day and the pressure of gift buying in the snow is on. Try to focus on the good folks out there. I’ve also gotten “thumbs up” from a cadre of balaclava clad bicycle cops this week.

  • David

    “Nice to meet you, honeybunny!”

  • http://www.thecitybirdsnest.blogspot.com cb

    ah man that sucks! i hate when drivers are rude for no reason but their own…it is a bad way to start the day! sorry sweetie!

    xo,
    cb

  • Stephen

    Unbelievable. I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine.

    I got called a faggot once in the downtown area by a very chubby man in a minivan who I know is a conservative political operative. (This is the capital of Florida, gov’mnt town, ya know.) I was on my bicycle and of course chased him down. (I don’t do that anymore.) I should have, I could have, but I’ve taken a more Zen approach to such people. They are living in their own little hell of their own making, as we all often do, and the best I can do is let them stew in theirs.

    Just let it slide, Dottie. We all know who the asshole in that situation really was.

    • dukiebiddle

      Once? I get that one once a week. I just assumed all guys did. Now I’m beginning to feel self-conscious. :(

      • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

        Aw, They’re just jealous. :) Mr. Dottie gets that not infrequently when out running. Our neighborhood is known both for gay men (Boystown) and fratty sports fans (Wrigleyville), so it’s not unusual.

        • dukiebiddle

          I was kidding about being self-conscious. :) I do live in what some call a gay village. It’s usually car-fulls of suburban young men driving through on their way to the harbor or a sporting event. Also, I’m a fabulous dresser. ;)

  • neighbourtease

    I’m sorry, Dottie. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it less than you.

  • Treesounds

    That story certainly mad me laugh, thanks. I don’t think asshole is gender specific. Bitch is usually reserved for females. Dicks are always men. But A-holes, well everyone has one, so can be applied to all.

    • dukiebiddle

      There is also the dreaded epithet that is so hateful and horrible that it’s name cannot be spoken, lest God’s record player needle scratches clear across the heavens.

  • Lemony

    I beg your indulgence to post the following ‘lenghty story’ (which I read from somewhere some time ago) for I think it would ‘help’ someone other besides yours truly.

    “How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood?

    Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, for an instant you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly he/she can get back her focus on what’s important.

    Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.

    I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches!

    The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us.My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was friendly. So, I said, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’

    And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’

    Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally.
    You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy you did.

    So this was it: The ‘Law of the Garbage Truck.’ I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore.’ I began to see garbage trucks. I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don’t make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

    One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best.

    Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Teachers and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

    The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you?

    What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

    Here’s my bet. You’ll be happier.

    So … Love the people who treat you right.
    Forget about the ones who don’t.
    Believe that everything happens for a reason.

    If you get a chance, TAKE IT!
    If it changes your life, LET IT!
    Nobody said it would be easy…
    They just promised it would be worth it!”

    Thank you
    lemony

    • http://letsgorideabike.com Trisha

      I guess the taxi driver didn’t have a blog. Otherwise he would have known the ‘Law of the Interwebs’: “express incredulity, blog about it and move on.”

  • Scott

    If you had been in a car, you probably would have taken up the same amount of space and the driver would have had to wait the same amount of time to turn. Why do they lose their cool like that? Maybe it has something to do with being cooped up in that little box all winter, dealing with the maddening traffic.

  • Dwainedibbly

    He wasn’t yelling at you, he was introducing himself!

    Don’t let the clown get to you, Dottie!

  • Marion

    He didn’t call you an asshole, darling. He merely saw himself reflected in his mirror.

  • http://bikesandthecity.blogspot.com/ meligrosa

    as known as the car street-code for “don’t mind me, as I have a small penis”

  • Craig

    I think a “Hey Babe…” would have been more appropriate.

  • http://changeyourliferideabike.blogspot.com Adrienne

    My favorite retort, ever-

    “It takes one to know one!” : )

    • NancyB

      And it’s corollary “I know you are but what am I?”

      • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

        And the classic, “I’m rubber and you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks onto you.”

      • Matthew

        Hah! Same thing happened to me a few months ago!
        Maybe that guy gets around.

  • nowhere

    I once had a shout of “Faggot!” and a thrown beer bottle from a car that turned left in front of me at an intersection when the light went green. The epithet left me thinking “That’s the best you could come up with?”. The beer bottle missed by several feet. The bottle did however hit the unmarked police cruiser that was waiting at the light beside me. Few things have ever so filled my heart with joy as the sight and sound of the lights and siren erupting into life.

    • Marion

      LOL!!!

      Ahhh… Schadenfreude is the chocolate of the soul. (that’s why mine is so full of cavities) :-)

  • welshcyclist

    Sad fact, but the world out there, has it’s fair share of ignoramusi, is that the plural? We all have to put up with them, but it’s particularly mystifying, why any man would call a vision on a bike like yourself, an arsehole. Can I ask a question? The picture shows the ground to be very icy, is the bike fitted with winter/spiked tyres? How good are they? I came off my bike, yet again, yesterday, because of ice where I didn’t see it.

    • Emma

      I also came off my bicycle (twice) in the past couple of days. We’ve had really cold weather here Staffordshire, it was down to -11 c one morning I cycled in to work. Thankfully it’s warmed up now to a toasty 6c but I can’t ride my bike now due to a broken pedal when I fell :(
      welshcyclist – I think I recall seeing studded tyres on Dotties bike. As you can tell I don’t have them myself, but would like to know if they are worth it…

      • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

        Yup, I have studded tires. I haven’t put them on yet this year, but I’ve used them the past two winters. I’ll bring my Oma into the shop this week for the swap, since currently Chicago is having an icy, snowy, windy storm.

        I wrote about the tires here.

  • http://rorowe.posterous.com Robert Rowe

    I had a similar situation just yesterday (I blogged about it), but it was two young women yelling out of their suv.
    I admit, it put me in a bad mood when it shouldn’t have.
    I’m looking forward to my ride today to “get over it”. :)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

      It’s only human to have a negative internal reaction to something like that.

  • http://bicyclingsd.blogspot.com beany

    While riding around with friends this past weekend by the beach, a guy in an SUV passed us giving us ample room then gave us the finger when he crossed over ahead of us. His behaviour confused us so much, we all cracked up laughing at him. And that really upset him.

  • Tacoma

    This kind of incident happens to me once in a while and I am at a complete loss on a response. Discussing with my riding friends helps to work through it but responding is a puzzlement.

    BTW, long time reader, first time poster. How great is it that you reply personally to so many comments? Thanks.

  • Stephen

    Perhaps we all need to be a bit more Buddhist in our reactions to negative people. Personally, I like the idea of laughing at them. It makes you feel better, and it really makes them feel smaller..:-)

  • http://modernspartan.wordpress.com Nadine

    I got honked at for taking the lane tonight…but I bet I had way better time getting where I was going than that grumpy driver did (all slow-like on my ancient velocipede technology).

  • http://overthebarsinmilwaukee.wordpress.com/ Dave Schlabowske

    Sorry people can be jerks. Take a deep cleansing breath, then have a Christmas cookie. His commute was probably slow and frustrating due to the weather while yours was fun (minus the comment).

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QCXr79Rkcw bicyclemamy

    men (and women) who don’t get enough (or good enough)”P” tend to act that way. the following post explains this behavior.

    http://bicyclingsd.blogspot.com/2010/11/male-frustration-sources-revealed.html

  • http://bikesinmotion.blogspot.com/ SM

    I hate mean people!

  • Trekely

    Hey Dot, Most all of your posters are right on by saying ‘smile, ignore it, move on’. Sounds like most have been through the experience. If you look for the jerks, even unconsciously, you will certainly find them, and likewise they can find you (and all of us) but 1) don’t feed the animals by returning their meanness, or -they- win and 2) the nice folks far far far outnumber the jerks. Be confident, be smart, be aware, be savvy but also be as courteous and forgiving as you would be if you too were driving. Someone else’s bad attitude can easily undermine your own, if you -let- it. Sometimes the bad finds us but keep looking for the good- your readers are depending on you! I enjoy your blog/photos regularly from Phoenix, AZ.

  • http://www.oldfool.org oldfool

    He was just identifying himself.

  • nicolas

    that’s just called projecting. bet a shrink would be kept busy for months or years unpacking what that guy must have rolling around in his head.