I had joined The Sweetie for part of his commute the other day. We were taking it easy, heading home on a combo trail/road ride following a passageway through the labyrinth that makes up the Grand Rounds. Work wasn't so bad on a day like that one, regardless of whether one was in a car or on a bicycle. Car windows were down, trail users were out. Everyone was enjoying one of the last days of afternoon sunlight and warmth.
We were on the Minnehaha Trail closing-in on the intersection of the Parkway and Cedar. The light was green for us, and traffic started rolling through. An old VW van in the street next to us was making its way slowly at about the same pace we were going. Sweetie, ahead of me, and I both checked the situation: no blinker, driver looked at us. Sweetie rolled off the trail and into the crosswalk.
At the same time, VW took its right turn into the crosswalk.
I grabbed for my brakes.
Perhaps it was Sweetie's high-vis jersey that caught VW's eye. The driver's face showed its realization at the same time his passenger gasped a breath and grabbed at him. The van braked.
Ohhh Dude. I said it out loud. It wasn't accusatory, wasn't directed to the driver...but I wasn't talking to Sweetie either. The van's windows were open and it was close enough for those inside to hear me. The driver's silent eyes Yeah. Dude. darted from Sweetie to me at the curb.
Who was I talking to? Was it an expression of relief? a prayer? an "oh man, what coulda been"? I grew up in a home where saying G-O-D wasn't appropriate outside of church and prayers. Who then do I exclaim to during tough situations? Who do I talk to under my breath? Whose name do I take in vein when I cuss?
Is DUDE some supreme cyclist who reigns on high? Is it DUDE who watches over us during those near-misses? Is DUDE really G-O-D but in lycra? is the idea of GOD-in-lycra sacrilege? If so, is s/he a dirt-lover or a roadie?
- The Bag does DUDE look like Sheldon Brown and rule from atop a Fizik saddle wielding a scepter of triple-butted steel with a blue Park Tools handle topped off by a Dinotte?