Friday, June 06, 2008

Oppressed by the English. Again.

I'd like to think that I don't have many prejudices, but one that I definitely can't deny is a kind of intense visceral dislike for the English. It might have something to do with the fact that my ancestry is 45 percent Scottish and 45 percent Irish.

Now of course this doesn't really apply to most actual English people that I have met or otherwise communicated with. I mean come on, Stephen Rees is originally from England!

In fact some of my relatives were born in, and continue to live in England. The fact that I am able to admit that publicly shows you how much progress I have made in trying to overcome this prejudice over the years.

There is also a pretty big list of English people that I have never met but who I like and have respect for. This list includes but is by no means limited to Billy Bragg, R.J. Mitchell, and of course Archie Leach.

This morning on the way to work, riding along a part of Nanaimo street that is traffic-calmed and designated as a first-class bicycle route, I was passed quite closely by a white truck which then slowed down, almost to a complete stop, before continuing again. At the time I thought the driver was considering turning, but subsequent events lead me to believe that in fact the driver was doing it to send me a message, or something.

Of course one block later we're all lined up behind a red light. So I pull up on the driver's side and wave through the window. He immediately rolls it down and says You should watch where you're riding in the road, mate, you're liable to get killed, innit. Yeah, an Englishman.

It occurred to me that this might be some kind of threat. But you know how it is; it's hard to tell with these marble-mouthed English d**chebags. He adds You ought to have some reflectors or sumfin, innit. Which is funny because my bicycle is fairly plastered with reflective tape. I'm borderline Fred, by some definitions.

So I yelled FREEEEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOMM! and gave him a nice solid head-butt before riding away.

No, actually I didn't do that. After the truck in front of him turned right-on-red, I moved to the front of the line and waited for a chance to cross. This was a pedestrian/cyclist controlled intersection, so I could have moved over and pressed the magic button. But that would have given this ar**hole a chance to turn right (he actually had his turn signal activated!). Instead I just waited. And waited. And waited. It's a pretty busy street, two lanes in each direction.

What do you think this guy in the truck did? Did he honk at me? Did he get out of his truck and go over and press the magic pedestrian/cyclist button? Did he get out of his truck and physically confront me?

No. He did none of those things. Although every time I inched my bicycle forward a little bit, I would hear his mighty engine roar as he gunned it to follow me forward. So every 10 seconds I would move forward another inch just to hear him gun his engine. It was pretty fun. I looked back at him once and pointed at him, then made the jerk off motion. I know: brilliant, clever, just fantastically witty in every way. I did this twice because I wanted to make sure he understood me. I'm not sure if he did.

Yes, my commute this morning was pretty good. I managed to strike another blow in the historic battles against English and motorist oppression.


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