Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They finally beat me...

...after so long, and so much effort, they finally beat me. the conscientious courier died today. We hope to see him back in the New Year.

After so many years on the bike I have learned to keep myself calm; kinda hare and the tortoise stuff. Some couriers dash around as if their lives depended on the job, while at the same time putting their lives at risk. I used to be like that, but after a few years at it my attitude changed. 2 euro really isn't worth it any more...

I've always tried to treat other road users like I wanted to be treated. I don't break the lights at dodgy junctions. I always give pedestrians the right of way when I'm breaking a safe junction. I indicate when I'm going to turn in front of a car. Generally I try to be as invisible as possible during the day. I may do a few less jobs than some other people, but i go home feeling like I haven't added to the bad reputation we already have.

But today I had enough. It's taken a few days, but finally I broke.

It began last week when I noticed I was screaming the word 'cunt' at the top of my lungs far more frequently than I normally would, in fact far more than i think I ever have in my life! This came from numerous near misses from non-looking pedestrians, door-openings and 2 articulated lorries that didn't think i was traffic and turned at full speed in front of me. The thing that draws all these incidents together is that I had the right of way on all occassions, and the offenders were genuinely confused as to why I was getting upset.

So it continued through Thursday and Friday. And on Friday we forget everything. We have a few beers and laugh it all off. Sure they're the stories of the week. The near misses and close calls. But I'm sick of them.

Sunday afternoon I was going to the cinema when a 'dude' stepped into the bike lane and knocked me into a car. My thigh took the wing mirror of the car. Adrenaline pumping, I leapt from the ground and confronted the guy, to be shouted down with 'that was your fault, that was your fault'. I tried to understand how it was my fault that he stepped from the path into the bike lane knoocking me off my bike, but really couldn't see his point of view. With this in mind I told him and the driver to stay put whie I phoned the police, as I wanted this prick to pay for the guys wingmirror. As soon as I started dialling, the asshole pedestrian and the driver both took off like wanted criminals! (So I went to see the Golden Compass anyway and was pretty disappointed, it was way too rushed). When I got out of the cinema I could barely bend my leg or ride home and subsuquently had to take 2 of the busiest days of the year off work to let it heal.

Today... well nothing in particular today, but the usual catalogue that the conscientious courier goes through. Door-openings, cut-offs, people on phones... it goes on and on.

Finally after lunch i couldn't take it any more, I decided that they had won. No matter how hard I've tried, I'm always wrong. Nobody notices the 100 times a day I stop to let people pass, swerve out of the way of their door, slow down to let them cross, they only notice that I'm in their way, that I'm holding them up, that I shouldn't be there.

I'm used to being treated like shit as a courier, like I don't exist, like I'm invisble to receptionists, drivers and pedestrians alike, but somehow Christmas takes the biscuit and this year they've finally managed to grind me down.

So this afternoon I became what they wanted me to be, what they expected me to be. Fuck them. The conscientious courier died. I didn't wait for pedestrians, I cut in front of cars and busses, I broke dangerous intersections, and I was angry. They'd won, they'd made me what I'd tried so hard not be; "that asshole courier with no respect''. And guess what? It wasn't fun. I finished work with a grimace and a weight on my shoulders. I don't like this person and I don't want to be this person.

The only thing I can say for sure is that this is a christmas courier. A 'Bad Santa' kind of courier. I know he'll go away in the New Year and I'll be glad to see the back of him. but right now I don't know what else to do, he seems to be the only way of getting through this mess we call Christmas.

So beware, the conscientious courier has gone away now, and won't be back for a while. Right now I'm just another asshole.

Merry Christmas.


Buckles said...

I might just as well have written this post; it precisely mirrors my feelings. I used to stop at every red light until it turned green, avoid going down one way streets, etc. But I just don't care anymore. My conscience hasn't quite died, but, I am less bothered than I used to be. Everyone makes mistakes but when people are clearly being negligent and careless, I couldn't give a fuck about them or what they think about me. As long as I don't risk hurting anyone or hurting myself then I'll ride as I please...

não cidadão said...

I share your feelings ... sometimes we have to play the game and be part of that madness, but we can't forget what we realy are!
In São Paulo, Brasil, we even have bike lanes, and the "car society" still make the rules.
But people like you are making the diference, the velorution are coming, nice ande easy!
Stay cool!