That time I called a guy an idiot

I had a brief encounter with an angry bicyclist yesterday.

I was on my bike with Mellow and Wildling,heading home from Wildling’s preschool. Our journey is mostly residential streets, though we have to cross a couple of non-residential roads, only one of which is busy. At the third street crossing, I waited until it was clear, and then proceeded across. There was a bike coming in the bike lane on that street, but at his rate of speed there was no danger of a collision, or really, even scaring him. I did cross at a bit of an angle to give him plenty of room, but again, we weren’t even anywhere near him and there was plenty of time and space to cross.

But evidently he disagreed with my assessment of the situation, because he began yelling at me. I first just yelled back that I had seen him and that’s why I avoided him, but he responded rudely and I shouted “Well, that’s because you’re an idiot!”

And then I heard a little voice from the back of my bike: “Mama, you’re not supposed to call someone an idiot. That’s not very nice.”

Wildling was right, and I told her that. I shouldn’t have called that man a name. I shouldn’t have said anything to him at all.

Our children are always watching us, and they learn their behavior from us. I don’t want to teach my daughters about road rage, or about insulting strangers, or about being angry over stupid things. Who cares what that guy said to me? It was meaningless anyway. I’ll never see him again, or, if I do, I won’t recognize him. I don’t care about his opinion of me.

My goal now, next time I get angry at someone, next time someone yells something rude to me, I’m going to respond positively. I’m going to shout “Have a great day!” or whatever kind of positive comment that I can say without sounding sarcastic. I’m not going to teach my daughters to insult strangers.

EDIT: On the way to pick up Wildling, some guy decided to drive into the bike lane and almost hit us, so I called him an asshole. I’m a work-in-progress.


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