See if you can identify with this.
At its very best, riding with motor-vehicle traffic is like choreography as I blend beautifully with the motorists. I'm a regular Fred Astaire on 2 wheels!
I'm not surprising anybody, and nobody's surprising me.
If I'm riding defensively, I'm aware of my surroundings - all 360 degrees - and of any potential hazards that I may be getting closer to. Obviously, I deal with the most-nearby stuff primarily, while maintaining that longer-distance awareness.
I do not like to be suddenly surprised! But if I see a car approaching from the side, or even the other direction, who will be legally required to stop or yield, defensive riding dictates that I must assume the car might go blasting on through. My trajectory must not be in its path at the critical time.
Even more critically, I do not like to suprise motorists! (At least those who are paying attention. Some are surprised by anything outside of their phone conversation or that Starbucks double-latte they're juggling.)
I adjust my speed so that I can keep rolling wherever and whenever possible. (People who haven't ridden a bike in years have perhaps forgotten... it takes a lot more energy to accelerate, than to maintain speed. If they remembered, they wouldn't gripe so much about Idaho's awesome bike-stop-sign law!)
If the folks I'm sharing the road with would only do the predictable thing, every time, my ride would be pure graceful bliss.
Unfortunately, one price I pay on account of the high number of irresponsible clumsy doofuses-on-bikes is... some concerned motorists treat me like one of those doofuses!
For example... I'll be approaching a 4-way stop. A car is approaching from the side. I slow down, so that the car can stop, and then proceed, before I arrive at the intersection. The choreography calls for me to roll on through, when the car is finished at the intersection. But the concerned motorist, not knowing my intentions (expecting me to "blow through" that stop sign), comes to a complete stop, and then waits to see what I'm going to do, before proceeding. At that point, I must stop... because it's a 4-way stop and I don't know what the motorist is going to do, either.
Dance interrupted! Momentum lost!
At that point, the motorist sometimes waves me on through. Very polite, but it doesn't really matter much.
Just do the predictable thing!
(And if one of those irresponsible clumsy bike-doofuses reads this and recognizes himself - unlikely - you be a little more predictable too, huh?)
A side note: I occasionally put the earplugs in, so I can enjoy some righteous tunes while I'm riding. But it always makes me very uncomfortable, at least in urban traffic settings. My sense of hearing is just one more valuable tool that I can use for that 360-degree awareness, and I don't like to surrender it. And I feel a sense of dismay at the large number of cyclists these days who feel they don't need to hear their surroundings. (Of course, in most instances, they're also the "doofuses.")