Monday, March 12, 2007

Pickup driver = Neanderthal?

It's totally unfair to stereotype, but we all tend to do it. Pre-judging people based on their appearance or behavior. In this case, I'm talking about stereotyping vehicle drivers.

I tend to stereotype people in pickup trucks as idiot rednecks. More often than not, when I have a negative encounter with a motorist, it's some yahoo in a pickup truck.

Here are some of my most-likely-false assumptions:
- Pickup people can't communicate in strung-together sentences; they use grunts and hollers instead (like when they're dealing with their pigs 'n chickens and such).
- Pickup people are ignorant of the rules of the road… both the legal rules and the rules of common courtesy.
- Pickup people think they own the road. And the bigger, and noisier, and shinier their pickup is, the more ownership they claim.

I was bicycling up Americana Boulevard one day, and some ol' boy in his pickup truck drove up next to me, slowed to match my speed and rolled down the window on the passenger side. Then he began to lecture me about bicycling. I believe it was mostly how I was spoze to be on the sidewalk. (Which immediately proves that he's clueless about the laws and the dynamics of bicycling… and this from a guy who probably hasn't sat on a bicycle for at least 25 years.)

On Saturday, I had a brief encounter with some young Neanderthals-in-training.

I was bicycling on Gowen Road, out behind the airport. Beautiful day, ideal conditions. (It's a fine place to ride, particularly on weekends, because the road is wide and traffic is light.)

Suddenly… I was pelted with dried corn! By some late-teen, early-20s –types… in a pickup truck (duh!). Evidently the bumpkin in the passenger-seat threw a handful of corn at me as they approached me from behind. Which totally surprised me… it's been more than 20 years since somebody last threw something at me as I rode a bicycle. (Orange - and they missed.)

Now, it didn't hurt. (It could have been way worse – you occasionally hear a horror story about juvenile delinquents randomly shooting strangers with paintballs and the like.)

As they drove on, they looked back at me over their shoulders with stupid grins – I'm sure they were expecting me to flip 'em the bird. Huh-huh… huh-huh-huh…

I didn't oblige. I just rode on.

I'm assuming it was pig-food they threw at me, since they looked like and behaved like a bunch of trailer-trash pickup-driving pig farmers.

I resent JERKS ON BICYCLES (those who don't obey traffic laws either due to ignorance or arrogance) because motorists tend to see all cyclists as ignorant, arrogant jerks. And I desire in the worst way to get along with motorists – their vehicles are bigger than mine.

Normal people who choose to drive pickups should resent the fact that so many idiots also choose pickup trucks.

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