“I’m in a car! I rule! You’re not! You suck!”

Garrison Ebie

I was riding my bike. This is nothing new. When weather allows it, Kent is small enough to pedal around just about anywhere. After all, my car happens to be a 3,000 pound SUV with awful gas mileage, and I’ve also been relatively inactive all winter and need to make up for it.ÿ

But back to my story. Like I said, I was riding my bike. I’m not really a cycling enthusiast. I ride my bike with a pair of flip flops. Meanwhile, there are no extravagant accessories on my bike like flashing lights, reflectors, working gears or even a decent paint job. It’s a 30-year-old road bike that I found in someone’s garage and paid $10 for. It works though, and I’m really happy about that.ÿ

And I was riding it, right? This was while cruising down the sidewalk on Main Street across from campus. I ride on the sidewalk sometimes because I don’t trust the typical motor vehicle operator. By law, you’re supposed to ride a bicycle in the street, but I think I’d rather break the law than risk getting slammed by Tina Texter while she’s more occupied with her Blackberry than her Ford Excursion barreling down the road. Besides, dodging pedestrians is really fun.

I was still riding my bike while a van load of children began waving at me out the window. What is it with kids waving at strangers? Why can’t everyone stay that nice for the rest of their lives? Anyway, I waved back and pretended to smile.

The Main Street entrance to Circle K on a busy day is a pretty dangerous spot unless you’re armed with a few thousand pounds of aluminum and steel surrounding you in a soft cushioned chair. I was right about there, taking my good old time peddling across, when I heard the following come from an angry male voice in a small compact car.ÿ

“You better get out of my way, ass-wipe!”ÿ

Wow. An ass-wipe, this is a new one. I’ve been called a variety of names while riding around town, but I’ve never been called an ass-wipe. How does one even become such a thing?

I figured he said this because I was going slow. Real slow. People might have been walking faster for all I know. I wasn’t in much of a hurry.

“Yes,” I thought. “I better get out of the way.” But for some reason, I didn’t. I stopped altogether and stood right in front of his car. I said a few things, too, which I shouldn’t mention here. But eventually the driver and I parted ways at the Circle K and went on with our lives. I wanted to get home, and he probably wanted a Red Bull.

Anyone who rides a bike probably has a couple angry bike stories to share. Kent seems to have its fair share of angry young men who find it hilarious to yell at anything out of the ordinary they see from the car window. Kid on a skateboard? Get ’em. Old man with a beard? Get ’em. Skinny white guy on a bike? Get ’em.

It’s as if they say “I’m in a car! I rule! You’re not! You suck!”

But no. They do not rule. There is nothing that rules about acting like a pretentious fool. Even if this aggravation occurs for a brief second while the perpetrated will never find out who did it, yelling at strangers is still a pretty stupid thing to do. Inside a car, people are protected by four doors and about 30 extra miles per hour. This is nothing more than shedding built-up testosterone and getting away with it.ÿ

My main problem with drive-by insults is the fact that no one would ever yell random gibberish to a stranger’s face just for a cheap laugh. There’s a good chance of a broken nose after acting like that. Besides, some of these words would probably hurt a regular person’s feelings. The last thing a retired old man wants to hear while standing at the mailbox on a bad day is someone screaming, “You’re gonna die, old man!” at the top of his lungs.ÿ

While riding around, minding my own business, sometimes I get called names that I can’t publish here. A few of those are really creative. I wish I could come up with stuff like that. But still, I’m just on a bike. What gives, people? Why do people in cars hate me so much?

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].