Friday, 21 January 2011

Walking to work 2 Bicycle man

If you were here for the previous post you will recall we had arrived at the denoument in the tale of the stalker on the walk to work.  Our hero (that is, myself) was being bellowed at from a van on a regular basis. Although I displayed remarkable nonchalance in ignoring this hairy overweight lunatic, it had been going on for eighteen months and had gone past boring.

I had just passed a zebra crossing and was going north up the pavement on the right-hand side of the road with the traffic coming towards me (we're in the UK here). Now you might think the other side of the road would have been better, but the side I was on at least meant that the driver would have to shout across the passenger seat at me instead of directly out of his window. And on this occasion he did have a passenger, for whom I came to have some sympathy.

The road was narrower at the crossing than further up, and not far beyond it a bus lane merged with the centre lane. I spotted the white van just as the passenger wound down the window, presumably under instructions. Van man leant across him, one hand still on the wheel, thus swinging into the bus lane, and began to roar with malevolent glee. Several things then happened at once. Tyres squealed and there was the smell of hot brake pads. There was a taxi, suddenly, on the bus lane, almost between me and the van. There was terror on the face of van man's passenger as he stared at what it meant to become a nasty sandwich filling. There was also a bang and a tooth-curling screech of metal on metal. Van man and I found ourselves eye to bulging eye across the chaos for a moment, before he accelerated away.

About ten minutes later, having perhaps enough brain to realise I had his registration number by heart, van man drove slowly back. He pulled up opposite the taxi where I too now sat in the cab. The taxi driver and I turned our heads. It was cinematic. It was bliss. Van man did a futile pantomime at the wheel of grief and supplication specially for me. The taxi driver and I got out of the cab -  he to cross the road, I to carry on exultant up the pavement.

The police were very pleased to get such a detailed report. The taxi driver and his insurers were similarly grateful. I have no idea what van man's passenger said. I have no idea what the court said. But I know that at the very least van man's insurance premium will still be stinging.

You could see karma in it all, you could just see being an arse. I promised you would meet bicycle man, though, the opposite of van man. There he goes! Hello bicycle man. Come back soon.

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