Things are going well.
Things are going well.
Thanks for paying for your $11 cash call in nickels and dimes.
So a few months ago I was dropping a package at 116 Lisgar and coming out of the building I noticed a cop parked on the other side of the street. It was a one way side street that intersects with a major street, Elgin. So we both hit the road and pull out at the same time, him on the right side of the street and me on the left. We’re beside each other and we come up to Elgin with a green light. I’m turning left so I signal and glance over at the cop; he’s got no signal lights on so I assume he’s going straight. I pull up and start to make my turn just before he decides to turn left too. He rails on the horn just as he’s about to hit me and then flashes the sirens. I pull over and get myself onto the sidewalk. He stops in front of me and immediately gets out of his car. I can see the beads of sweat and the veins almost bursting on his bald forehead. He had shitty sports sunglasses on, but whipped them off as he walked up to me.
“Sorry sir, you didn’t signal so I thought you were going straight,” I said, trying to start this out as respectfully as I could.
“Don’t give me that bullshit! I should arrest you and take your fucking bike away. You cyclists think you own the road!” He got right up in my face as he said it. I could count the hairs of his goatee, he was so close.
“As I said, you didn’t signal, so I didn’t know where you were going!”
“Fuck off, I’m writing you a ticket for dangerous operation of a vehicle,” he shouted as he turned around to get back in his car.
“Yeah, and I’m going to fucking fight it!” I shouted back.
He got back into his car started writing up the ticket, and then rolled down his window to ask for my ID. I took it out and threw it at him.
“Hey! Don’t throw your ID at me! Do you want to make this easier or harder? Do you read the papers? Do you know why everyone hates you guys? It’s because you think you own the road. We should take all of your bikes away!”
“Do you know why everyone hates cops? Because of shit like this. If you would have just signaled your fucking turn, sir, then none of this shit would have happened!” I had my head in his window, shouting back at him. By now a small crowd had gathered around us, watching us yell and swear at each other.
He would roll down his window occasionally to ask me my address and when I would answer he would roll up his window immediately after. After a few minutes, he gave me my ID back.
“Is THIS what you want to do with your life? Is THIS your dream job?” he said with a heavy patronizing tone.
“Yeah, it is. At least I’m not an asshole cop who does a pretty good job at perpetuating the myth,” I said, putting my ID away. And with that, he rolled up his window and drove off, without giving me a ticket. I wanted to get his badge number to report him, but he sped off. So I chased him down the street, when I would wave him down, he’d give me the finger. Eventually, I caught up to him at a red light. I knocked on his window, he rolled it down.
“Don’t touch my fucking car!”
“what’s your badge number?”
“It’s on my car.”
“That’s fine, use your mouth and tell me it now.”
He told me it and sped off. I never got a ticket.
inevitably, that’s a question that comes up every time i meet another bike messenger. and it’s always measured in the amount of winters. while my time on the road has only been about six months, i always get kudos for starting in january. like a former messenger in this city told me, “when i was in new york doing this, i told them all, you’re always going to be a rookie until you experience winter in Canada.”
a shot of the start of my work day early january 2011
as long as you prove that you’re not a fairweather messenger, they’re pretty warm to newcomers. the friendliness could also be if there’s new blood on the road, then the industry’s slow death might be slightly slower than they thought. regardless, there’s a dude who’s’ nickname is “alice” and you could probably guess why.
anyway, with this blog i hope to write a bit about the politics of cycling, some stories about some messengers i know and maybe tell a tall tale about getting hit by an SUV or getting into a fight with an old man.