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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sidewalk Superhero

   Sometimes I wish I was a superhero. Not the real kind of course, with all the overwhelming sense of responsibility and angst, but the intermittent kind that's oddly specific and fits in easily with my schedule. I could come over all stealthy and incognito, and put a hurt on the rude, the inconsiderate, and maybe those with consistently bad grammar. You know what I mean; I could figuratively 'take a chunk' out of those who irritate me. Or hey, those who irritate you! I suppose that's really what the whole 'superhero' gig is about; assisting the underdog. I don't generally consider myself an underdog, but every once in awhile something happens that leaves me feeling...ineffective. Yesterday was one of those days when I felt simultaneously sorry and grateful that I don't walk with a baseball bat. Sorry, because I had no defense. Grateful because I would have used it and bought myself a world of problems. But if I was a superhero....

   Maybe if I was a superhero I could have legally and effectively wielded my 'Shillelagh of Doom' and it would have just been like, part of my superhero provisions. Totally acceptable. Let me explain: Yesterday I was walking my dog at my usual time down my usual sidewalk. Suddenly, I felt something hit the back of my leg and my right butt-cheek, and just like that I found myself down on the ground wondering what the hell happened. Poor Murphy, unaccustomed to seeing me on the ground, just jumped around and looked at me. I could almost hear him thinking anxiously "...but I never learned about what to do when this happens..." I looked up and saw the a**hole who just hit me with his bike continuing on down the sidewalk like he was the only one who mattered or existed. Emphasis here on sideWALK. I live in a very bike-friendly community, so a bike-lane was provided about ten feet to my left. Not only provided, but clearly marked with big pictures of bicycles and signs with arrows. You would have to be blind or very, very stupid to miss the bike lanes. Perhaps folks in either of those categories should avoid cycling, anyway. I suspect they do. So this means that A**hole-on-a-bike is just a jerk, and therefor has no excuse. Who better to suffer the wrath of my Shillelagh of Doom? I'm going to pause a moment here to fantasize about it...

   I could have said something clever, I suppose. Maybe I could have even played THE card. I could have said something like "Hey, a**hole, way to go! You just ran down a disabled woman and her service dog!" Or anything really. I think all I managed was "Hey!" and I can't even take credit for it. It was kind of surprised out of me. I've learned (sadly enough) that I don't do my bestest, most cleverest thinking just after being knocked off my feet. I shouldn't know that perhaps, but there it is. Even so, I would think that anyone with half a brain or who isn't a psychopath should have felt something about running down a pedestrian. Not this most special of cyclists. He just went on his way unencumbered and unconcerned by such minor things as other people. The saddest part? This is the second time I've been knocked over by a cyclist coming silently up behind me. On the sideWALK.

   And this is where the superhero fantasy comes into play. What if there was a real and immediate consequence for this behavior? And I don't just mean the crappy behavior affecting me; I have no doubt that the guys that ran me down have done it before. I don't want to wait for Karma to fix it, I want to BE Karma. Enter: Karma Girl (insert dramatic, musical fanfare here). The scariest part wouldn't be the masked, Weeble-shaped woman in brightly-colored Spandex (perhaps something in a lovely green? It would go so well with my coloring...) coming out of nowhere either, it would be the gleeful giggle just before the mighty thunk that finds the unwitting a**hole on the same ground he has knocked other people into. And not just once. EVERY time, there Karma Girl would be to dole out justice with her world-famous Shillelagh of Doom. She will be the superhero of the sidewalk, protecting pedestrians everywhere from rude cyclists and traffic that won't stop at the crosswalks (okay, that last could be tricky but I'll work it out). Then she slinks off mysteriously, back into the obscurity of her 'real' life as an overweight, middle-aged woman who spends most of her time at her keyboard. Ah...the satisfaction it would bring!

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