Day’s Verse:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

Gears Within GearsPet peeves:
Cars that pass me too closely when I have no shoulder to ride in.

Often it’s the really big semi trucks that do this, and their passage shakes me up; every time I feel I’ll be knocked aside like a leaf, totally unnoticed. Frankly, I feel quite frightened to be passed when I could reach out and touch the passing vehicle. (Similar, but more demoralizing, is being passed by other bicyclists. I work hard, but I know my limitations; I ride to commute, not to race, but it still depresses me to have a brightly-colored, narrow-wheeled rider zip by me like riding in that spot is easy. Which it probably is for them.)

Cars that pass too far away.

I know this sounds crazy, like why should I care if the car chooses to drive totally in the oncoming traffic lane to avoid me? But for some reason it irks me, because while I like to have some space, I hardly take up an entire lane. I’m not a wide load, here, people! Vehicles from Jettas on up do this, although it seems SUVs and pickup trucks tend more towards this behavior, possibly because the drivers have a harder time with their car-proprioception.

Cars that honk to let me know they’re passing.

It doesn’t help, and it scares me even more than being passed within a hair’s-breadth. Do NOT honk unless I’ve done something wrong! And even then it doesn’t really help anything. (A semi truck did this once while passing extremely close to me. Yikes!)

No shoulder on major roads like Route 85.

With all that traffic, you’d think there would be space for bicyclists or a broken down car. But the shoulder tends to hug the side of the road or sidewalk, leaving me with little recompense but to ride in the road itself. (Sidewalks are too bumpy to get any decent speed going.)

Potholes, cracks in the road, and storm drains with steep dips.

All of these make the ride a little harder, slower, and unncessarily painful, as well as sometimes forcing me to cycle farther away from the side of the road than I would like. Also they tend to accumulate water when it rains, which cars often splash on me.

Stoplights on uphills or downhills (more generally, momentum-robbers).

The two times you really need momentum, and sometimes a red light shoots that MxV down to zero in a moment. Riding downhill I particularly begrudge having to slow for anything, since I put so much work into gathering up some good speed at those points. Also related to this are drivers who forget to look for bicyclists. They will occasionally turn in front of me (or, in one memorable case, back out of a driveway almost into me), forcing me to brake abruptly.

Not cycling related, two spaces before the beginning of a new sentence.

All the reports we format come in templates with two spaces, and it can’t be changed because the two spaces are part of a larger, company-wide template. But accoring to Uncle Gerard, an editor and my source for all writing-related minutiae like this, single spaces between each sentence has been the standard for computer writing for the last 25 years. Why put two spaces where one will do? Again, not extremely logical, but I have always only put one space, and now I have to constantly look at reports where two spaces smirk at me from the beginning of every sentence.

OK, I feel much better now. Life actually has settled into a fairly smooth rhythm with its shares of ups and downs that average out to a happy, contented mean.

7 thoughts on “In Which I Complain About Minor Annoyances

  1. i was going to write something about double spaces, but then i doubted my grammar knowledge and decided not to say anything.

    i am totally paranoid about hitting a pedestrian with my car. its one of those situations i flesh out in my head sometimes, living with the guilt forever, trying to get their family to forgive me, etc. i totally am the swerver. I also like when people swerve for me if i am walking in the shoulder.

  2. We were just saying last night how dangerous it is to ride a bike in/near traffic. Please be super cautious!

    Also, as a person who learned to type on a typewriter, I will never be able to do anything but put two spaces between sentences. I didn’t even know that on computers it was OK to do otherwise.

  3. Wow! Two spaces in front of each sentence. I would really need to get used to such an idea. However, when it comes to making that paper just a little bit longer, the two spaces – combined with short sentences, dashes, and ellipses – could be just the miracle a college student might need. Go space out!

  4. No! Don’t space out! That’s the whole POINT! I even emailed my co-workers that it was standard to do one space, and they actually said, “Thanks, we’ll definitely stick with two spaces from now on.” Argh!

    (See, I even ended all my sentences with exclamation points, which shows how vehement I am about this. Seriously.)

  5. Ah, but according to my summer coworker and professional (bus) driver Mike, bikers commit more traffic infractions than drivers!

    According to me, drivers are more easily annoyed by, and take more notice of, bikers than cars, whether they are doing anything wrong or not.

  6. I totally agree that bikers commit lots of traffic infractions — I know I do. I’ll ride through a stale yellow or even red light if I think I’ll make it; I don’t stop for stop signs; I rarely signal; I will weave through parked cars to get to the front of the line on occasion. Speed limits I pretty much always follow, given my slow average speed, but under the right circumstances I have broken a 25-mph speed limit.

    My whole goal is to conserve momentum. Period. If that means bending the rules I’d follow as a driver, then so be it.

  7. Katie, that is *exactly* my biking philosophy too. I’m a pedestrian or a vehicle, whenever I want to be, whenever it serves my interests. I detest needing to slow down or stop; conserving momentum, like you say.

    However, I have used 2 spaces before a sentence, when typing, since the very first time I ever typed a document, in like 8th grade on our computer PCs. And I see it very commonly. I’m willing to believe that there is an entirely separate faction that has been just as ingrained to use 1 space and believes that they are also the de facto standard. But I don’t think they are any more right than we!

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