Like usual it was a speedy decent down Cambie Hill to my work. True, it's getting into the nasty months of Vancouver life, it was pouring rain, and cold enough to warrant the use of my helmet toque. Coming into the home stretch down Columbia I was about to enter the intersection at West 4th, when I could sense the idiot in a large black Chevy pick up was rolling through his stop sign. This intersection is notorious for people not stopping, so I was already on the brakes and avoided getting mauled by his ego feeding machine. In usual fashion I mouthed "asshole" to the driver, and for the first time as I rode in front of his vehicle I did the "European Spit" at his hood, well, more like his grill from my view. The "European Spit" is what old Italian men do when they are disgusted at something or someone, it is more a gesture than actually gobbing on something. I did this with out stopping and deaked down the ally that leads to my work. I could hear the squealing of tires, and the loud acceleration of a angry Chevy V8. At first I thought he was on his way, but much to my fright I could hear him coming up the ally behind me. Great, I just enraged some 'roid monkey. What was he going to do? Door me? Yell at me? Hit me with his mirror. I slowed down as I approached a dumpster that would have sandwiched me and his truck. He pulled up to me as expected and proceeded to spit on me, yell something and drive off. The act of spitting on someone has to be in the top ten most degrading things you can do to a human. I took a mental note of his license plate and turned the corner to arrive at work.
As I stood in the washroom wiping spit off my helmet and toque, I started to think about my actions. What the hell was I thinking? I am so critical of people, my government, and the world in general yet my actions to a simple mistake on the road would indicate that I am no better than the people I think are stupid. I was overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, "lead by example" has always been my motto. What example did I set? What other poor cyclist is going to pay for my actions when this guy has another incident on the road? I decided to go out and scout the area for this man's truck.
It was early enough in the morning that he was probably going to work like me. Since the area I work in is all light industry he probably was not going far. I followed the road he was originally going down and within two blocks I found his truck parked outside a local business. The plates matched and I made a note of the business. I called 411 and obtained the number. Upon dialling I reached the receptionist and asked her who was parked in space 15. In under 3 minutes I was talking to the man who spit on me.
"Hello Joe, I'm the guy who spit on your truck and I wanted to apologise for doing that."
"Its ok, I appreciate you calling me"
"Well, I know it was an accident, and I saw that you knew, you even gave me the wave..... I don't know what came over me"
"Yes, I thought it was rude, epically since I gave you the sorry wave. I feel pretty stupid that I chased you down and spit on you"
"Yea, we are adults and should deal with these things better. I didn't want you going back on the road being angry at cyclists. We have to learn to share the road, and this kind of stuff isn't going to help. Again I am sorry, and I hope you have a good day"
"Yes, you too, and I appreciate the call"
What is done is done. I am happy that it didn't escalate any further then it already did. I wonder what his version of the story would be?