Friday, October 8, 2010

Lions and Teenagers, Oh my!

Last Friday as I biked back from CCC, I had just crossed Rt. 99E and started on River Road. There's generally junk in the bike lane there, and cars coming from the right. A big Suburban pulled up next to me, right next to me, crowding me, and someone in the front passenger window yelled, "Hey!" just to see me jump. I did. It took me awhile to find the right fingers to flip the vehicle off because I'm not used to flipping people off, and so, I chuckled a little. I saw the Suburban up ahead make a left turn, and I wondered if that street, into a little housing development, curved back to River Road. Sure enough, the car came back.

They were going to be behind me again, and I didn't want that to happen. So, I swerved my bike back and pulled in front of them as they waited at the stop. I had no idea what I was going to do or say, but I was plenty mad. There were 5 teenage boys in the car.

"What do you think you're doing?" I said to the driver.
"What do you mean?" he said back.
"Do you like to pick on bicylists?" I was pretty much out of breath.
"What do you mean?" he repeated. The other boys were really uncomfortable. "Lady," he said, "you're weird."
Not able to think too clearly, I said, "No, you're weird for picking on cyclists. It's hard enough to be out here without having to deal with people like you."
"You're really weird." And I thought that if "weird" was the worst thing he could call me, then I was dealing with basically good young guys.
"Just be nice," I said and looked in the eyes of each of the boys.

I rode away, and they waited until I had turned before they kept going. They were going a different direction, luckily.
It took me miles before the adrenaline worked its way through my limbs. I kept thinking, "That was really stupid. You could have gotten hurt!" And I thought, "Is this what happens after you're 50? You think you can tell off younger people for their misbehavior?" Oh no!

That night I mirrored this experience in my dream:
My high school, which included boys, unlike my real high school, went on a field trip somewhere in the country. We played a game of Tag, sort of, but the people who were "it" were on horseback (notice the parallel incongruity of size). I could hear them coming, and so, I hid behind an enormous tree. I just walked on the root system and moved around the trunk so that they wouldn't see me.

When more of them came (notice the incongruity in number), I knew I had to make a break for it, to another tree. But that tree was fairly far away, across a savanna (savanna?). So, I sprinted, and as I ran, I saw that I was passing a male lion with three female lions. I saw that the male lion spotted me (Funny the way I don't blend in...). He came charging after me. I knew that I had to stand my ground, so I stopped and faced his charge. I knew I could not look in his eyes, and so, I kept my eyes down and averted. I could smell his dust, the smell of dry grass and something slightly sweet/sour. He came right up to me, sniffed me, then flopped on his back, just like our big dog, Mia. He spread his legs, and showed me his belly to rub. I didn't know if it was a good idea to rub a lion's belly.

Moral? Boys like to challenge, but truly, many of them are cubs.

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