Do you believe in luck? Fate? Coincidence? Are there angels looking out for you?
Sometimes I wonder.
Yesterday evening after dinner, I set out on the Tiger in the last of the day’s golden light. My route took me down Nicolls Road which is a 4 lane highway with an exit that merges on to the Long Island Expressway – a big 8 laner.
Exiting Nicolls onto the LIE eastbound involves a long sweeping ramp which would be lots of fun if the end of it didn’t mean exchanging places with fast-moving traffic that has just exited the LIE which now has to shlamonzeebrakes and move right to take the Nicolls ramp north.
While on the LIE east ramp, I was the third vehicle in the line moving towards the service road. I could see in the distance that there were no cars to alternate with at the merge. As I came through the turn, straightened my bike up, I put my left signal on, left hand out, one eye on the two cars in front of me – waiting for them to make their move, and then a quick glance in my mirror.
That quick look in the mirror revealed a car coming hot and heavy off of the LIE towards us. Within a matter of seconds, their grill was next to my saddlebag in the next lane and they stayed right there.
My first thought? “ASSHOLE!”
If they were going to take the exit – given the traffic flow and placement in the lane – their natural place to merge was behind me. If they were going to continue straight – they should’ve kept going right by. Instead? They were blocking me out.
Though the exchange only lasted about 3 seconds, my blood pressure rose in the way it does when someone in traffic pisses you off. You know how it is. Someone has WRONGED YOU! You swirl in the downward spiral of all-consuming righteous indignation. What the fuckity fuck is wrong with you, you fuckin’ fuck?!? (It’s not just me is it?)
And then, just like that… they dropped back and opened the lane clear for me to move left.
“WHAT… THE HELL?!”
In the time that it took me to look away from my mirror, process that I was now safe to merge left and began the motion – the spare tire mounted underneath the van two cars ahead of me released and fell onto the roadway. When the tire hit the road it shot left across the lane like a 50lb. hockey puck. The car directly in front of me missed hitting it as did I.
As I collected my thoughts it became clear to me that if that person hadn’t zipped up and boxed me out, I might’ve been taken out by that tire. It was like… they saved me.
A wash of guilt came over me. I need to get a hold of myself. So someone didn’t wait their turn? I need to take a deep breath and just let it go.