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White Male Penance

This is my penance for being a 30 something white male in America who's never been generalized or discriminated against:

I'm riding to work and a truck buzzes me in my lane by barely sticking a tire on the center line to pass me, because there was oncoming traffic. He does this, because he's in a big hurry to get to the next stop sign, which is half a block away. So I (probably stupidly) get into a shouting match with him when I find myself waiting on him at that stop sign.

I try explaining that the law allows him to cross a double yellow to pass a cyclist with enough room, but the way he did it endangered both me and that oncoming traffic.

His response: "Don't tell ME about the law.. YOU CYCLISTS break every law in the book!"

So, because I'm a faceless dude on a bike, I've suddenly been lumped in with every trike riding two year old, trucker cap wearing fixie douche, and 80 year old recumbent rider on the planet. I suddenly represent the entire species, and he has distilled me down to the dumbest fraction of it. It's like me assuming all drivers are drunk, because a small percentage of them are every day. Or that they're all talking on cellphones, all the time.

Being a white male, I have to say I've never really known such negative generalization. I've never been assumed to be a bitch because I'm a woman and I asked for a promotion. I've never been assumed to be a criminal because I chose to drive a car while being black. This guy taught me something today. "You Cyclists".

Now, the thing that makes my irritation at this extra stupid, is I can get off the bike. I'm not a cyclist when I go into work. (just a guy in clicky shoes with a funny pant leg) People who ACTUALLY deal with this every day are stuck in their skins, and their skins (not their choice of transportation) are what people have a problem with.

So, this is how I'm dealing with my anger, writing about it. Don't think ill of me for being such a wiener, or coming to this concept late in the game. I just thought it was an interesting concept, and this took me so long to write that I'm no longer angry. ; )