If you don’t want the answer…

A reasonably active recreational bicyclist, i am quite comfortable with rules on the bike path.  Ride on the right, except to pass.  Signal (ie: say “on your left”) when overtaking others.  Bicyclists yield right of way to all others.

There’s also an informal set of “etiquette” guidelines.  A key frustration occurs when encountering oncoming cyclists – riding two by two.  Etiquette (if not safety) says that given the relatively narrow path, it is wise to drop into single file until clear of oncoming cyclists, and it’s safe to ride two abreast again.  Not everyone does this, and i am often found playing a gentle game of “chicken” with the cyclist failing to yield… moving out toward the center to drive them to do what is right!  Perhaps teaching them a valuable lesson.  Generally, the lesson falls mute to the asphalt, leaving me grumpy and ready to clothesline the next “violator”…

But that’s not my rant du jour…

There is also another informal rule.  When encountering other cyclists, either oncoming or from behind, it’s polite to say “Good Morning”, or “Good Day” or just “Hi”.  As a minimum, a nod of the head….  Yesterday, all was going according to the natiural order until i encountered a goober who asked the dreaded “rhetorical question in passing” – “How are you?”.

Not the fastest cyclist in the world, i was still clipping along at at 15 mph.  Does he really expect me to answer?  Am i supposed to shout a reply?  Share information about my latest gynecological issues?  An update on the “boy toy” situation?”  Let him know about Mom’s bypass surgery?

Feeling a bit crotchety, i was tempted to make a u-turn, wheel along beside him, and start telling him about my week… in graphic detail.  It’s bad enough when you pass one of these goombahs in the hallway at work, but on a BIKE?

Look, Nimrod… unless you are genuinely interested in the answer, don’t ask how i’m doing.  You’re liable to get a lot more information that you want, not to mention a swift sandal up your pasty little nerd-ass…

15 thoughts on “If you don’t want the answer…

  1. Whew! Who pissed in your corn flakes today?

    See, I’m just the opposite. I don’t feel compelled to exchange (brief) pleasantries with other humans just because they’re doing the same activity that I am. Or for any other reason, really.

    Mind you, I don’t like people. Plain, pure and simple. (Yes. My name is Rob. And I’m a curmudgeon.)

    My dad (rest his soul) used to rant about those who salutated him with “Have a good one!”

    He wondered have a good what? Bowel movement?

  2. I’m not only a curmudgeness, I’m a night owl. The folks who bother me the most are the ones with the cheery good mornings. I had my staff trained to slide a cup of coffee onto my desk and leave me alone until 10AM. Part of my curmudgenry is that you know those folks with the “How are you’s?” don’t really want to know. And gods forbid if you should start telling them your troubles. I see you’re progressing quite well in the curmudgeon department. I’m so proud.

  3. “A good one” is always a bowel movement and you should reply in detail.
    I believe in giving people what they ask for, even if (especially if) they don’t realize what they just said.

  4. i, like rob, don’t particularly like people so i glare and mutter incomprehensibly as much as possible, which seems to do the trick… and when some tool asks “How are you?” i like to smile and say “I don’t f*cking know?”

  5. avoid having to u turn… i’d recommend you start stowing a megaphone on the bike. that way when some idjit asks a question requiring a long answer you can just keep riding, while hollering your life story back at him… or just bitch him out… yeah, the latter.

  6. rob – yes, you got the irony. me, whining about ‘politeness’ wants to kill some poor bastard who is attempting to be nice in his own illogical and shallow way. i, too, am on the road to curmudgeonosity… and i will start riding with a mace to assure my ‘bubble’.

    annie – the ‘nod’ is the most appropriate in many cases. especially to those in headphones…

    manuel – it’s similar to the motorcyclist “fist of belonging”, or something known as the “jeep wave”… unadulterated smugness in a simple gesture!

    silverstar – are there stages of “curmudgeonlyness”? i think i’m mostly “crotchety”, but have a definite streak of curmudgeon aptitude… love the approach to the staff members. had an office mate who would throw a candy bar at me when i was PMS’ing. he kept track of my cycle. sometimes it was easy because i would throw things at him…

    bad yogi – Welcome to The Park! and yes – from now on i will follow this path! details on my last round of dropping the kids off at the pool shall follow any and all commentary regarding ‘having good ones’…

    kono – it’s funny, but in airports or traveling i can weave a tight bubble of “don’t talk to me”. that’s the time when i most dislike human contact. elsewhere? i am generally friendly…

    gnu – perhaps just a Mr. Microphone? i can distort my voice, make alien sounds, and generally screw with the offender from a distance. although turning and following someone with the megaphone? would likely make a strong point. ok. the point being that i’m a proper nutter… but still, points is points…

  7. I usually see people on my walking track which pisses me off to no end cause its out in the middle of nowhere and I go there to be alone. But they always say hello and ask me stupid questions, I hate it. Becasue I generally answer with the wrong thing.

    stranger: Hi
    me: good thanks!

  8. alex – i suppose the “random response generator” is another effective tactic. but the thing that’s so aggravating? you never see the same one twice, so you never know if you taught them a lesson! Metrics! Feedback!

    DP – it’s more like “cranky crunchy”… hey, isn’t that the name of a cereal?

    nm – if he’s tall, dark, blue eyed, hunky and still a dork? not much, i’m afraid… i have a ‘stupid threshold’, and there’s no amount of “hunky” that can overcome that much “stupid”… (yes. still cranky…)

  9. dolce – i can go either way. overtaking, or being forcibly overtaken. depends on my mood, which obviously varies substantially from minute to minute these days….

    vapour – a cranky, pre-menopausal witch, with about zero tolerance for rhetorical questions. at least you didn’t shout it at me in passing…

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