Pecked off…

Saturday morning in my world means a bike ride to the local artisans/farmers market.  This is pleasant, and allows me to pretend – just for a couple hours – that i live somewhere urban and upscale.  As it involves a modicum of physical exertion (25 miles of ass-pedaling), it also allows me to eat with reduced guilt.

The food-selection ritual involves walking slowly along the food vendor stalls, eyeing the daily specials, sniffing for things that tickle my tummy, and making sure i’ve evaluated all possible options before selecting the chosen one – My Saturday Brunch.  This weekend, it was the creperie that made my nostrils flare, pulling my body in a nearly erotic pirouette…

It was crowded, and there was a line.  In quick negotiations with my biking buddy, we agreed to split two crepes – a veggie and a raspberry/nutella dessert crepe…  He was dispatched to procure coffee, and i held the place in line.  Nice view of the crepe-making action, gorgeous morning, and all was pretty damn fine with the world.

[bump from behind] “Excuse me, are you in line?”

Nodding affirmation, i went back to watching crepe fabrication ballet.  [another bump from behind].  i turned my head, eyes partially closed, deploying the universal body language suggesting “back the fuck off”, and noticed the gaggle of suburban hens crowding my personal space.  The one who’d thwacked me with her purse said “oh, i just want to see what they’re doing“.

Sighing, i attempted to return to my zen-like trance, watching a family of crepe-making acrobats perform a flying circus of culinary contortions.  Scrape the griddle, pour the goo, swirl it with a delicate flourish, fold, fill, fold again…  Each crepe creation made my mouth water in anticipation of the foodgasm to come…

But.  Instead of getting into my happy place, i was subjected to incessant Color Commentary of the Obvious.  From three linear inches behind my right ear:  “Ooooh, look!  What’s he doing?  Did you see that?  He poured the batter out and made a perfect circle!  Is that fish?  What is that?  Is it cream cheese with some sort of fish?  It looks like fish.  Do you think it’s fish? I think it’s fish.  Maybe salmon….” 

Simulcast, from three linear inches behind my left ear: “Those are raspberries!  Oh, I hope they don’t run out!  Those look good!  What’s he spreading on the side?  Is that butter?  I think that’s some kind of ham.  Probably not fish.  Look!  He’s putting Nutella* on the raspberries!  I hope they don’t run out…”

There was a third party.  She was a Greek Chorus, echoing the cacaphony of insipid comments.  i continued to be bumped as they strained to get a better view.  i planted my feet firmly.  Stood erect and pushed my shoulders out to full width.  Did not give an inch when the line moved forward by one human body.  They were really getting on my tits…

Realizing that the “fish” was, in fact, prosciutto, and the “cream cheese” was a combination of feta and bleu cheese, i decided to call an audible at the line of scrimmage, and regardless of whether my companion returned in time, i was swapping out the veggie crepe for the prosciutto variety.  And DEFINITELY going to get raspberries.  And hope that i got the last fucking berry…

The “yap and bump” action continued.  i held my ground.  My companion returned.  Sensed my stressed out state of mind.  And without much prompting, quickly realized that it was the incessant chirping and bumping that had me grated.  Finally reaching the serving window, i ordered the prosciutto and cheese… and then slowly and deliberately asked for the raspberry nutella crepe**.

The young man said: “I’m sorry, we’re out of raspberries…” and before i could turn to my companion to coordinate our alternate selection, the hen party broke into simultaneous cacklage “Did you hear that they’re out of raspberries I just knew it well that girl said the other crepe place had run out too oh, I guess I can try the blueberry I had my heart set on raspberries do you think there are raspberries in the mixed berries? I could get the banana…..”.  It was so loud that i damn near had to use semaphore to check to see if the mixed berry option would be acceptable to my friend.

Once they settled down, i asked my friend – none too quietly – a favor.  “If i EVER turn into one of these, you must promise to just fucking shoot me!”

stfu

* Pronounced “nuh-TEL-la”, right?  Unless you are a functionally retarded hen, in which case you’ll call it “NEW-tel-la”.  About a hundred and fifty fucking times….

** “Oh, skip the cream cheese, i’m on a diet!” Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa!

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…