Thursday, July 13, 2006

Missiles for missionaries

Something very strange happened to me yesterday: someone threw something at my face. Yeah, I know that happens all the time. What's strange is why they did it.

Riding a bicycle in Utah in the middle of a summer day can be a deadly proposition. On a good day, riding uphill will get you. Before coming to Utah, I fancied myself to be someone who is in pretty good shape and an expert in terms of cycling terrain. I knew the elevation was different; still, I had no idea that simply trundling up the street where I'm staying would leave me more winded than a chain-smoking prostitute. Still, I got used to it. You have to, when you're stuck in a strange city with no car and every potential ride is at work. Also, it's fun!

Yesterday (as often happens with me at least once a week) I got hungry. So I decided to brave the blacktop and go to the grocery store. Before I took off, I decided to don a white, button-down, short-sleeve shirt. In retrospect, this was a major mistake that not even green denim shorts, sneakers or the blue stripes on the shirt could rectify. Also not helping appearances: my diligently worn helmet and backpack. Did I mention I'm also clean-shaven?

Clad in my accidental missionary costume, I headed off to the Salt Lake suburban roadways. As I mentioned before, pedaling uphill and against the wind allows for a speed that could be best identified as "touring." In other words, it incites a certain fear in the residents whose houses you are passing, as if you might dismount at any moment and say, "And how are you feeling today, neighbor? I'm feeling great! Want to know why?" It's scary stuff.

Like Lafayette, Salt Lake's suburbs have bike lanes. Unlike Lafayette, Salt Lake's suburbs have decent bike lanes. At least on the side of the road opposite of where I needed to be. So there I am, generating as much speed as the ragged shoulder will allow, trying not to get killed by all of the friendly Utah drivers, on the very same roads where Brigham Young himself probably dodged Dodges.

And then it happened.

I'm not sure what kind of car it was. But it was the kind that freshly minted high-school drivers proudly screech into the parking lot every August, the type of vehicle once referred to as a hot rod. Except now it's a 1995 Toyota Celica with a missing rearview mirror and mismatched tires, which even Archie would find uncool. Some disembodied hand rolled down the window, and before you could say "frat boy," that hand clocked forth a giant styrofoam projectile. "Yo!" it seemed to say as it hurled past my face.

"And how are you feeling today, drink?" I could have said. "I'm feeling great! Want to know why?" Too bad this prick had such lousy aim that his drink sailed over me by about 10 feet; otherwise, I could have had a Latter-Day Smoothie. Or, at least, a mark on my face that would have made me yell, "Jesus Christ!" Either way, you know...

As I glanced back at the car and the spent missile, I reflexively yelled, "Aren't you late for class?" But then I realized that I was no longer in college, and I was being targeted for the wrong reason for once, not because I was Ian McGibboney. That actually hurt my ego a little. I mean, I can understand being heckled as a writer, but not because people think I'm a missionary. Dammit, if you're going to throw down, then throw down for the right reason!

Moral: never make assumptions about anyone. That goes double for you teenaged hooligans, who peel out all day in Daddy's car, thinking that girls find the ability to push down an accelerator pedal at high speeds very sexy, and who wear Pacific Sunwear clothes even though you spend most of your day sitting in your empty bedroom playing "Doom 35" while drinking Jolt Cola and staring at your poster of Christina Aguilera from 1999, wondering if she would find it funny that you ironically throw fast-food drinks at unsuspecting non-Mormons. So, yeah, stop assuming, dickweeds! Judge not, lest ye be judged and all that crap.

Also, it's not nice to throw things at people.


Violet said...

Coolest idea ever - Mormon-looking chain-smoking male prostitute on bike! Enjoy raking in the dough.

Anonymous said...

How'd you end up stuck in Salt Lake City?


Nick said...

I can't stand people like that. Lafayette is pretty famous for teenagers and soccer moms trying to run bikers and runners off the road.

I remember in high school running with some of the younger guys on our cross-country team in a neighborhood when some rich boy (for anyone who doesn't know, I went to St. Thomas More, a big money high school in Lafayette) decided to floor his car and swerve at the young guys on the team, running them off the road. Besides just being a total ass, something like that is extremely dangerous and could cause serious injuries, which pissed me off. Imagine his surprise when a few minutes after that I knocked on the door under his parents garage, and when he answered, threatened to beat him wih one of his own lawnchairs sitting by the door. That was the only time I've confronted someone for that, and I only did it because he could have seriously hurt or killed one of my teammates with a stunt like that.

Ian McGibboney said...

Violet, that would indeed be a lucrative market.

J, a friend asked me if I wanted to help them move to Salt Lake City. I said sure.

Cajun Tiger said...

Now you have something in common with Ann Coulter...both of you have had idiots throw things at you and miss.