On using the horn

As a small vehicle that is especially vulnerable to other people not looking when they change lanes and other forms of lacklustre driving, I find myself frequently covering the horn like we all cover our brakes in situations that call for it.  If I’m coming up on a vehicle that gives any impression of being a jerk or reveals small defects in driving judgement I’ve got those escape routes planned and am using my space margins.

The horn has saved me from having to do any creative split-second maneuvering thus far. One blast at someone who nearly changes lanes into me can send the offender swerving back into their original lane, hugging the side, and driving 20km/hr less than they were.  Pretty sweet result out of that Wolo horn.  (Mua ha ha ha!)

Today someone peeled out in from of me from their entrance onto the highway.  I am actually shocked that it has taken so long for this to happen to me (I’ve been commuting since July now).  I was able to brake alright but had to break hard, so I laid on the horn for a short blast just so they were aware.  The car kind of freaked out.  Like swerved, almost pulled over (on the highway!), drove super-slow, and then finally changed lanes to take a left to wherever they were going.

I actually felt a little bad for them.  Then I had a moment of panic that they would find me at work and spaz at me.  (One never knows when one drives something distinctive.)

I mentioned this to a coworker and she immediately said, “It’s probably because you look like a cop.  They thought they were in trouble and had to pull over.”

I’ve been watching Happy Valley on Netflix lately (sooooooo… good) and am totally digging Sergent Catherine Cawood’s florescent tinged authority.  She puts on her bright yellow police vest with utility pockets and gets it done.  The idea that I might look anything like her makes me very glad, though I’m not bent on being in mortal danger to the extent that she is in the series.

Sarah_Lancashire_2927204b 'Gloriously mouthy': Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley.

(Swoon.)

Saw myself all kitted out for rain in the reflection of a doorway and instantly believed the police theory.  Huh.  I think I like it.

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(I promise that I look tougher when I’m not laughing and petting my dog who is very happy I’m home. For real.)

Monsoon Season and the Failure of the High Viz Jacket

Was looking a bit dorky and walked to the local coffee shop a half block away from work to procure some hot chocolate for our handbell choir event this week in my brighter-than-the-sun high viz rain jacket.  Two cars almost ran me over.  I could still see my work building and two whole vehicles didn’t see me and could have flattened me.  As a pedestrian.

My high viz jacket makes me feel fairly invincible as a pedestrian.  I’m not stupid.  I look at the cars to make sure they’re stopping and that they appear to see me.  How could they not see this?:

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I thought the first guy in the truck saw me -I even waved- and I didn’t realize until my heels were in jeopardy that there was problem.  He looked apologetic at least.  Within 6 feet another truck turning out of the same spot (with a stop sign) nearly took out my toes.   Another apologetic wave.

I actually wasn’t mad.  It’s easy to forget to look out for pedestrians.  I drive a car, too.  But riding and walking in hostile environments has made me aware of the underlying issues in such interactions.  Also, I like to read books like Straphanger by Taras Grescoe and watch films like Urbananized by Gary Hustwit that challenge the often unquestioned supremacy of the automobile.  Good thing doing yoga has made me a more compassionate person, too.

I hope that nearly running over a person in a cross walk wearing high viz yellow when they were supposed to have stopped was the little jolt each needed to pay better attention while driving.

“Invigorating” or soggy?

It seems like wet coast winters are getting colder the last few years.  That crisp, clear, and dry kind of day with brilliant sunshine.  Not the October to April uninterrupted drudgery of rain and soggy everything that has people in a mood where the only thing they can manage is to complain that IT HASN’T STOPPED RAINING.

I spent two winters in Edmonton, AB while I was going to the U of A for my Master’s in Library and Information Studies.  Unused to the brightness, I sometimes wore sunglasses inside my apartment.  Still, I liked how the snow was dry and roads generally were not slippery (except for that one year that there was a frozen ice sheet and all of the snow landed on top of it all winter with no chance of melting until April or May, of course).  Invigorating!

This relatively new properly cold weather gets me excited about snowshoeing and sunny days and not being sopping wet whenever I try go anywhere.  Dog people walk no matter how horrific the rain.

We are into our second stretch of cold and clear.  Your clothing strategy for getting to work warm is certainly different.  I got quite used to the cold, dry weather and started scheming about hand muffs and ninja turtle gloves to combat the tips of my fingers going numb.  I also schemed about adding more fake fur into the inside of my Tucano Urbano Termoscud around where it meets my lap and the sides of my legs.  (I am seldom too warm in the winter.)

Crunchy leaves are a big thing to me:

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Something in glorious full bloom in early November with a perfect blue sky:

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When the rain started it was all about being florescent in the mist, rain pants and rain jackets meeting seamlessly, and hydrophobic coatings on my windshield and face shield.

A change is as good as a rest, but if i had to choose I would choose the cold, clear weather.

I had sole custody of the car last week (a rainy one), and only managed to psych myself up to ride by Wednesday.  On Wednesday I promptly dropped my helmet on the ground and broke my poor face shield, which destroyed the rest of my riding week as driving rain in the eyes is a safety concern.  Face shield is now replaced and has a better hinge so no annoying semi-flapping now.

Are you a wet or cold weather commuter?