My “Friendly Friday” Story
One of the informal initiatives of I Am Traffic, a budding national bicycling organization, is called “Friendly Fridays.” The idea is to share the great things that happen when you’re out on your bicycle. My sister, who lives in the South, gave me a perfect bicycle-related metaphor recently. It’s important to keep your basket open, she said, because you never know what the Universe might drop into it. I’m glad my basket was open last Wednesday, because I had friendliness cascading into it during evening rush hour.
The first gift grew out of my error. I was westbound on Lindell between Vandeventer and Sarah. Because of the rebuilding of the 3949 Lindell apartment complex, which was destroyed last summer in a fire, westbound Lindell is down to one “through” lane here. As I moved along, I knew I had lots of motorists behind me. I was planning to turn left onto Sarah Street. In a mistaken effort to be polite and release traffic behind me, I moved into the center turn lane well before the left turn pocket for Sarah. Wouldn’t you know, an oncoming big-old-boat-of-a-car starts moving right toward me into that same center turn lane to turn into the Office Depot shopping complex.
But the driver sees me. He readjusts his land cruiser to wait for me to pass. “I am so sorry,” I say to him as I do so. “You OK!” he responds, with utter kindness.
As I sit at the red light in the left turn lane and make a mental note to never do THAT again, my neighbor Bill rolls up next to me. While we’re waiting, we share a hearty handshake through his open window. “You have a new car,” I note. He tells me that it was a present to himself upon retirement from many years of service to the City of St. Louis.
I’m on my way to a happy hour at the HandleBar to kick off Bike Month. But I won’t get there before another “Friendly Friday” moment. “Karen!” I hear someone shout as I turn onto Laclede toward Boyle from Sarah. It’s my friend Steve, who had just locked up his venerable New Market Hardware store. I roll back around to say hello. He turns to unlock the store, because he wants to show me the new bicycle he has just purchased.
When Steve is riding, I hope his basket will be wide open, too