Thursday, March 5, 2009

Confrontation . . .

For those that know me also know that I am a “meek” and sociable person. I always go out of my way to meet people and share stories and experiences. I am the most approachable person around. If there is anything I can do for you, just ASK, and it shall be done.

I have also learned how NOT to be an aggressive driver. In my earlier days (notice that I choose not to use “younger”), I was one of those that would constantly change lanes and push the pedal to the metal, power shifting in every gear just to be in the front of the line. Sure I have had fast cars/motorcycles but I find that if you have power “on-tap” you tend not to use it. Call it small car syndrome but my 36hp VW beetle back in the 60’s was always being pushed to the limits. I also recently sold my ’67 Firebird Convert muscle car and I don’t think I ever went very fast in it either. I just liked the sounds of the dual “flowmaster” exhausts . You always drive classic cars slowly to make the ride last longer. Around 1980 I purchased a fast bike. It was a Suzuki GS1100, the fastest production bike of that year and I never went especially fast on that bike but it felt nice to have that extra power when you needed it. I think I went faster on my BWS Yamaha scooter. It started out as regular 49cc slow-mo machine that could go nearly 40 km/ltr. When it was de-restricted plus installation of a 70cc cylinder kit, different clutch, belt and muffler, it could fly, and it did fly every time I rode it. You could hardly keep it under the speed limit. Again it was small car syndrome taking over. I don’t know what it is but when you have limited power it seems that you just go faster and when you have the power, then speed just doesn’t matter anymore.

firebird S
('67 Pontiac Firebird Convert, 1st Gen 326-HO)

Now, I have a long commute to work. For those of you that know the layout of Vancouver you know that there is no fast way to get about town. I live in the heart of the City (no freeways around here), and I have to travel on busy surface roads to get to my destination on the fringes of civilization., approx 25 km each way. (32miles in US talk). When I was younger you could say this was “on the fringe” but due to urban sprawl and congestion, it is just as busy throughout every corner of the Greater Vancouver area.

I have changed my commuting route several times now switching to slower roads. Slower you ask, when many would choose the faster. I found that I was getting drawn into the Indy 500 mentality. Yes, I do know how to drive fast, but I choose not to and I found myself changing lanes often and of course you are going a speed often in excess of what is allowed. I finally realized what I was doing so changed to a much slower route with lots of signal lights to slow you down. I find that my commute is a refuge from the outside world. When you are in a car you are in your cocoon, listening to your thoughts, or the radio, hot line, singing to yourself and just rolling along subconscientiously towards your work destination. Sure I can change lanes and roll with the flow, but that would get my adrenalin up. So I am content to merely just follow the vehicle ahead.

So it was this morning. I was at a stop light with 3 lanes of traffic waiting for the “green” light to start the race. I am usually content to just follow the leader ahead, but today there are two vehicles to my right, in the 3rd lane. Just across the intersection these 3 lanes merge into 2 lanes. I am 3rd in line. The light changes and the race is on. My job is to keep distance from the person ahead while the other two on my right are trying to merge into our lane and their portion of roadway is ending fast. This large silver 4x4 quad cab monster truck starts to move into my lane with ME in the way. I had to swerve left to avoid the “crunch” . I don’t know if this was intentional or whether he just tried to run me off the road. He may just be a driver who doesn’t look into his mirrors. I recognize this truck before on my morning commute. For some reason these big gas guzzlers think they own the road.

(Grey 4X4 Quad Cab pick up truck, that cut me off)

Now I’m following this truck until we get to another light. I pull out my camera and take a few pictures of his license plate. I make sure he sees me taking these photos. I see his face in his mirror and his back up lights come on. He is reversing . . . I immediately think to myself that he is going to RAM me. It is a slight incline so I roll backwards a few feet. I think the car behind sees what’s going on and immediately turns into the left lane which is free of cars. Now I have no one behind me and can roll back further. I think to myself, now what do I do. So I whip out my cell phone and pretend to be talking to someone even thought it is OFF. I’m trying to make him think that I have called 911 or the police.

(4x4 Quad Cab, in front of me at the next signal light)

The light changes, all the traffic is moving, except for this aggressive 4x4 quad cab which is stopped in front of me. I think now that there is going to be a confrontation of some sort, or he thinks that I will change lanes and speed ahead of him. I think the last thing I want is for him to be behind me, so I stand my ground and wait . . . (to be continued)

I finally got to work and was still shaking and looking over my shoulder and in the rear view mirror. I just wanted to get away. I think tomorrow I'm going the slow way, or visit my nearest autobody shop for a colour change . . .

Often when I need a rest from the pressures of life, I turn to Baron's View (<--- Click link) He has an interesting perspective on life and his jokes can keep you amused for hours. In the spirit of Baron's View, here is my contribution for today. And Baron, enjoy . . . and keep up the good work. One day we should take out our Moskva's and take a few pics

Hung Chow calls into work and says, 'Hey, I no come
work today, I really sick. Got headache, stomach ache and legs
hurt, I no come work.'

The boss says, 'You know something, Hung Chow, I
really need you today. When I feel like this, I go to my wife and tell her I want sex. That makes everything better and I go to work. You try

Two hours later Hung Chow calls again. 'I do what you
say and I feel great. I be at work soon......... You got nice


  1. I am not a "shy" person, but I am extremely reserved, more often than not, I won't initiate a conversation and usually find that I am content to stand back and observe. My closest friends would probably describe me as really mellow.

    Perhaps this carries over to the way I drive/ride in traffic, usually (I say usually, not always) I am pretty conservative with my survival tactics when dealing with traffic, and like you, I prefer to take the longer and slower way home.

    I'm curious as to how the Quad cab 4X4 incident turns out now.

    Ride Well


  2. Bob,
    Were near in Burnaby near and around SFU...that area somehow looks familiar...if you were that's quite a commute from downtown... I don't envy you buddy.. Let me know where that intersection is...just curious. need to be careful bro...with all the gang wars going on around there...I don't think you should show how brave your little tush is...just grin and bear it and stay are the most serious and most senior (Not in age) and respected rider in our community... we want you around for many many years to come...and no that wasn't me in the 4 x 4 in case you
    I loved your has the making of a story that can actually be published..your car is fabulous pic (Award) stuff and yes we shall meet this summer to exchange views, opinions, ideas, etc... I'm just very busy right now with my youngest son who plays soccer in the US and my job...He's 16 and was recruted by the US soccer academy and has been playing for them for the last 3 years...meaning miles upon miles and miles of driving to practice and games and Seatac as they fly off to games every weekend all paid for by the academy...but you got to get him there.
    Next week I'm off to Vegas for, the week after to CA for a University interview for junior and then things should sorta calm down and perhaps we can meet and chat and bond a friendship that ironically is cyber-space born...but hey I think great minds think alike...and we all know what fools do.
    Thank you so much for the nod on your blog...truly appreciated bob for you are a scholar and a gentleman...BTW, I have to tell you that shot of the bridge you have in your previous just sensational... I keep going back and looking at it...this should tell you something.... there is something about it that I can't put my finger on...but then again...not sure that I wanna put my finger on is just enjoyable...
    Thanks for sharing buddy. Keep well and have a good EVE.
    Thanks again for the nod.

  3. ET:

    Looks like we are "brothers from another mother" , I'm conservative too, just like you. I'm not shy but reserved. I can initiate conversations with strangers but often I just observe and form my own opinions from their body language, just like I can tell selfish people just by how they drive, how they don't signal, and how they change lanes. And also when they don't give you a thank you when you let them merge in. Often you can summarize them by the types of vehicles that they drive, but of course, there are exceptions. I know that one day soon we will be down in the Palouse again so our paths will hopefully cross . . .


    I commute from the "centre" of the city to North Road/Lougheed. I alternate routes to keep it interesting; sometimes Marine (speed) Way, sometimes Kingsway, and most recently Lougheed Hwy. I thought about the "gang" connection later, so you are RIGHT. Next time just let them go. At least I have a non-descript vehicle which blends into the background. Came the same way today and didn't see that truck.

    safe travels and meet up when you get back

  4. Hey Bob.

    Know exactly how you feel. Had the same sort of incident in my car. Pulled out the camera and started to record. He didn't like that and took an offence manouever on me. Pulled out my cell and dialed 911 but not the "send" button. We exchanged mean stares and he took off after several minutes of taunting me.

    Cameras and cell phones are neat!!

    But I suggest not to be in this predicament in the first place. You never know who the other party is nowadays, especially in Vancouver.

    Glad you're okay. see ya around.

  5. Dear Mr. B. Scoot:

    Twenty-five years ago, I found myself on Route 23 in what passed for backwoods New Jersey. A guy changed lanes in a pick-up truck and hit the crash frame on my Kawasaki. I chased him, got the license number, and took him to court.

    He had damage on the truck, but claimed he wasn't in the state at the time, and didn't know who was driving his truck. He produced a witness to his whereabouts, wjho had pressed charges against him for assault the week before.

    The guy got off because it was dark at the time of the accident, and I couldn't identify him the wheel. But he was the sort of trash that turns everything into a vendetta.

    The guy driving the truck in your case sounds like a similar bully with an equally tiny penis. And in some cases, the only language these jerks understand is a savage beating. I think you shoud keep an eye out for this guy.

    Vancouver used to be an easy city. I broughrt my daughter there ten years ago, and we came close to getting mugged in China Town.

    Things change.

    Very interesting post tonight.

    Fondes regards,

    Fondest regards,

  6. I gave a lady the finger a couple of weeks ago for a little stunt she pulled when she passed me. I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say that I anticipated that she might do something stupid before it actually happened. Then when it did happen I became peeved and flipped her the bird.

    In retrospect, my action could have just exacerbated the situation. I should have probably just taken a deep breath, acknowledged my own disappointment in her driving ability, and let it go. But at that particular moment in time..... Well you know.

    Forgiveness and patience can be difficult at times.

  7. Bob, you proved today that discretion is the better part of valor, and I am interested in the rest of story. It does seem that some guys need the big rigs to overcompemsate for something...

  8. I'm an ex cop and Viet Nam vet. I have a lifetime concealed handgun license and regularly carry one. I can physically subdue men much larger than me due to years of training. Like your story, I have "power to spare".

    As hard as it is, sometimes I have to appear "weak" to avoid confrontation. There's just too much to lose.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Honesty like yours is rare.

  9. Tony: Where have you been hiding. Last time I saw you pushing a baby buggy at the gas station. Did you get that electric bike ? so many questions. You didn't come by for cappucino either. don't be a stranger.

    Jack: too bad we didn't know you 10 years ago, we are an original Vancouverite and could have shown you all the sights. Definitely not as safe as in the "old days" as long as you know areas to avoid.

    cpa3485: For some reason we seem to be having a lot of gang activity up here and perhaps in retrospect we should just back off and let them go . . . safer that way, better to be meek and mild and live another day

    Lance: I have been doing some thinking about the situation, and also keeping an eye out for this truck, and so far haven't seen it around

    Irondad: I'm going to follow your example and "appear weak", which is easy for me to do. Now I know where Irondad comes from . . . a dad, packing Iron.

  10. I pretty much handle things the way you do today-- meek, quiet, unobtrusive... And I shake a bit when things get hot. Thankfully where I live the drivers or all stripes are generally polite. The times I have heard of "events" there was usually a mutual education process at work. I am grateful that I have mostly let go of any expectations of others on the road or my inclination to educate them.

    When I was younger (teens through early 20s) the one area of my life that triggered hotheadedness was the road. I internalized it and turned it into scheming rather than direct confrontation. My education process generally involved Karo Syrup and gas tanks, side cutters and valve stems, or a hatchet and sheet metal. And of course the cover of darkness.

    Looking back though I don't think anyone was educated and it just made things worse. It was utter stupidity marked by pervasive irrational thought and temporary insanity. Today I believe it is always better to let things go. It isn't a perfect solution but has far better results for me than my self righteous methods...

    As others have pointed out I would watch out for the fellow for awhile. No telling what goes on in a person's head.

  11. Late comment - and a nitpick to boot - 26 KM is about 16 miles, not 32....