Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Acts of Karma

Today I went with some friends to lunch. TGI Fridays is a usual place for us, so there was nothing unusual about lunch. It was afterwards that I tempted the Karma gods and now walk about in fear. Unfortunately I don't feel the need to repent. At least not yet. Right now, I'm still laughing.

Leaving the parking lot of Fridays, I pulled up to the stoplight. To get back to work, I have to cross a major road, some 6 lanes wide. The stoplight is very short so at any given time, only two or three cars are guaranteed a way across this road. It makes for an interesting game of chicken since most people know how finicky the light is and try to race
across before it turns red. So, I swing around into the straight lane and rejoice for no one is in front of me and I know I will make it through the light when it turns. Except ... there is someone there.

A kid.

On a dirt bike.

In the middle of the lane waiting at the light.

Okkkkay. I mean, it's not like it's an adult on a racing bike. No, this kid looks like your typical skater punk and definitely not old enough to be riding his bike around town when he should be in school. Possibly high school. I'm going to say 15, tops. Anyway.

I pull up behind him and his head swivels. He looks concerned, like he hadn't expected anyone to pull up behind him. I look at my friend and we both kind of shrug.

"I'll give you a buck if you tap his back wheel."

I contemplate this. Kiddingly, of course. "Buck fifty."

She sniffs. "I had a soda a lunch. I'm broke. No fun for us."

We both return to looking at the kid, wondering what he'll do. At this point, there is no traffic in either direction for a good distance. So I think maybe he'll attempt to at least cross to the median. Meanwhile, cars are piling up behind me and the guy in my rear view mirror is starting to look anxious. I understand his feeling. I hate being the second car leaving the lot. If the first car is the slightest bit slow, chances are, you're going to get screwed.

"Don't you think he would go?" my friend asks and points to the left and right. No one.

"No idea," I mumble. My foot may have slipped off the brake a little and I creep forward, just as a gentle prodding. He doesn't take the hint.

Then the left turn arrow turns green. The cars next to us go. The car across from us go. He can start to peddle across now. Really, it's only polite.

"Go," I urge and creep a little farther up.

Not only does he ignore me, he WHIPS OUT HIS CELL PHONE AND BEGINS TEXTING.

"He cannot be serious!" my friend shrieks.

I clamp down hard on the break and press the gas pedal a few times, revving up. He continues to text. The car behind me crawls forward. The turn arrow turns yellow, then red and our light turns green. The kid doesn't look up because HE IS STILL TEXTING

That's it, I think and lay on the horn. The kid's arms fly up in the air. His baseball cap slips a little on his head and he almost loses control of the bike and his stupid cell phone. I wish he dropped it. Instead he starts pedaling as fast as his short, scrawny legs can go. And yet, he is not even halfway through the intersection. I creep out behind him, my hand hovering over the horn. I really want to honk again but refrain. Beside me, my friend is laughing so hard tears are starting to come out. I make it through the intersection just as the light turns yellow. The kid is now beside me, head bent, afraid to look at me. He looks up, his feet slid off the pedals and the bike skids a little but he quickly regains his balance.

Through the intersection, my friend turns to me. "You just went up a level in my book of awesomeness."

I check out the kid in the rear view. His face is red. "Thanks," I say, "that means a lot."

And then we start laughing again and don't stop until I get to my desk to write this all down.

I should feel bad. I mean, he's just a kid. And he almost fell. But he was dumb. So I don't. And that's why Karma is out to get me. We all do stupid things and the rest of us should practice tolerance. But patience has never been my strongest character trait. Karma and car horns don't mix. I think I'm next. 

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