I was balancing on my bike, stationary at a red light. I have taken to balancing rather than putting a foot on the floor at traffic lights partly because I have toeclips, and partly because it’s an entertaining game to play with oneself to pass the time on one’s bike. I am fully aware that it’s a slightly twattish thing to do, but that only makes succeeding at it all the more imperative: better to be a competent twat than an aspiring one.
For the second time, the enormous truck behind me blasted its horn. Meep is not an onomatopoeic word which satisfactorily describes the huge, low noise of a truck horn, and the terror it stirs in a cyclist. Firstly, it’s an enormous and shocking noise, but secondly, the vehicle which made it could crush you like a twig.
It didn’t make much sense. Why was he beeping? The horn is a ridiculously ineloquent medium for inter-vehicle communication, rendering complicated messages from ‘mate, your left headlamp’s out’, to ‘hey, you! Person I know! You’re walking down the street, and I’m driving down the road and I can see you! This is mental!!’, to ‘fuck you, shitpile!’ as a brusque, slightly intrusive tone.
The traffic lights at this junction are slightly ambiguous, so perhaps he was mis-reading the adjacent green light and thought I was obstructing his path. But then, was it even directed at me? Or was I about to be crushed like a twig? Hell, perhaps he was using the limited vocabulary of the horn to congratulate me for having balanced for the last twenty seconds. The only way to find out was to stop balancing, and turn around.
The trucker gave me a broad, idiotic grin and a thumbs up: the kind which is usually followed by a girl rolling her eyes and deciding that she needs to go to the bathroom, sacrificing her half-full Smirnoff Ice to bolster the impression that she may, in fact, return at some point before never.
It wasn’t until a couple of minutes later, cycling down an entirely different stretch of road, that I realised: he had been trying to knock me off (by which I mean unbalance me, not bed me by means of Smirnoff Ices), and his stupid-face toothy smile had been his indication to me that he, balancing on his lazy arse in an enormous, noxious-fume-emitting truck, was better than me, teetering on my tiny pedal cycle, because he had used his enormous horn (by which I mean the klaxon in his truck, not his puny, shrivelled penis) to make me put my foot on the floor in order to make sure that I wasn’t going to get run over by an enormous truck.
‘Ha ha!’ he probably thought to himself as the lights went green, ‘I caused that cyclist to act rationally by illegal and gratuitous use of my horn. Let there be no further doubt as to who is the biggest man around here.
‘It’s me, because I live on fry-ups and consider changing gear a workout. Oh, I’m so, so fat. I hate myself. I hate my job. Most of all, I hate my life. Oh, Sandra, how could you leave me for that git plumber?’
A tear trickled down the steering wheel onto his belly.