Coexisting with the Misfit

I hadn’t expected to follow up with Monday’s post about our road incident with an aggressive driver, but then, I hadn’t expected that we’d actually find him again. Biking home after a spectacular rain storm on Tuesday – it was World Car Free day after all, so we couldn’t let rain stop us – we saw the OR-plated Lexus. In fact, the car was parked in a driveway along the very road on which we live, not a half-mile from where the incident occurred.

Though I put the driver on notice that I intended to phone it in to the police, I never did bring myself to make that call. A few commenters wrote to recommend that, definitely, I should have called. I do agree with this. But…

Now that I know that this person is, ostensibly, a neighbor of ours (OR license plate notwithstanding), I wonder if this changes things. My first reaction on seeing the car parked in the driveway along my road out here in the country was that I should go right up to his door, apologize for making the driver angry, and conversing about what can be done so that we’re both safe and happy on our road. I wonder if, in this specialized case, it may be a good thing that I didn’t get the police involved immediately, because now I may have a chance to speak with the driver directly in a neighborly fashion. If the police were involved, the driver and I would always have that antagonism between us. Since he lives just down the road, it’s likely we’ll be sharing a lane again.

Of course, knocking on an unknown person’s door out in the country – or anywhere I guess – could be even more dangerous. I’d like to believe in neighborliness, where you can approach someone unthreateningly and figure out a way to coexist peaceably.

[##Addendum 9/25 – Question as to whether to go calling at the Misfit’s is answered. A checkered pit bull sits tied to the railing up the steps to the front door during the day. No good can come of that. I’m a sucker for any dog, pit bulls included, but one tied up out front only means one thing – you don’t want to find out any more.]

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3 Responses to “Coexisting with the Misfit”


  1. 1 Ira September 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    This is an interesting dilemma. As a rural rider, the scales of automobile superiority are heavily weighted, but the expectation of “neighborly” behavior is as well.

    In the city, I regularly see cyclists punch, kick and shout at cars, then ride away into anonymity. With eight million people in the Chicago area, the chance the driver will be your neighbor is nearly non-existent. If it turns out they are, you still don’t rely on them for much.

    In a rural area where your neighbor might give you a ride when you get a flat or help plow your driveway in the winter, there much more at stake, and a better reason to stay civil in a traffic altercation.

  2. 2 dottie September 26, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I must admit that I’m stumped. Knocking on his door to have a neighborly chat is an intriguing idea, but I’m not sure if you should. Not everyone is as friendly and intelligent as you are. Maybe you could write him a letter and mail it. If so, make sure he knows it’s not a threatening “I know where you live” type of letter, and give him a way to contact you to continue the dialog (maybe a phone number, not an address). Another possibility is to wait a while and see if you encounter him on the road again. While unlikely, he could be a visitor.

    This is a problem I don’t have to worry about in Chicago. Even the people who live in my building don’t seem to care if they’re jerks.

    • 3 pomocomo September 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      I agree with you. Especially if you saw my addendum that he’s got a pit bull monitoring his front door. I came up with a new solution – I’m hoping to identify him by his car at our local gas station/general store – everyone goes there – and engage him in a friendly discussion on neutral territory.


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