19 April 2007

What Luck?

There are two kinds of motorists that a cyclist may encounter on the streets of London: the first kind is simply unobservant - they just didn't see you. The second kind is simply reckless - they did see you but they just didn't care.

These two kinds of motorist can be distinguished, sometimes, by the sheepish wave they give - or fail to give - that acknowledges the mortal danger in which they placed you.

But when you actually encounter a motorist on the streets of London, cutting in front of you to make a sudden unindicated left turn, you seldom wait for the wave to work out what kind of motorist it is that you see. This is because whatever kind of motorist it is, there is only one kind of braking that you do, and that is the hardest kind of braking.

I have noticed also that there are two kinds of luck experienced by cyclists in these situations: the bad luck that leads to you meet such a motorist, and the good luck which allows you to escape with your life.

But which kind of luck it is that you experience, and mention prefacatorily when relating your triathlon anecdotes to bored wives on each side of you at the dinner table depends, I suppose, on whether you are glass-half-empty or glass-half full sort of person. In my case - suffice to say it was not with an overwhelming sense of good fortune that I picked myself up from the tarmac on the approaches to Tower Bridge on Wednesday morning (driver stopped suddenly in front of me / foot caught in cleat / good job the driver behind me was paying attention / any little wave? ummm...)

In fact that was just the start one of my most fortunate cycling days yet, when all on a single commute
  • I was lucky to escape being run over at Tower Bridge
  • and lucky to persuade the bike shop to fix my mysteriously bent sprocket, that jammed my chain..
  • and lucky that no one ran over my pannier when it fell off my bike..
  • and lucky to puncture so close to a street light to see by..
Yes, some people - I have noticed, but not me, see at least some good luck in every situation even when there manifestly is none. Tree fell on their car? What luck they weren't in it. Lost their bag? What luck their wallet was in their pocket. Their child dangerously ill? lucky to live so close to the hospital, to have a congestion-charge free car, to have just hired a nanny who is now looking after the siblings. Yes, what desperate, desperate luck some people have.


Anonymous said...

Why, you must be my long lost brother!

love from Pollyanna xx

Anonymous said...

Perhaps that also distuingishes two types of people. The ones who cling on to the last bit of luck - however desperate it may be. Then the ones who don't - those who allow themsleves to wallow and eventually spiral into a darkness so deep it is hard to ever return... I know which type of person I'd rather be