Me and my classic 70s Batavus have been battered a number of times by cars and scooters since arriving here, without either of us sustaining any lasting damage. Most of the hits have been shunts, where the guy behind hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care that I’ve stopped at lights, either because he’s drunk or because he’s on the phone–immobilised, as it were. Thanks to all that walking, I’m bigger and beefier than I used to be, so my standard response is to kick off wing mirrors and/or other stuff and leave. The police and justice have better things to do, as can be seen from the five years it has taken to get the well-connected killer of cycling ace Ricardo Ochoa to trial.
Yesterday, however, a guy got me with the tactic that scares me most: the un-thought-through door opening. Fortunately I didn’t go over the top or sideways, just sustaining heavy bruising where the side of my body hit the outer end of the door. You son of a bitch, I said, why don’t you look? That’s life, he said, es lo que pasa, and shrugged. So’s this, I said, hit him in the face, collected my stuff, and rode off.
Whatever the short-term satisfaction, in retrospect I find it tiring and depressing. Whether driving cars or walking, people here customarily display a complete lack of concern for other users, whatever the feasible consequences for either party.
(Related post on pavement proxemics.)
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