The Jerk, Roan, Me and a Few Well-Placed (?) Swear Words

I’ve talked about running on this site – how it is my church, it is the thing that pulls me together on the weekend. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to share it with Roan, when he gets old enough and then BAM he suddenly became old enough. Sunday I convinced him (ok, absolutely bribed him) to ride his bike with me as I ran across the Brooklyn Bridge and back. We had done a short rehearsal of this once before, as he rode alongside me on the waterfront, but that was a scant two miles, compared to over double that. I was confident he could do it though, as that outing hadn’t even flushed him and had in fact prompted him to tell me that I’m not “exactly slow”. Heh. High praise, that. Punk.

Sunday was a perfect day. Gorgeous weather, and nothing on our schedule. We started out and talked as I tried to keep up with him. I chose a path that would take us a little longer to get to the bridge but was dedicated to bike and foot traffic only. Once we got to the bridge though, I knew we were a bit screwed.

Apparently the National MS Society had planned a walk to raise awareness on this exact Sunday. Its path included going over the Brooklyn Bridge. Believe me, I’m all for fundraising and walking and running and biking events for good causes. Unfortunately though,  when a huge gathering of people try to cross the Brooklyn Bridge at once, it is a huge cluster…eh…cluster. But we were there, and they were there, and it was up to all of us good people to share this bridge and make the best of it.

There has long been a war between pedestrians and bicyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge. As a Fat Cyclist’s sister, I have always obeyed, with what borders on religious reverence, the painted line that separates the two. When I’m running, I don’t veer into the bike lane unless I need to pass a gawking tourist and even then I giddy-up out of the bicycle lane ASAP. With Roan on a bicycle, I finally had a pass to be in the lane, but it was full of walkers. Bugger.

Their good cause was not lost on me, neither was the fact that they had every right to be there. So Roan and I weaved in and out of the crowd, with me leading the way with “Excuse me, coming through” and Roan sticking close. I finally came across the group of people that you just don’t want to come across. The ones who will not move, not give others three seconds of their time to step aside. I asked them a few times to let us pass, and then pointed out that they were actually in a bike lane. And here’s a kid on a bike. Wanna let him through?

And then of course, one big-mouthed slow-walking dude decided to step up to a mom and her son. This man apparently needed to show his fellow friends that regardless of his taking part in a great and worthwhile event, he could pull his terrible personality out and flash it around for all to see. He berated me for trying to get through, and spoke down to me in such a way that his aggression rattled my son.

Oh dear.

As a former badass, I couldn’t help myself. I stepped up to him and told him, yeh, I have eyes and can see what’s going on. I’m happy to share my bridge with him and am just trying to get my kid through so MOVE. I did match his aggression, but I did keep moving, not wanting to start a fist fight with an MS Walker on the sabbath in front of my son. But this guy. THIS GUY. He needed to show how awesomely dominant he was so  he kept yelling insults, kept embarrassing his friends (I hope), and I just kept my hand on Roan’s back, guiding him through. But before I was out of his life for good, I turned around, gave him a hand gesture my mom would ground me for, mouthed GFY (which does not mean “Good For You”), and in my best teaching life-lesson voice told my son in front of Big Mouth’s friends, “Some guys are just born assholes.” Roan’s face went from anxious to mischievous as he laughed at me swearing in front of him. Score.

Ok. Not the most even-handed or mature or even best approach ever. But guess what? I’m not sorry. Had Roan not been there, I probably wouldn’t have reacted in that same way. But I felt that this guy was not only being a bully to me, he was doing it to my son. I could not bear the idea of letting that slide, because I would never want my Roan to believe it’s ok for people to act like that. Still, there are probably ways that would have been better to handle this guy, including just ignoring him.

But at the end of it? Roan was proud of me. In his re-telling to his Dad, I was a hero and I was strong. His mom was fierce and stood up for him. And the bike ride was a blast, and he wants to do it again. So maybe just maybe – me acting the fool was an ok thing. I’m still not sure.

What do you think?

23 thoughts on “The Jerk, Roan, Me and a Few Well-Placed (?) Swear Words

  1. I always tell my son, that if you mess with the baby bear, the momma bear will come out. Sounds like Roan’s momma bear was there for the rescue. You handled it in a way that the ‘gentleman’ would understand. Sometimes that is all that you can do…

  2. I went through something like this not long ago and I did pretty much the same thing. My reaction was so swift and overflowing with menace that I frightened the hipster ass-clown who dared to practice his douche baggery on me and my son into immediately crossing the street.

  3. I have MS and am no supporter of the MS Society (as a charity, nearly fifty percent of their fundraising dollars goes to admin. this makes them a business, as far as I care.) That man was a bully using a “good cause” to push his weight around and I personally hope you shamed the whole lot of ‘em. Good on you.

  4. he’s fortunate to still have his man jewels in tact. one swift knee and it would have shut him up good. lol glad it turned lut good and that you’re a hero to your son. that’s the real blessing here.

  5. I’m picturing the man’s companions telling this story when they got home, and in my brain’s version, you come off looking great and he comes off looking–well, exactly as you described him. I agree with Amy on several levels–he was a pretty poor ambassador that day. Next week will be better (unless there’s another walk-for-a-cause). Thanks for sharing!

  6. what Sheri said! i’m still laughing! (pretty sure the dude is not remembering and retelling with the same verve that Roan did) :)

  7. You go, girl! Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear his version of what happened? I’m pretty sure it would be entirely different. Those types of guys can’t ever see how other people see them.

  8. Makes me crazy when people act
    like that…SO RUDE and just so wrong. You did great and showed your son (and everyone around you) the right way to behave. Some bullies never grow up.

  9. I bike across the Bridge a lot and run or walk across it from time to time.

    On a nice day, you just have to expect it to be crowded with tourists. They’re like guests in our home.

    You wouldn’t yell at a tourist in the bike lane, just like you wouldn’t yell at a guest who put your silverware in the wrong place (cutlery has to be filed alphabetically, surely I can’t be the only one who knows that).

    But if your guest starts mouthing off in your home inappropriately, you have to explain their error. The dumber the guest, the clearer the explanation.

    Sounds like you were appropriately clear.

    Of course, this is going to be one of those family stories that gets retold frequently over the years.

    Kinda like the one about my mother who, when I was a kid, got cut off in traffic and tried to flip the bird at the other driver. Trouble was, she used the wrong finger.

  10. I think that’s awesome. Not only do I need to teach my kids to be polite and do the right thing, I also need to teach them to stand up for themselves and others when there are bullies around. WTF dude, just take one step sideways already. Idiot. :0)

  11. Pingback: Pistols and Popcorn » Ninja Amy, Ninja Us

  12. Had similar walking kids to school – crossing park ave – a truck driver turning across the pedestrian crossing ‘drives’ not looking like stopping, then stops and lurches forward aggressively to within foot of small kid a few feet in front of me. The mum looks utterly shocked to silence. I put my hand up and shout “what are u doing? There a kid?” and this Neanderthal starts abusing me telling me we shouldn’t be on road because it’s flashing (18 secs left… And counting)

    I am amazed to hear of adults putting kids in danger and because their ‘wrong’ is so great they just are too coward to eat a little dirt and admit their 1st assumption was wrong

    It’s a kid on a bike – just move over already-

    Next time I’m gonna photo snap them or their plate and tell them I’m giving it to the local news. Reckon a bit of holding to account should sort it out

    BTW – Amy s story- piece is simple and got me into action so well done on getting this out there

  13. I just read this article. I like the way you handled this. You rock.
    If you need a way to tell someone to politely “GFY” try this: In the biblical sense go forth, be fruitful, and multiply in a singular manner. It is fun to watch their faces as they try and figure that one out.

  14. Thank you for some other excellent article.
    The place else may just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect means of writing?
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