What follows is a lesson in English interpretation. That may sound kind of boring, but if you give me five minutes I think you’ll absorb and appreciate what I have to say. Additionally, I make it a point to never swear in this blog and to antagonize as few people as possible, so I am apologizing beforehand in case I irk a few folks with this particular entry. I don’t think it will bother anyone… except possibly for one nameless individual.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the Buddy Rule. Chances are, however, that you are familiar with the buddy system and not the aforementioned buddy rule. Please allow me to extrapolate.
The rule is fairly straightforward and goes something like this: If you are not friends with someone, you should never (and I’m being emphatic here, never) refer to them as “buddy.” Your friends, of course, can always be called buddy, but to people you’ve just met? Definitely a negative there. To some of you this may be obvious already. For the rest of you who are curious why, please continue reading as this is extraordinarily important.
So why you ask? It’s simple; when you call someone buddy when they are not in fact your buddy, you are in effect calling them “jack@$s” or “turd-face” or “dick fore” or something very negative to that effect.
I am one-hundred percent serious here, so take this as your first and only warning that your inability to heed this advice will often earn you the stink eye and maybe even a punch to the ear. Not by me, necessarily, but perhaps by the guy or gal you’ve just unintentionally/insultingly called buddy. Unless of course you just called me buddy, in which case you’re getting the stink eye and the ear-punch.
I bring this up because a similar thing happened to me today. Thankfully I didn’t hear anyone utter buddy in my general direction, but it was nearly as grotesque. The term in question? What’s your deal. Yeah. I didn’t even know the guy! Again, allow me to extrapolate.
In the middle of today’s ride, I opted for a coffee stop. There were two other cyclists already at the coffee shop also on a brief rest. I tend to keep to myself, so after exchanging some quick pleasantries, I sat down on the other side of the room and read the paper with coffee in hand. One of these two gentlemen was speaking loudly enough that I probably could have heard him had I sat outside. It was bothersome, but that’s life.
At first glance this blog entry isn’t a KoS style lesson… but in reality, it is. Look, believe it or not, it seems the general population does not like cyclists. Yeah it sucks, but it’s a fact of life. So please don’t exacerbate the situation by being that guy in the coffee shop. We’re already clad in preposterously colorful spandex, awkwardly walking around on reverse high heels, so there’s no need to be annoyingly loud to boot. (This lesson extends to riding on the road too – do what you need to do to get from point A to B, but don’t ride in the middle of the road or three abreast or exhibit other riding behavior that you know pisses off motorists.) Staying off of everyone’s radar – either in the coffee shop or on the roads – will only help our situation.
I finished my tasty beverage, then set out on the road. No more than ten minutes later I was passed by a truck driven by the loud cyclist. He immediately pulled over in front of me and I was summoned to the side of the road by said motor/cylist-ist. I pull up to truck and the first thing out of his mouth, I kid you not, is “Soooo what’s your deal?!”
He was very pleasant about it, don’t get me wrong, but lest we forget that I don’t know this guy. And the first thing out of his mouth is that? Our conversation was brief – no more than three or four minutes in total – but before all was said and done, he offered one more “What’s your deal?”
Still confused? Much like buddy, a “What’s your deal” offered to someone who is not your actual buddy comes across as, “Hey dickhead, what the hell is wrong with you?”
The fact that I didn’t immediately ride away from this guy was a test of my patience and willpower, thankfully both of which were strong today. Blah blah blah, we continued our (less than)-pleasantries and I was able to ride away with merely a foul taste in my mouth, which is why I’m taking this opportunity to teach you all a lesson here and now.
Many of you have already asked, what was his deal? Our conversation was truly to figure out what my deal was. What’s my name? Where am I from? Do I actually ride for Cervelo (or am I just the biggest fan ever with head to toe team apparel, the Catlike helmet which is impossible to get in America, sponsor issued bike, handlebars, saddle, wheels… you get my point)? Am I willing to ride with him? I seemingly passed muster by his standards, because he let me go after only a brief interruption from my ride. And the answer to the last question was an apologetic no; I’m here in California for only a short but very intense period of time to focus exclusively on training. I don’t really feel like doing the co-rider analysis of whether he’s strong enough to hack it with me for a spell; in this situation, it’s easier to just say nope.
If you are the person in question, or if you are someone who could see yourself being in this guy’s shoes, please don’t be annoyed that I’m picking you apart (I’m doing this anonymously, after all, so you are very welcome), but instead use this as a simple learning experience.
…Or maybe I should just be glad he didn’t say, “Hey buddy, so what’s your deal?”