Saturday, July 30, 2011
Fear and Loathing of the City Bus
But as most fears, mine is not based on such rational ideas. What frightens me are things like the "heavy breathing." I will be riding along, when suddenly there is the sound of a most horrific heaving inches behind me, and I realise that a bus is dreadfully, unacceptably near. What exactly is responsible for the sound that buses make when they are braking I do not know, but it sends shivers through my body and makes me want to jump up on the curb in panic. A couple of times the bus stopped and "heaved" so closely behind me, that I could feel the heat of its terrifying dragon breath against my left calf.
My fear of buses can border on paranoia, and sometimes I am convinced that the driver is playing "chicken" with me. I can tell that they see me - they will sometimes look straight at me - yet they seem to intentionally try to squeeze me out in order to make their stop, or make the green light, or make a high-speed left turn as I am attempting to cycle straight through an intersection - figuring I'll stop out of sheer terror. I've been assured by bike messengers that the driver will yield if I don't give into them. But I lack the courage to play that game, and allow them to win every time.
Over the past two years I've overcome most of my fears about cycling in city traffic. Taxi cabs, large trucks - I am more or less okay with them. But the city bus continues to terrify me. Oh enormous, heaving metal beast... Some day, I will learn how to deal with you and my fears will be conquered.