As a rule I do not like two wheeled road users. Cyclists (with a couple of notable exceptions
) are inept wankers with no road sense whatsoever, and motorcyclists... well the less said about them the better (although again, there are always exceptions eh Steve?) but to reiterate, as a rule I do not
like two wheeled road users (and anyone who's driven with me more than about twice knows just
how much of an understatement that is. Even when it's said twice.)
All of the above makes the following even more amazing.
Tonight I was driving home at the end of a long-ish but rather lovely day. Work hadn't been especially anything - the school is approaching the end of term and I'm approaching the end of the school so between us both things are pretty wound down at this point - but the day had. My walk at lunchtime was through an almost perfect image of early summer (or late spring for those who live further south). I walked through the elegant and dappled leafy shade of Morningside, down to the banks of the canal where tiny flecks of sunlight played in the ripples and a family of swans alternately charmed and intimidated passers by. Even being indoors most of the day was actually pleasent: the vaultlike nature of the Library meant I could enjoy the warm sweet air as it swam past through the open windows, but that I wasn't bothered by the heat (yes I know it wasn't that
warm, but my internal thermostat is long since set to 'Scottish' and anything over about 22 ºC makes me I feel like I'm being slow cooked)
All in all it was a playfully lovely day and though I was very tired from staying up late with Liz
the night before, and
in spite of still having no firm news about any of the jobs I might be going to do next, I was in a very good mood. I've blogged at length about my drive to and from work, so you all know how beautiful the landscape I drive through can be and how much joy I get out of the driving itself. Other road users however are seldom a source of joy - in the city (and in Scotland generally in my experience) they're unusually courtious by and large, and that often makes me smile, but out on the open road they're either just in the way, or else they're in a near-suicidal rush* and I'm in theirs which is stressful. Cyclists are almost always the former and motorcyclists are invariably the latter. I wouldn't have expected the sight of either would make me happy let alone both!
So I reach the start of a long downhill slope about half way between work and home. Down near the end of said slope a motorcyclist who overtook me about two corners before has met a cyclist and pulled alongside. Perhaps they knew each other, I'd actually rather imagine it was just something about the atmosphere, but as I drove down the hill toward them I could see that each rider had their head turned to look at the other. Perhaps words were being spoken but again I'd rather imagine not. After a few moments they joined hands and rode like that for a while: hands joined and looking at each other. It was a long straight stretch with plenty of visibility and completely clear ahead (otherwise I'd have been furious at the obstruction and recklessness) but as I swept past them and onward toward home I was really struck by the unexpected beauty of it. Two people out enjoying the road and the sun, meeting briefly and taking a moment to share it.
I think I'm going to hold onto that mental image of them and try to recall it the next time some two-wheeler does something infuriating.
* Anyone who wants to drive faster than I do on that road (or indeed anywhere!) is insane. I probably drive too fast on it most days (cue uproarious laughter and accusations of understatement from those friends who've commuted with me) so the amount of overtaking which still happens is a source of genuine amazement to me