On Thursday Tink and I followed up the greatest victory of my career with a spin around the Hill . As we came through Lunada Bay on PV South, there were cars stacked up at the four-way stop sign in every direction. Tink was going to go straight and I was making a right to climb up Via Zumaya for home.
It is downhill to the stop sign with a sweeping turn as you whip off to the right. No self-respecting cyclist would think about coming through at anything less than full throttle.
There was plenty of space for me to take the right-hander full gas. At the last moment I saw Tink doing a full brake and panicked unclip as her rear tire skittered. To the left, two cars back, was a cop car.
“Oh, poop,” I didn’t say to myself, choosing instead something more colorful. My speed took me so far up the street that I was almost ready to run the next stop sign when the officer hit the siren.
I fought the law and the law won. Sort of.
I knew it was coming, and knew it would be a game of chess. I’d skated on my last violation in Torrance for shoveling on the coal through a four-way stop sign, again with traffic backed up in all directions.
Although I’d begun with the Blind Stop Sign Ruy Lopez, an admittedly weak opening, it gave me some control over the center of the board as the officer didn’t know I’d seen him from the corner of my eye. His best move would have been the Morphy’s Defense, i.e. striking me from behind with his bumper, or the Berlin Wall Defense, which involves a speedy trial followed by a hanging.
However, he went with the Sicilian, which was simply bleeping me with his siren and preparing to attack my queen with his $380.00 citation. (Note to novices: Attacking my “queen” a/k/a Mrs. Wankmeister by giving me a ticket is a great way to keep her livid for months.)
Responding to the Sicilian
Since he didn’t know that I’d seen him, I had two choices. I could go with the Up Yours Pig counter-defense, where the cyclist shrugs and tries to bluster his way out of the ticket, or I could go with the Gee I Sure am a Moron swap, which throws the cop off-center by an unexpected display of contrition.
I opted for the Moron by doing a fake twitch and jerk when he hit the siren to make it look like it was totally unexpected and that I was frightened. The Moron involves making the cop giggle when you appear to jump out of your skin, and also involves putting the Dog Showing Belly move into play. Dog Showing Belly tells the cop that you are completely acknowledging his superiority and he is free to lick your balls if he so chooses.
The officer didn’t, but as soon as he saw me advance with the Moron he did the Gomer Pyle follow to the Sicilian Defense. The Gomer is where Sergeant Carter screams at the top of his lungs, “What in the hell were you doing back there?”
The philosophy behind the Gomer is that it forces the cyclist out of the Moron play and backs him into the Up Yours Pig counter, which then escalates into handcuffs, a ride to the police station, and a phone call to the attorney of your choice. I doubled down on the Sure I am a Moron by responding with “I was riding like a complete idiot, officer.”
“Yeah,” he said. “You sure were.” He’d lost the momentum behind the Gomer and had sacrificed control of the board.
I threatened his queen with another strong salvo of I Sure am a Moron. “That was stupid beyond belief.”
“Yeah,” he said. “It was. You know why I’m pulling you over?” He’d dropped the Gomer and was circling back with the Sicilian. Now it was a game of nerves. If I flinched, he’d take my queen, give me a citation, and ruin my marital bliss for the foreseeable future.
He’d left a pawn exposed, though, that could take me straight to checkmate, but I’d have to be bold. “Because I blew through the stop sign and am riding like an idiot?” This was the Dog Showing Belly bait, and he took it.
“No. I’m pulling you over because every car at that intersection was waiting for me to do something. If I’d let you go, the phone at HQ would be ringing off the wall right now. Instead everyone is satisfied that Ianother scofflaw cyclist is being brought to justice.”
Let’s help each other out
“I’m a cyclist,” he continued. “And the last thing I want to do is cruise around writing citations to cyclists. But when you come screaming through an intersection filled with cars and don’t even make a pretense of slowing down, what do you expect me to do?”
“Pull me over?” I suggested.
“Yeah. You really deserve a ticket for that stunt,” he mused, but I could see that the combo of Dog Showing Belly + I Sure am a Moron were working. “Tell you what I’ll do,” he said.
“I’ll let you off with a warning. But I’m putting your name in my notebook in case this happens again. What’s your name?”
“David. David Perez. 867-5309, area code 310.”
“Okay, Mr. Perez. Next time try to put a foot down, okay?”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
“And be safe out there,” he added.
“I will!” I lied, and pedaled off.
The third time pays for all
This morning I pedaled to Manhattan Beach for a Donut Ride warm-up and came back through Hermosa Beach. For some reason I was so happy that I sat up, folded my arms, and gaily cruised through a whole series of stop signs, as well as a red light.
I felt so happy until the Hermosa Beach police SUV roared up to me with a red-faced sergeant screaming at the top of his lungs, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
I practically fell off my bike, and my fear and jerky reaction made him smile even though he tried to hide it.
“Riding like an idiot, officer, a complete idiot.”
Ruy Lopez this time? Or should I open with the Queen’s Gambit?