Sometimes I ride my bicycle to run errands. I put on my hipster pants and black hipster socks and hipster shoes, slap on my flat pedals, shoulder my hipster bag, and pedal around to the various grocery stores trying to save a buck here on pork tenderloins, a dollar there on vine-ripened tomatoes, and a few cents on eggs.
[Note to shoppers: The Hanmi Korean Mart on Sepulveda and 235th has the cheapest fruits and vegetables and tofu.]
After picking up a lemon, a box of tofu, and a tomato, I rode down Sepulveda to the Marukai to grab a bottle of Bulldog sauce. As I swung into the driveway off Hawthorne, a very busy lady talking on her iPhone 6s Massive decided that rather than waiting for me to enter, she would pass me then slam on the brakes and get into the parking lot first.
I’m pretty sure she never really saw me despite my blinding rear light and bright orange helmet.
I slowed down and let her chop the shit out of me; she was obviously in a real hurry and had something important to do. She raced through the parking lot, nearly clocking an old lady loaded with groceries, and jammed her car, nose first, into one of the slots right in front of the grocery cart rack. A few seconds later I pedaled up and noted that after nearly killing me and speeding through the lot, heedless of pedestrians, she was now continuing her breezy chat and had no plans to get out of the car anytime soon.
So much for the big hurry.
Before I could nestle my bike against the return cart cage I had to first move a shopping cart that someone had been too lazy to place in the rack. Instead, they had pushed it against the outside of the cage, and the only thing keeping it from slipping down the slight gradient and into the parking lot was the front wheel, which had been lodged against one of the poles.
My bike in one hand and my backpack in the other, I gently moved the cart over, planning to first lock my bike and then properly return the cart. I turned my back for a second to clamp down the u-lock, and glanced over my shoulder in time to see the flying basket launch off the curb into the grill of the chatty lady’s black, shiny, brand new Mercedes. It made a horrific smashing sound and dented the shit out of her grill.
She jumped out of the car and I braced myself for the verbal attack, already calculating what it was going to cost me to replace the new grill on an S-class Mercedes. $50?
But the attack never came. The woman had been so engrossed in her conversation that she hadn’t seen me dislodge the cart. “Can you believe it?” she yelled. “Some stupid bitch left the cart out like that!”
“Oh, wow,” I said sympathetically. “Looks like it trashed your grill.”
She spun around, inspecting the damage. “Oh my god! This car is brand new! That stupid bitch! Did you see who left the cart here?”
“No, I sure didn’t.”
“I can’t believe people!” she yelled. “They don’t give a shit, you know that? They just don’t care at all! Careless irresponsible stupid assholes!”
I nodded in total agreement.
“My husband’s going to kill me,” she hissed. Then she grabbed the cart, jerked it back onto the curb, and rammed it back up against the outside of the cage, where, with the slightest jostle, it would again run amok into the lot and smash up someone else’s car. “You should have been paying attention! Why didn’t you stop it?”
“I’m really sorry, ma’am,” I said. “I was locking up my bike.”
She stared contemptuously at my rig and spun on her heel towards her car. “Roads are for cars!” she snapped. The cart came unhitched again and started for the curb. I grabbed it. “Here, ma’am,” I said. “Let me put this up for you.”
She slammed the car door, squealed out backwards, and drove off. I gently returned the cart to its proper place and gave it a loving pat.
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