HOLY FUCKING SHIT SOME ASSHOLE JUST HIT ME WITH HIS CAR!!!

By Joe Janes

HOLY FUCKING SHIT SOME ASSHOLE JUST HIT ME WITH HIS CAR!!!

I’m an avid bike rider. I have ridden a bike in Chicago since the early 90s. I have had periods of not riding a bike, but over the last few years, it’s become a way of life. I ride almost every day all year round. It’s my main source of transportation and physical fitness. I don’t wear “Hey, look! Genitals!” bike shorts. I just dress normally. I’m not trying to break any speed records. I’m vigilant. I’m careful. Helmet. Lights. No ear buds.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!!!

Trump got elected. That sucked. Continues to suck. Two things made the week better and a bit healing. House pets and teaching. I teach improv and I teach comedy writing. In class, when we get to work and are at our best, we’re connecting, affirming our humanity, and laughing. Where there’s laughter there’s hope. Or madness. I choose hope.

LOOK FIRST, PLEASE!!! OR HEY!!!

If someone opens a car door in front of me, I have trained myself to yell one of those two things.  It used to be a gibberish yelpy scream that was, well, embarrassing. I had to write myself a script and memorize it and now use it. I try not to sound angry, but I’m sure it comes out more stern than I intend. Nothing wrong with that. If I’m able to say it, disaster has been averted, and I just want to tell people to be careful, not that he's...

AN INCOMPETENT ASSHOLE WHO IS REALLY BAD AT LIFE!!!

I almost got doored earlier in the day. I was riding through downtown and a woman opened her car door in front of me. I was able to veer out of the way with a LOOK FIRST, PLEASE!!! She shouted after me, very angrily, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, ASSHOLE!!! I wasn’t going fast. Faster than a pedestrian. Not fast for a guy on a bike. I get it. People get defensive. Especially when they’re wrong. I know I do.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!

I got doored once in the early 90s while on my way to work. The door flew open in front of me and there was no avoiding it. I hit the door before the guy could even try to get out of his car. The tall young white guy with Fabio hair got out of his car, pissed, but controlled. Scraped my knee, but I was fine. His door was fucked up. We exchanged numbers. He called me the next day and I could tell that his insurance agent must have told him it was all his fault. He opened a car door into traffic without looking. My bike was fine. That old bike was a tank on two wheels. I was fine. We decided not to pursue anything. Probably saved him his insurance rates going up.

CONCRETE!!! ME AND FUCKING CONCRETE!!!

The day already had already taken a bad turn. I found out that I did not get a job that I really wanted. A job that I am very qualified for. A job I am fantastically suited for. A job that has everything I want and may as well even have my name in its title. Joe’s fucking job. I have decades of experience and am exceptional at what I do. I take a lot of pride in being a teacher.  Students regard me as a straight-shooter who is generous with his time and invested in making a difference with them. Guess 2016 is the year the qualified don't get the job. Fucking Trump. Consider this the sour grapes phase. 

HEY!!!

I’m riding home after a class. A fun class. Everyone in it has their own charming quirks and everyone enjoys one another. It helped me forget I was in a dead end job because I didn't get that promotion. I love teaching. It make me feel like I'm in my element. Alive. I am also active in my field and always challenging myself and learning new things. Students go out of their way to thank me for their experience with me. One guy in this particular class gave me an organic pineapple. It’s a thing he does with teachers he likes.  I’m certainly not in this for the money, so little stupid things like this go a long way. Of course, seeing them grow artistically is the best. But, hey, it’s a pineapple! I put it in my bike bag.

HELP!!! SOMEONE CALL THE COPS!!! CALL 911!!! HELP!!!

I’m almost home. Thinking about what I'm going to watch on Netflix before going to bed. I’m at 28th and Halsted. A car has pulled into the bike path and stopped. No signal. No flashers. At a slight angle toward the left.  I have no idea what they are about to do. Could be making a weird wide left, could be about to do a U-Turn. This happens a lot. I don’t know why people don’t use their signals or their flashers. I put it up there with littering. There’s some arrogant disregard for others that goes along with it. There are no cars parked along the street there, so I decided to pass them on the right instead of going into the flow of traffic. The passenger door swings open. I swerve and shout HEY!!! There was no time for my stern but well-rehearsed lesson on door safety. I hear the door slam and the car speeds up. Which is odd. They were going to let someone out and now they aren’t? And then he hit me. He fucking hit me. With his car.

FUCK!!! THE PINEAPPLE!!!

Yep. That was a thought I had. His car hit my back tire on the side with his front right wheel. I felt the front of the car against the back of my leg. It threw me, and my bike, toward the curb. Had I been ten more feet farther down Halsted, I would have been smashed against a parked car. I’m heading toward the sidewalk. I would have been thrown into some grass, but fortunately there was a concrete wall blocking me. My body is down in an L shape against the wall. I do a quick mental inventory looking for pain. Things hurt, but nothing feels broken or wet. Yay. The car stopped. Fuck.

FUCK! SHIT! FUCK! SHIT!!!

Are they stopping so they can come back and finish the job? In an act that was a smidge smart and a bucket of stupid, I got up, pulled out my phone, and started snapping pictures of the back of the car before they could take off. I hear voices coming from the car. Someone is yelling, “Go! Just go!” But the car does not go. The driver’s side door opens and he gets out.

WHY THE FUCK DID IT HAVE TO BE A YOUNG GUY IN A HOODIE!!!

He was a little taller than me. Hispanic, I think. Ball cap. Hoodie. He said, “Give me the phone.” I told him to get the fuck away from me. (I told the cops he threatened me. But that was all he said. "Give me the phone." I guess it’s a threat when you don’t say please. I guess it’s a threat when he just tried to kill you with his car. I guess it's a threat when he's standing right in front of you telling him to give you your phone. I felt threatened.) My brain was reeling. I was shaking. The last time I got into anything that could possibly be called a fight was in the fourth grade. It did not go in my favor. I studied Tai Kwon Do 20 years ago and got as far as an orange belt which is not very far in the rainbow of Tai Kwon Do robe accessories. I currently do Cross-Fit and we sometimes do some boxing stuff, but I didn’t have any kettle bells. Somewhere in my psyche emerged a crime fighting tip. Be loud. Someone committing a crime or about to commit a crime doesn’t want to draw attention. I started shouting for someone to call the cops! Call 911! Halsted wasn’t very busy. It was late at night. We were in between a park and an assisted living retirement home. The odds of someone hearing me were slight. I was waiting for this whole situation to get worse when he got back in his car and drove off.

I'M VERY GLAD NEITHER OF US HAD A GUN!!!

I was worried he would change his mind and come back. I still had my phone. I walked my bike to an area that was better lit and had some people around and called 911 from there. I would have hopped on my bike and gone to the police station that was just a few blocks away, but I was worried that car would find me and try to hit me, again. It took the cops 15 fucking minutes to get to me. Seriously. Just a few blocks away. They didn’t seem to know that it was a hit and run with an emphasis on an intentional hit. My bike was banged up, but still worked. They escorted me as I rode to the station. I filed a report. I have never filed a report before. While telling the officer the story of what happened I stopped and asked him if I was doing it right. He shrugged his shoulders and nodded. My entire experience of filing reports at police stations begins with reruns of Barney Miller and ends with Officer McShruggy. Found out the license plate is registered to a guy who lives in Streamwood. The cops laugh because it’s an old beat up two-door Saturn. Now I have to wait until I hear from investigators to make sure the owner of the car was also the driver and can place the person in the area at that time. Then it’s up to me to ID him. It’s quite possible this doesn’t go anywhere, but I will pursue this as far as I can so no one else has to say...

HOLY FUCKING SHIT SOMEONE HIT ME WITH THEIR CAR!!!

The guy’s a piece of shit, for sure. Somewhere in his head snapped the idea that hitting a guy on his bike with his car was a justified action.

He stopped. Whether it was at someone else’s behest or not, he stopped. There was some recognition that what just happened was wrong.

He didn’t take my phone which is the only reason I’m able to pursue this. He also didn’t escalate the situation beyond that point. He also may have left because he was afraid of being shot by the police.

He drives a beat up Saturn. He lives in Streamwood, which is next to Schaumburg. (I looked it up on Google Maps.) This is not a gang banger. This is not a smooth-with-the-ladies speedster. This is not a drunk driver. This is just a guy who chose to fuck up.

The right sleeve on my favorite jacket got shredded by the concrete wall. The whole right side of my body hurts.

The pineapple is fine.

And today, I’m back to worrying about Donald Trump and what I'm going to do with a pineapple.

And I'm still bummed I didn't get that job.