Flooding, escapes from reality, angry motorists

Amid the disastrous flooding here in Cedar Rapids, life incongruously goes on in many ways,Cedar Rapids backyard turns to lake especially for those of us whose neighborhoods have been spared. We can pretty easily conserve water and we can find much more active ways to help those who are real victims. We can even take some time out for a bike ride or other exercise. We can go to a movie or out to dinner, and we readily understand why the restaurant serves the food on paper plates and why the movie theater has portable toilets outside to reduce water use in the restrooms. Devastation is only a couple of miles away.

It was harder to understand why so many more motorists than usual were so overtly hostile as we bicycled to Mount Vernon and back yesterday just to get out of the city for a little while. One can only guess that it was unfortunate coincidence, or maybe the result of understandably increased stress in the atmosphere, that made so many so angry at us. We can be understanding to a point, but when their anger boils over into dangerous driving and passing us within a couple of feet, we have trouble remaining polite.

For the record, such record as might exist, one of the angry motorists was driving a red Toyota Tundra pickup truck with IA plate number 785TKT (Linn County). It would not be a surprise to read about this driver in the newspaper someday as a prime suspect in some awful hit-and-run accident that leaves bright red paint on some mangled bicycle. Keep an eye out for him and stay out of his way. That was the only plate number I could get. There should have been others.

Coincidentally, this morning the Cedar Rapids Gazette published a guest column I submitted a week or so ago: Long road to C.R. becoming bicycle friendly. You can read it in the e-edition (if you log in first, but it’s free), or you can go here to read it if you like: http://bjsmith.us/essays.html.

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