A couple of months ago I was strolling home along a nearby footpath. This particular stretch of path borders a narrow road which, despite the local council’s best efforts to discourage traffic from using it as an arterial route into Cambridge, is also a very busy road. Therefore, in the interest of cyclist safety, the footpath doubles up as a cycleway. Fine. Dandy. No problem with that. None whatsoever.
Back to my stroll home. Being the responsible citizen I am, I regularly glanced over my shoulder to check for cyclists behind me, and whenever I saw a cyclist approaching I moved to the side of the path to give them ample room to pass. Fine, dandy, etcetera.
This plan worked to perfection until one cyclist decided to take me to task for listening to my iPod while walking along the footpath.
‘You didn’t know I was coming up behind you,’ he said, wagging a finger in my face. I told him I was aware he was approaching because I had seen him.
‘You couldn’t hear me with those earphones in your ears.’ This was one belligerent cyclist, but I kept my cool, and repeated that I’d seen him because I was regularly checking for cyclists.
‘You shouldn’t be wearing those earphones. You can’t hear with them in. You’re putting yourself and other people in danger, blah, blah, blah…’
Regular readers of my blog will know by now that I’m not particularly receptive to being lectured. It didn’t take long for my cool to abandon me and leave me spoiling for an argument. Want to pick a fight with me, mate? ‘Ave it then!
‘Listen,’ I roared, being as it appeared to be he not I who was having trouble hearing, ‘I knew you were there BECAUSE I’D SEEN YOU. That is why I’m walking in the bushes so you HAVE PLENTY OF ROOM TO GET PAST. Blimey O’Reilly, you could drive a number nine bus through that gap; and furthermore, I’m NOT putting you, myself or anyone else in danger by wearing my headphones. If I were walking in the middle of the road fair point, but THIS IS A FOOTPATH…’
‘Clam down love,’ he said, ‘I was only joking with you.’ With that he cycled off, while I turned my iPod up to drown out his merry laughter and stomped home in a filthy mood, spoiling for an argument which had so cruelly been denied.
Joking my arse! However, it’s said that (s)he who laughs last, laughs longest. All these months later my argument thief has not only provided me with a Monday Moan, he has also furnished me with a perfect excuse to share a classic Monty Python sketch. Is this the right room for an argument?