We's in California

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'll have whatever's in that bag.

This week on the bike path home from Woodland Hills to Van Nuys a person on a bike far ahead of me threw their Gatoraide bottle on the ground when they finished it. He was on one of those weird high bicycles with the pedals 3 feet off the ground and the super high handle bars. Tired of the insane amounts of pure garbage lining the streets of our neighborhood, I picked it up and and, going one more block that I needed to, stopped at the next stop told him "Excuse me, you dropped your bottle." It was at that point I noticed his gangbanger t-shirt, a small suspicious looking duffle bag on his handlebars, a 3 inch scar on his forehead, and the distinct smell of a life criminal activity and personal failure. I also noticed I had stopped him at part of the Orange Line bike path where there is nothing but concrete walls and nobody else in sight.

He looked back at me and said "I know."

At this point I should have rode away, but instead I said something to the effect of: "Well, it's not really good for the environment or the neighborhood."

To which he replied: "F-ck you, I'll f-ck'n shoot you." and then glanced at the duffle bag hanging off his handlebars.

I guess this is the first time I've been personally received a death threat by someone who was probably carrying a gun. More that being scared I just got really angry and tried to understand why someone's reaction to being told that littering is a bad thing is to threaten them with violence and death. Obviously at that point I turned around and just bike back home, disposing of the plastic bottle when I got home.

The people I've talked to here about this have said things like: "Well, yeah, in LA you don't just walk up to people like that.". I don't buy this and it's a pathetic response. To shrug your shoulders things like that happening your own city means something. And it's not good.


  • Your are threatened with being shot, Warren is filming neo-Nazi rallies. Du Plooys are some tough characters. I am so impressed. But you could have diffused the situation with this simple line: "Do you like the Shins?"

    By Anonymous blade, at October 09, 2006  

  • To be clear, Warren's filming of neo-Nazi rallies was only for educational and perhaps entertainment purposes.

    Although he has been keeping a pretty short haircut lately....

    By Blogger Gareth, at October 10, 2006  

  • gareth check your email.

    By Anonymous clitke, at October 10, 2006  

  • The haircut's short, but only on the sides. The short "top" is no cut.

    By Blogger Warren du Plooy, at October 10, 2006  

  • You shoulda just put your newly acquired used cycling slippers to the guy before he could reach in his purse.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 12, 2006  

  • The response clearly is to pick up the bottle yourself, throw it away yourself, and curse the a-hole under your breath with muttered racial slurs and slights to his mother, making sure he's far enough away that he can't hear. Then once again go over those plans in your mind how you're moving to Ohio really soon, or maybe someday, except that the only thing keeping you here is that weather here is so good.

    By Blogger Scott, at October 17, 2006  

  • Dude, I realize you might've gotten shot and all, but I'm still stuck on "bike path home from Woodland Hills to Van Nuys." ... That's about 13 miles? How's THAT going in general? Is it a work commute? How long? How sweaty?

    By Blogger Steven Rosenberg, at October 18, 2006  

  • Yep, I know the exact bike path you're talking about. Whenever I walk/rollerblade along it, I think that the next time I should bring a trash bag to pick up all the crap the slobs have left behind.

    So I understand your wanting to say something to that guy. But...scary.

    Also, have you ever walked through Malibu Creek park in the summer? It makes me want to cry how people leave diapers and beer bottles in the creek.

    Anyway, I commend you for being a good citizen. Too bad the other guy was a thug.

    Hey, my husband's a Californian/Canandian, too - from Winnipeg.

    By Anonymous Michele, at October 19, 2006  

  • I will remember 2 things about Van Nuys when I'm not here anymore: Garbage and car dealerships. And the wicked awesome french toast at Nats.

    The length of the ride from WH to VN isn't what makes it long, it's the wind The wind is ALWAYS, without fail, blowing east to west in the late afternoon. It's how I work off the wicked awesome french toast from Nats.

    By Blogger Gareth, at October 19, 2006  

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