The first guy was merely an annoyance. He was behind me when I made a left turn at a moderately busy intersection. I made the turn from the position in traffic I'd have taken in a car: middle of the left lane, with my arm out, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. When it did, I turned, and once I was across the oncoming traffic lanes, I moved to the right. He tailgated me through the turn, and zipped past as soon as I gave him room, pointing vigorously to the right and mouthing what I assume were profanities at me over his shoulder. Typical asshole who can't abide sharing the road, but I really wanted to ask him how, exactly, I was supposed to make a left turn while keeping to the right.
The second guy, in retrospect, scared me. A traffic light where an island makes the lane too narrow right at the light, so I was waiting for it to turn in the lane. It widened immediately, and I pulled right as I cleared the light. This guy pulled past me, way too close, gunning his engine and yelling "faggot" out his window at me. My immediate thought was No way. I can't believe he said that.. And then I gave him the finger, something I try not to do to assholes who have a two-ton weight advantage on me.
It's got to be more than twenty years since someone called me a faggot, and I'm not sure it's ever happened when I was alone. (I was involved in the SCA when it was young and we tended to like going out in public in garb, freaking the mundanes. So I spent a fair amount of time in my twenties wearing funny clothes, in public, and generally in the company of a half-dozen or so friends. Next to "are you in a play", I think assholes yelling "faggot" at us out the windows of passing cars was probably the second most common verbal reaction we got.)
My initial to this guy reaction was disbelief. I know better, but I tend to think of that kind of stupidity as being something that happens in the great unwashed middle of America. I certainly didn't expect it on the Cambridge/Arlington line. My second reaction was anger, that their are that kind of people in my community. And after that, fear.
Which leaves me wanting to say something to my friends — gay, trans, bi, or whatever else you may be where being out exposes you to that kind of mindless hatred. I want to tell you I admire your courage. And I want to say thank you, because you make it easier for all of us, even someone as vanilla as me, to be upfront about who and what we are.
* bent is what many recumbent riders call their rides. I using it rather than "trike" frankly as a cop-out.