City Paper is not for tourists
Gear Prudence: I went over to my best friend’s house for a party last week and she introduced me to her new housemate. I realized immediately that this was the guy who hit me with his car two years ago! Totally his fault too. I wasn’t hurt badly, and I stupidly rode away on my wobbly bike before we exchanged any information. I don’t think he remembers me at all, but I definitely know it’s him. What do I do? Can I confront him? Should I tell my friend? Do I just let it go? Help!—Reckless Encounter Made Enemy: My Buddy’s Eventual Roommate
Dear REMEMBER: This is a doozy. On one hand, it’s tempting to say that you’ve missed your window (certainly in terms of any kind of potential financial recompense) and that the best course of action would be to keep it to yourself. But this feels emotionally unsatisfying. On the other hand, while going full Count of Monte Cristo and seeking vengeance seems emotionally valid, a long-term campaign of false identities and targeted poisonings would seem too much for the initial injury. The middle ground includes options between passive-aggressive (a note on his pillow written in chain grease that says I KNOW WHAT YOU DID) and stultifyingly mature (a note on his pillow written in chain grease asking him to meet you and your therapist to help process “the unfortunate incident”). But before embarking on any of these approaches, you should first sort out whether you feel it’s necessary to tell you friend. GP thinks it is.
Most roommate questionnaires don’t include questions about vehicular malpractice vis-a-vis cyclists, so it’s understandable that this guy slipped through the cracks. But because you know it’s him and because his presence at your friend’s house will continue, pull your friend aside and say what’s up. Lead with something like, “Did you know your new roommate used to drive a Prius? Let me tell you how I know.” Then just lay it all out there. Your friend will probably say something like, “Oh wow, that sucks.” Now that you’ve equipped your friend with this information, discuss together how best to proceed. If you feel uncomfortable in the presence of the person who hit you with his car, figure out other places to hang out besides your friend’s house. If you’re not too bothered anymore by what happened, you and your friend can have a good laugh and come up with fun ways to constantly “accidentally” bump into the guy. Whether you ultimately decide to confront him (expect denial or dissembling and be pleasantly surprised if you receive an apology or something approximating one) or never say anything, at least you’ll have an ally in this decision, which is better than continuing to go it alone. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about cycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.