The one and only Zig Ziggler coined that phrase years ago and I have had to repeat that quietly to myself on a number of occasions over the years during sketchy situations. For some reason, my inner voice sounds like Bill Murray's character in 'What about Bob' and goes something like this, "it's just false evidence appearing real...just some good old false evidence and it appears sorta real". The reason I bring this up is that the tables have recently turned and I have been the false evidence appearing real and it's not cool at all. Lets just say for argument sake that I was riding my bike on a road that is questionably public, honestly it depends who you ask, for example I had the county road department say one thing and CHP say another (I know, its shocking).
While gingerly pedaling on this road minding my own business, I was verbally and physically assaulted (does a small dirt clod count as assault?). I could not figure out what I did to this person other than pedal my way past his home on a human powered machine because the day before I drove past this person in front of his house in a four stroke (intake, compression, power, exhaust, did I mention exhaust) internal combustion engine vehicle. The only thing I could think of was Bill Murray's voice saying, "you're just a little false evidence to him, and you're evidently appearing real".
I have seen this phenomenon before with humans traveling on foot. Why do most folks feel more comfortable to have a vehicle zoom past their home rather than someone on foot or bike? Does it have to do with the fact that he could see my face or hear me breath, and that was just too much F.E.A.R. from him? I suppose we have just become so numb to vehicles that it is as if they are not even there. When I drove past his place, I could of had a roof mounted turret and he probably would have just thrown a perfunctory wave my way. He saw something so different when I pedaled passed him that it cause a visceral response.
The moral of the story is to just tell these folks that everything is going to be alright, and that your vehicle is parked just up around the corner. Or you can go with our fly fishing guide Greg Hector's quote, "hey... we're all Americans here, so lets just share a little river and then we'll be on our way". He pulled that one out of the clear blue sky on the upper Trinity and it was strangely patriotic. Regardless, just keep pushing those pedals because the rest of the world knows us as pedal pushers not button pushers, our folks will eventually come around.
Here is a little False Evidence Appearing Real for you...