Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm back a bit early from the meditation retreat. I'll tell you why in another post soon. In this post, I'd like to talk about my ride home from the retreat site.
Because I left early, I had to scratch for a ride. The retreat organizer arranged one, I'm pleased to say, but the journey did not promote the inner quiet the teachers had in mind.
I rode home with a young lady who had done these retreats before. She did her first one in Tibet, a 10-dayer, she said, and she's done several shorter retreats as refreshers since.
We're not talking about an airhead here. We're talking about a young woman in her mid-twenties I'd say, of at least some seriousmindedness - interested (if not in spiritual pursuits) certainly in the examined life.
We hopped right into her late model, very dirty Volvo sedan. I was afraid almost immediately.
She drove with her phone in her left hand and her instructions on how to reach the retreat site in her right, only dropping the instructions to fool with the radio or CD player.
She lives in metro Denver not far from Tamar's and my place, but she had no idea where we live. East and west were unfamiliar terms. She knew streets near her home but was lost elsewhere. I offered to navigate. She turned me down.
She seldom drove with both hands and full attention. More often she manipulated the phone, studied the instructions and changed radio stations or swapped CDs, concerned that she was choosing music that I'd enjoy.
While she did those things, tasks that were clearly priorities, she did not or could not drive in a straight line. She would veer over the center line or cross the fog line onto the shoulder. Three times she jerked the wheel to center the car on the road, apologizing to me each time.
At one point she said: I guess I shouldn't get into an accident with you in the car, meaning me.
When we reached I-25, she used the left-hand lane primarily, following too close and continuing to look at her phone or radio or CD player. Once or twice, traffic slowed in front of us; she did not notice until we were scarily close to rear-ending the car in front.
I thought of myself on my bicycle or motorcycle, sharing the road with this woman and her like-minded contemporaries, overwhelmingly more intent on selecting the perfect CD than they are on their driving.
They are not troubled by guilt or embarrassment because of their misplaced attention; they're driving just as they always drive - really badly, really dangerously. And they aren't even aware of it. That's the frightening part. They don't know any different.
Often in cars, I feel the inertia, the resistance of the huge vehicle to slow down or stop, especially on busy freeways or on narrow city streets. I suspect that the drivers are not attentive, not exercising due care. Their minds are elsewhere.
But Tamar and I are not in cars often. We walk in the city and ride on the bike paths. We can forget, I'm happy to say, how common incompetence is behind the wheel.
When we cyclists and motorcyclists remind one another to "take care," we may not hear the seriousness behind the phrase. We've got to take care; our neighbors couldn't care less.
Let's be cautious out there, huh?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I am leaving tomorrow for a tiny town not far from Denver, where I will participate in a meditation retreat - in silence, for 10 days. I've never done anything like this, and I'm a bit apprehensive but I'm going for it - in the quietest way.
I'll be out of contact at the retreat: No phone, no computer. No pencil or paper.
If I have stories about the experience and it seems appropriate to tell them here on my blog page, I'll do that. If it were someone else's page and the writer made such an announcement, I'd be interested in his/her comments afterward. I'm having trouble imagining what I might have to tell you that wouldn't sound like a string of psychobabble cliches.
I'll be home on the 30th, same old dude. I guess....
I read this Bike Radar piece through twice trying to make sense of it, trying to imagine how a guy on a bicycle, no matter how talented and fit, could lap a road-race course as fast as a Formula One car driven by a champion. Take a look. See what you think....
Saturday, November 15, 2008
It's almost eight. At nine, 200 scooterists will meet at our local Vespa (plus Triumph, Ducati etc) store to ride en mass to the Ronald McDonald House - bearing gifts. Nice for the kids, but sadly for the fingers and toes of the scooter riders, it's 25 out there.
I remember doing the same ride last year but I don't recall the below-freezing temps. Maybe it was just as cold and I've forgotten: My memory focusing on the fun, not the discomfort.
Winter is upon us in Denver, snow yesterday morning and sub-freezing nights. Time to get out all the cycling and motorcycling winter stuff - the mittens, scarves and booties...
This is a difficult time o' year for me, after decades in California and Arizona. I don't mind the cold so much, but when the roads and sidewalks get icy I grow fearful. Maybe the snow will melt within hours of falling, as we were told it would. I'll keep my fingers crossed inside my mittens.
My surgeon says I have lots of new bone on my femur. Healing well. I told him I was limping (walking like a penguin, says Tamar) so he gave me a new exercise to strengthen a muscle that had shrunk, I guess. Three months was all it took. My butt is half-size at this point, no kidding.
I've got to run, got to put on 23 layers of cold-weather motorcycling stuff. Because I know it's important to you, I promise to say hi to Ronald for each of you. I'd want you to do it for me...
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This is a sweet essay from Orion, a magazine I'd never heard of, but that I'm happy to have discovered. I'll bet you enjoy David Perlman's piece...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Here's a link to a NY Times Online piece about friction between runners and their neighbors in cars. Set aside your skepticism. According to the Times, it's true: Drivers get angry at runners, especially if they've just hit one.
The article suggests that it's not entirely the fault of the drivers. An expert tells runners that a mindset shift may be in order. After all, even with a cool new president-elect promising change, we're probably not going to change driver behavior. We'll have to look elsewhere; perhaps, grasshopper, into ourselves.
Monday, November 3, 2008
When you post a comment to one of my blog postings, I get an email at my personal email address showing me what you've said. It does not reveal your email address, so I cannot write you personally. I can only post a comment below yours - or write a post like this one explaining why you have not heard from me.
My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you've been posting comments on my blog site, please continue to do so. If you feel that I must not care about you or what you say because I have not responded, please reconsider. If you like, post the comment for all to read, and send it to me via the above address so I can write back.
The two coolest things about doing this blog have been hearing from folks with whom I'd had no contact for decades - and reading comments from bright, thoughtful people, some known to me, others only cryptic cyber-names.
Thanks, all of you...